NFL Draft News & Analysis

College Football 2022: The top 10 receiving corps heading into the 2022 college football season

Syracuse, New York, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers wide receiver Jordan Addison (3) catches a touchdown pass over Syracuse Orange defensive back Aman Greenwood (26) in the second quarter at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

USC boasts college football's best receiving corps after adding tar transfers Jordan Addison and Mario Williams.

• After losing two early-round NFL draft picks, the Ohio State Buckeyes still have one of the best receiving groups in the country. 

• For a detailed analysis of nearly every FBS team, check out PFF’s 2022 College Football Preview Magazine.

College football is less than a week away, which means it’s time to wrap up our preseason preview. 

PFF lead college analyst Anthony Treash already went over the best players at every position, but what about the best position groups? Using his rankings and PFF-exclusive stats, here are the 10 best receiving corps in the country.

All PFF+ subscribers now have access to our revamped fantasy football draft guide, which has all the streamlined and intuitive features you’ll need to dominate your draft this season. CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR PFF+ AND TRY IT FREE TODAY

1. USC Trojans

Two newcomers are the reason why USC sits atop this ranking. Jordan Addison won the Biletnikoff Award last year at Pittsburgh, catching 17 touchdowns, tying for first in the nation. As a true freshman at Oklahoma, Mario Williams had the fifth-most catches without a drop in the country at 35. Together, they’re PFF’s second- and sixth-best wide receivers in the country, making them the best receiving duo in college football. 

2. Ohio State Buckeyes

Garrett Wilson was the second receiver taken in the 2022 draft, and Chris Olave came off the board third. Neither was Ohio State’s best receiver last year. Jaxon Smith-Njigba led the Power Five in PFF grade, receiving yards and yards after the catch as a sophomore. Unsurprisingly, he’s PFF’s top receiver in the country.

Behind him, the Buckeyes are unproven but have sky-high potential. Julian Fleming and Emeka Egbuka were the top receiver recruits in their respective classes, and Marvin Harrison Jr. was just ranked No. 2 on Bruce Feldman’s annual “Freaks List”

3. Georgia Bulldogs

After having an all-time defense last year, Georgia features a potential all-time tight end room this season. The Bulldogs have PFF’s No. 1, No. 3 and No. 14 tight ends in the country in Brock Bowers, Arik Gilbert and Darnell Washington. The defending national champs are a bit more boom-or-bust at wide receiver but have enough pieces to justify this ranking.

Watch out for speedster Arian Smith, who was named as Georgia’s breakout player in PFF’s College Football Preview Magazine.

4. Texas Longhorns

Texas was dealt a major blow last week when Wyoming-transfer Isaiah Neyor suffered a season-ending knee injury. Before that, he was PFF’s No. 17 receiver in the country. The Longhorns still have superstar sophomore Xavier Worthy, who ranks fourth in our preseason rankings. He leads a receiving corps that returns its No. 2 receiver from a year ago in Jordan Whittington and welcomes a top-15 tight end in Alabama-transfer Jahleel Billingsley.

The X-factor is Agiye Hall, who also transfers in from Tuscaloosa. He was a top-five receiver recruit in 2021 but is currently serving an indefinite suspension, leaving his future up in the air.

5. Virginia Cavaliers

The Cavaliers return all three of their leading receivers from a year ago. Two of them, Keytaon Thompson and Dontayvion Wicks, rank inside the top-15 of PFF’s wide receiver rankings. They both win vertically, ranking among the top-five Power Five receivers in 15-plus yard receptions last season. Billy Kemp IV, on the other hand, sees most of his work in the short game. He has 66 underneath receptions since 2019, third-most in the Power Five.

Virginia also returns junior Lavel Davis Jr., who missed all of last season with a torn ACL but was second on the team in receiving in 2020. With a top-10 quarterback in Brennan Armstrong leading the way, the Cavaliers should have the most explosive passing offense in the ACC.

6. Michigan Wolverines

It’s unknown whether Cade McNamara or J.J. McCarthy will start at quarterback, but one thing’s for sure — they’ll have a plethora of weapons to throw to. Michigan’s five leading receivers from last year all return, and that’s not even counting PFF’s No. 19 receiver Ronnie Bell, who missed all but one game last year with a knee injury.

Erick All earned a 75.4 receiving grade last year, more than 30 points higher than the previous season. He’s PFF’s sixth-best tight end entering next season

7. Alabama Crimson Tide

Alabama has produced five first-round receivers in the past three drafts. If anyone will continue that streak this year, it’ll likely be Georgia-transfer Jermaine Burton. He ranks No. 12 in PFF’s preseason rankings and owns a separation rate in the 91st percentile nationally since 2020.

Tyler Harrell transfers in from Louisville and has game-breaking speed. His 92.8 grade on deep passes last season trailed only Jordan Addison in the ACC. The Crimson Tide also have a top-20 tight end in Cameron Latu, who had the third-highest passer rating when targeted among Power Five tight ends last year. 

8. Maryland Terrapins

The Terps have a top-five receiving duo in the country in Dontay Demus Jr. and Rakim Jarrett, who both rank in the top-20 of PFF’s preseason wide receiver rankings. Before suffering a season-ending knee injury, Demus had the second-most yards after the catch in the Power Five.

Jarrett trails only Stefon Diggs as the second-highest rated receiver recruit Maryland has brought in this century. He’s also a menace with the ball in his hands, owning the fourth-most yards after the catch in the Big Ten last season.

The Terrapins also return Jeshaun Jones from injury, and Jacob Copeland transfers in after leading Florida in receiving in 2021.

9. Penn State Nittany Lions

Maryland isn’t the only Big Ten school with multiple receivers in PFF’s top 20. Parker Washington and Mitchell Tinsley rank No. 13 and No. 18, respectively, giving the Nittany Lions one of the best receiving duos in the nation.

Washington is strong both at the catch point and after the catch. He had the fourth-lowest drop rate in the Big Ten last year at 2.9% and forced 16 missed tackles, the fourth-most in the conference. Tinsley transfers in from Western Kentucky where he posted a 144.7 passer rating when targeted last season, the seventh-highest in the country. Penn State has question marks after those two, but they’re still enough to justify a top-10 ranking.

10. LSU Tigers

LSU claims to be “WRU” for good reason. Over the last three years, the school produced Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase, who look like the future of the position in the NFL. The Tigers have another potential superstar in Kayshon Boutte, who is PFF’s top wide receiver prospect in the 2023 NFL Draft and ranks third in our preseason college rankings.

Boutte's acceleration and physicality give him an excellent release package. Since 2020, he has a 134.3 passer-rating when targeted against press coverage, second among Power Five receivers. LSU also has great depth, returning all five of their leading receivers from a year ago. 

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