The cast of characters remains the same from February's post-signing day wide receiver rankings, but the order has been tweaked slightly based on team needs
Unlike last year, when picking DeAndre Brown, A.J. Green and Julio Jones was like shooting fish in a barrel, this year's freshman class is tough to pick. Which is why we are going to look first to the JUCO ranks for fantasy production.
Rodney Bradley, Jamar Howard and Cameron Kenney are stepping into prime situations. Despite their relatively low rankings, each is worth stab at on draft day. Cameron Kenney, in particular, caught my attention while watching him on film. He's a do-everything type of player and will be given every opportunity to see the field early returning kicks, lining up in the slot or out wide. He will shoot up our rankings if he can secure one of the vacant starting receiver spots in fall camp.
If we are going by pure talent Andre Debose might top our list of true freshman. But we also have to factor in how much playing time a youngster might see. Because of this Tennessee’s Nu'Keese Richardson makes a large jump up our board from February’s initial rankings.
It has not been a good offseason for Vol wide receivers, and the ranks are getting thin. Richardson is cut from the same mold as Debose. The pair will undoubtedly see the field early because of their ability to make things happen with their feet. And we don’t see new Tennessee head man Lane Kiffin holding back at all in 2009.
It is easy to design up a play, hand the ball off and say "kid, make something happen." The big question is does this translate into weekly fantasy production? Remember, even Percy Harvin didn't put up numbers worthy of fantasy consideration until the end of his freshman year.
The deep threats of the group are Randall Carroll and Jheranie Boyd. Both can burn and UCLA and North Carolina are in need of playmakers at the receiver spot. Boyd will be joined with Joshua Adams, making for a nice little recruiting haul for Butch Davis.
DeAngelo Benton finally made the grade and ends up at Auburn, where new offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn will be looking for playmakers on the outside. Opportunity, talent and system all add up to Benton being our top freshman wide receiver for 2009. But as stated, we don't necessarily see a sure thing in the bunch.