Just about a month ago, we released our college starting quarterback rankings after Week 6 of the 2019 NCAA football season. Now, with nine weeks of data from grading every player on every play of every game, we look elsewhere to take a look back at the season to date and give an accurate look at how every team's receiving corps have fared through the first nine weeks of the 2019 season. There is a matchup looming between two of the nation's top receiving corps in Alabama vs LSU but where does those two stack up against the rest of the country? How about the fabulous duo at Clemson? The trio of stars at undefeated Minnesota?
They're all listed below with a bit of analysis from the depths of the PFF statistical database to expound on what places each team in their specific spot on our 1-130 rankings.
This list is largely based upon the starting cast of receivers' success or lack thereof in 2019 but is also affected by the situation around them with depth at the position and also the pass-catching ability of the tight ends and running backs on the roster. Some teams have a very viable No. 1 wide receiver but lack much after that while others may not have the notable No. 1 receiver but have a cast of receivers earning high grades. No list is ever 100% accurate, but with our wealth of data at our fingertips, we get as close as anyone can.
*Important to note: These rankings are based heavily on the individual player's PFF grades for the season. The avoidance of negatively-graded plays, propensity of positively-graded plays, strength of competition and value towards a team victory are all heavily factored as well. A player's effect on their team's offense, their expected points added per snap in route and overall efficiency on the route tree from our advanced route charting are also considered among other factors.*
The receiving corps rankings, through nine weeks of the 2019 NCAA college football season:
130. Northwestern Wildcats
The Wildcats very clearly have been inefficient through the air this year and it's paid off in their overall record of 1-7 through nine weeks of action. Even in their win against UNLV, they combined to average only 4.9 yards after the catch per reception and just one receiving score to go with seven first-down receptions. They've dropped 23.8% of their catchable targets to rank 129th in the country and have a receiving grade as a unit of just 44.9, which is 130th among all schools. They can quite literally only go up from here.
129. UTSA Roadrunners
Aside from fabulous true freshman Sincere McCormick (the only UTSA player with a receiving grade above 66.0), the team has struggled mightily on the receiving end of passes from Frank Harris or Lowell Narcisse. The team has three times as many drops (18) as they do receiving touchdowns (6) and when they are in route, they haven't been able to capitalize, ranking just 129th in yards per route run as a team at 3.78. The recipe for success in the Roadrunners offense appears to be ‘feed McCormick' and let him do the work.
128. Buffalo Bulls
What a difference a year can make. With Tyree Jackson at QB, and Anthony Johnson and K.J. Osborn at WR gone from the roster, the Bulls have struggled to find much efficiency in the air this year. As a team, they've limped to just a 78.9 passer rating when targeting their skill players and their 22.4% drop rate on catchable passes means they aren't taking advantage of accurately thrown balls at all. That drop rate ranks 125th in the country and even when they do bring in receptions, they are averaging just 4.57 yards after the catch per reception: the 118th-lowest figure in the country.
127. South Alabama Jaguars
Without much consistency in terms of plus-play from QB Cephus Johnson, the Jaguars have had to rely on a lot of yards after the catch to make any waves in the passing game. While they rank high in yards after the catch per reception (ninth, to be exact), they haven't been able to muster much more and have been unable to come down with contested catches that would be necessary to do so with below-average quarterback play. Their 23.1% contested catch rate is the lowest out of all 130 FBS schools.
126. UMass Minutemen
The Minutemen have struggled in the post-Andy Isabella era after their do-everything receiver did just that for them: everything. They're averaging just 9.59 yards per catch and only 3.85 of those have come after the catch, both ranking outside of the top 125 of all schools in the country. Combined, they're averaging just 4.70 yards per route run, the 123rd-ranked figure in the country and Jessie Britt, their highest-graded player, hasn't played since Week 6 against FIU.
125. Georgia Tech Yellowjackets
Growing pains were certain to come for the Yellowjackets as they switched from the option attack to a spread offense and that is certainly what they're experiencing through nine weeks. They did receive a surprise victory over Miami but a lot of that can be attributed to their defense as their receiving corps as a unit after averaging just 4.58 yards per route run (125th) and have combined for just 40 receiving conversions of a touchdown or first down. No receiver has more than 12 receptions and that title belongs to Ahmarean Brown who is leading the team with two drops as well.
124. Miami RedHawks
Jack Sorenson has been dealing with an injury and as such, no receiver has graded higher than 67.3 in his three games worth of absence. Still, taking the whole season into account, the RedHawks have dropped 17.8% of the catchable passes thrown their way (120th) and sport just a 76.0 passer rating when targeting the skill players, ranking 115th in the country. Jalen Walker has played well for Miami but they'll need more than just his plus-play with true freshman Brett Gabbert still developing.
123. Illinois Fighting Illini
The Fighting Illini have struggled all season long through the air and despite six receiving touchdowns from star receiver Josh Imatorbhebhe, he's really been the only plus-graded player on a consistent basis for the entire Illinois team. Short of Imatorbhebhe, the whole team has averaged just 5.15 yards per route run to rank 114th in the country. Shockingly, their best player on offense — Reggie Corbin — has struggled mightily through the air, dropping two of the three catchable passes thrown his way. They could likely rise if Corbin can utilize his elusiveness on the outside on some catches.
122. Old Dominion Monarchs
While Eric Kumah has certainly impressed in his four games to date, the Monarchs have the country's second-lowest passer rating when targeting their skill players. They've secured only two receiving scores all year but have had success in finding first downs through the air as they've recorded 53 such receptions, 11 of which belong to Kumah. They have no reception longer than 47 yards and are averaging just 10.04 yards per reception, ranking 123rd in the country.
121. UTEP Miners
It's no struggle to say the Miners have been sluggish on offense this year and through the air, they're averaging just 7.0 yards per pass attempt and just barely above a 50.0% completion percentage. They've combined to drop 14 of 100 catchable targets thrown their way and that drop rate ranks 121st in the country. Tre'Shon Wolf has been sharp for them, gaining 129 of his 306 yards after the catch while Justin Garrett has forced four missed tackles on his 11 receptions to prove that there is something there once they get the ball. Limiting drops will only see this unit on the rise.
120. Akron Zips
The Zips have been a disaster on offense this year and their receivers have combined to drop 20 passes, including seven from running back Brandon Lee. Outside of Dustin Burkhart, the Zips have no player with a receiving grade above 65.4 and Nate Stewart leads the team with 437 receiving yards and three scores. Of Stewart's 31 receptions, 23 of them have converted a first down or a touchdown but as a unit, this team has averaged the country's 115th-ranked yards after the catch figure. With lacking accuracy from QB Kato Nelson, the unit has fielded the country's sixth-best contested catch rate, hauling in 58.1% of their contested targets this season, giving a sign of hope moving forward.
119. UNLV Rebels
As a unit, the Rebels have graded out as the 127th-ranked unit in football and have dropped a whopping 22.8% of their catchable passes thrown, the fifth-highest such figure. Their best player on offense has certainly been WR Randal Grimes but he's dropped nine of the 40 catchable passes his way. Still, his 10 missed tackles forced after the catch rank among the top 25 in the country but could be much higher if he hadn't dropped almost double-digit balls this year.
118. California Golden Bears
This receiving corps has struggled with an injury to their starting quarterback and despite making a contested catch on 56.7% of their opportunities (10th-best), they've struggled to make their routes count as a unit. They average just 5.62 yards after the catch and are averaging 4.65 yards per route run to rank just 124th across the country. Kekoa Crawford has been a bright spot for the team through the air as all 10 of his catches have scored a touchdown (2) or moved the chains for a first down (8) but they've been without his services in half of their contests this year. Crawford in their lineup helps but without Chase Garbers slinging the ball to them, it's a marked difference in the passing game that the Golden Bears haven't been able to make up for with their receivers.
117. Georgia Southern Eagles
It's a good thing this is a running-first team because their cast of receivers certainly hasn't done much for them in 2019. They rank just 129th in total passing snaps this year as a team (88) and yet they've managed to come up with a top-40 drop rate, dropping 13.3% of their catchable targets as a unit. They more than make up for their lack of success in the passing game with their rushing game but when they do haul in receptions, that's basically where they end up as they average just 3.62 yards after the catch (129th) per reception.
116. Wyoming Cowboys
Outside of WR Raghib Ismail Jr. and TE Jackson Marcotte, the Cowboys have no pass-catcher with at least four targets and a receiving grade above average. In fact, all other receivers have below-average grades at this stage but Ismail has certainly been fun to watch. He's averaging 18.5 yards per catch and has two touchdowns but the rest of the team combined has scored just six scores and they're averaging 5.84 yards per route run. The inefficiencies to get the ball to their playmakers shows as they average a healthy yards per catch figure at 17.8 but those numbers could be even bigger as they rank dead last in the FBS by dropping 36.6% of their catchable targets.
115. Rice Owls
With a revolving door at quarterback, the playmakers haven't been able to make many plays this season, still, Austin Trammell and Brad Rozner have been good for the Owls. However, outside of those two, there really isn't much else to be positive about as the team has averaged just 3.9 yards after the catch to rank just 124th in the country. Just 36.3% of their yards have come after the catch and that's with averaging a depth of target 9.48 yards downfield and only 18.7% of their targets being contested. They've found some receivers in space but besides Trammell and Rozner, they've not been able to do much with that space.
114. Bowling Green Falcons
This unit receives a bump just because of its other players making plays through the air, not just their wide receivers. The highest receiving grades for the Falcons belong to RB Bryson Denley, TE Quintin Morris and RB Andrew Clair as they've combined for 748 of the team's 1,347 yards through the air. Morris has broken five tackles after the fact but his quarterbacks have thrown three interceptions when looking his way, compared to just two touchdowns. The receiving corps as a unit sees a passer rating of just 68.5 when targeted, ranking 125th in the country.
113. UL-Monroe Warhawks
The Warhawks have received great play from one of the nation's top-graded tight ends in Josh Pederson as he's hauled in 26 catches for 294 yards, five scores and 12 more first-down receptions. WR Markis McCray has forced 10 missed tackles after the catch this year but has dropped four of 30 catchable targets his way and the team currently owns a 19.5% drop rate, ranking 123rd in the country. They have converted 76 of their 135 receptions into a first down or a touchdown but that figure could be much higher without the drops.
112. New Mexico State Aggies
Tony Nicholson has been a great player for the Aggies this season, currently with 42 receptions and 472 yards through the air but outside of him, NMSU has seen 20 dropped passes and their team drop rate of 13.3% is ranked 98th in the country. Jason Huntley has added a dynamic feature out of the backfield and he currently trails only his teammate Nicholson with four missed tackles forced after the catch. Still, as a unit, and outside of those two players, the team averages just 5.13 yards per route run, the 115th-ranked figure in that category.
111. Texas State Bobcats
While Hutch White has been dependable to an extent, the Bobcats lack a true playmaker with the ball in his hands and they're averaging just 10.2 yards per catch, 121st in the nation. White himself has five drops on 41 catchable passes his way and they've only combined for 68 receiving conversions on their 156 receptions. Jah'Marae Sheread has forced seven missed tackles on his 18 receptions and added a nice complement to White in spurts but this team needs more than just flashes to be a consistent threat in the air.
110. Duke Blue Devils
For as much as they've thrown it this year, their efforts could have been maximized with some sustained plus-play from their receivers but the Blue Devils don't have a receiver with a receiving grade higher than 65.3 as TE Eli Pancol leads the team with just a 69.1 overall grade in that facet, and that's on just eight targeted passes. Leading the team is Jalon Calhoun as his 50 targets have turned into 37 receptions for 294 yards, three scores and 209 yards after the catch. As a team, however, they rank just 120th in yards per catch (10.25) and just 106th in yards after the catch per reception (4.87).
109. Kent State Golden Flashes
There have been moments of hope for this Golden Flashes team but also moments that conjure up doubt. Their receiving prowess is being buoyed by WR Isaiah McKoy who leads the team in every major receiving category and averages 13.3 yards per reception through eight games. Outside of him, however, this Kent State team is averaging just 5.1 yards per route run to rank 116th in the nation. They've had relatively safe hands (just an 8.6% drop rate) and have limited balls falling victim to interceptions but have been far less efficient on a per-down basis after the catch.
108. Kentucky Wildcats
Losing your No. 1 wide receiver as the emergency quarterback will never be a good thing for a receiving corps as the loss of Terry Wilson and the subsequent lackluster (and injured) play of Sawyer Smith has moved Lynn Bowden Jr. to the team's No. 1 quarterback role. With struggling quarterback play after Wilson's injury, this cast of receivers remaining would certainly be tasked with coming up with contested catches, something they have not been able to do consistently. In fact, the Wildcats receiving corps ranks just 117th in contested catch percentage, hauling in just 33.3% of all contested passes this year.
107. USF Bulls
The Bulls have gotten great receiving grades out of two players, both tight ends Jacob Mathis and Mitchell Wilcox but the rest of the team has seemingly struggled. They rank just 94th and 99th in yards per catch and yards after the catch per reception, respectively, as they've also fallen down to just 123rd in contested catch percentage (30.8%) with some subpar quarterback play given them plenty of contested situations to work with. Randall St. Felix leads the team with four missed tackles forced after the catch but the Bulls find themselves averaging just 5.13 YAC/reception.
106. Ole Miss Rebels
The first of the teams on the ranking with a true, bonafide No. 1 wide receiver living up to the hype that just isn't getting any of the help you'd expect. Elijah Moore has been terrific all season long and still, to this point of the year, has not dropped a pass on the 49 catchable targets his way. The issue is, the rest of the receiving corps have combined to field a drop rate of 11.2% to rank 78th in the country. Moore has 221 of the team's 691 yards after the catch and 621 of the unit's 1,613 total receiving yards, proving he's the team's only viable threat through the air on a consistent basis. Outside of Moore, no full-time receiver has a receiving grade above 62.4 on the season.
105. New Mexico Lobos
Outside of TE Marcus Williams and WR Jordan Kress, the Lobos has seen just one other receiver field a grade above 68.9 as they lack depth along their receiving corps. Kress leads the team with 409 yards on just 14 receptions as he's averaging 29.2 yards per catch this year and 11.6 YAC/rec. New Mexico ranks in the top 10 nationally in yards per reception at 15.51 but they've still fielded a lowly drop rate as a unit and have not brought down many contested-catch situations as both quarterbacks have struggled with accuracy in 2019.
104. NC State Wolfpack
NC State's biggest threat through the air this year has been TE Cary Angeline as he leads the team in receiving grade and is tied with WR Thayer Thomas in touchdowns with three. While Emeka Emezie has been a first-down machine, the team has only finished with a receiving grade that ranks 99th, yards per reception that ranks 95th and a passer rating to their receivers that ranks 103rd. There is a serious lack of depth after Angeline, Emezie and Thomas but even still, the highest-graded of those three is Angeline at just 71.3.
103. San Diego State Aztecs
While Juwan Washington has had sharp grades through the air and WRs Kobe Smith and Jesse Matthews have had decent seasons, the team has struggled to consistently move the chains elsewhere. Smith and Matthews have combined for half the first-down receptions of the team and this is a unit that ranks just 122nd in yards per catch and 121st in yards after the catch per reception. Still, Smith has been solid from QB Ryan Agnew, catching 41 passes for 515 yards and four scores with 20 more first-down receptions.
102. Rutgers Scarlet Knights
The Scarlet Knights are buoyed heavily by the play of RB Raheem Blackshear, who has essentially been the team's only bright spot in 2019. No player has a receiving grade higher than 67.1 outside of Blackshear and no receiver with at least 10 targeted passes has a grade above 65.4. Still, Blackshear is worth the price of admission, hauling in 29 passes for 310 yards, two scores and nine more first-down receptions. He's forced seven missed tackles and gained 322 yards after the catch, averaging 11.1 yards after the catch per reception.
101. Army Black Knights
Difficult to place the Service Academies due to their run-first nature, the Black Knights have been solid but inefficient through the air in 2019. Their receivers have combined to field the nation's third-lowest drop rate (3.8%) but it's just on 52 total targets to the players in contention here. Their highest receiving grade belongs to FB Artice Hobbs IV and the team has combined for just 4.08 yards per route run when they do go out on a pass play. That figure ranks just 126th in the country.
100. Nevada Wolf Pack
No receiver with more than 10 targeted passes has a receiving grade higher than 68.2 for the Wolf Pack but they have seen some plus-play in moments from Jaxson Kincaide, Devonte Lee and Kelton Moore, all three of whom are running backs. Elijah Cooks leads the team in yards and touchdowns but the Wolf Pack have really found a tough go of it on a consistent basis, averaging just 10.4 yards per reception, the 116th-ranked figure in America. Over half their yards have been after the catch but it still hasn't quite been enough and outside of Cooks and WR Romeo Doubs, they've been relatively unsuccessful with the ball in their hands and they've lost four fumbles in 2019.
99. FIU Golden Panthers
The Conference USA's reigning leader in yards per reception has been at it again as Austin Maloney is currently seeing a 19.3 yards per reception figure and the entire Golden Panthers receiving corps has found success in that regard, ranking 44th in the country. What's plagued them this season is their drops, and they currently rank 124th in the nation with a 20.6% drop rate as every player with at least 10 total targets has dropped at least two passes their way this year. A few fewer drops and their 35th-ranked yards per route run average of 7.04 would only improve, as would their ranking.
98. Fresno State Bulldogs
There have been moments for this Bulldogs team and they, as a unit, rank 44th with a drop rate of just 8.6% but they've been unsuccessful when counting on the passing game for points with just nine receiving touchdowns between the whole lot of them. They're the 66th highest-graded receiving unit as a whole but that's just receiving grade alone and they've combined for 14 drops. With some extended play from their highest-graded players in our receiving facet, they could certainly slide up but they're averaging just 10.78 yards per reception to rank 107th in the nation.
97. Maryland Terrapins
As good as Dontay Demus Jr. has been for the Terrapins this year, only three players on the team have a receiving grade of 65.0 or above with the highest of them being Tayon Fleet-Davis at just 69.0. Demus has accounted for 487 yards on 31 receptions including 280 after the catch and the team as a whole are averaging the country's 14th-best mark in terms of yards after the catch per reception (7.49) but that's only garnered them the 53rd-best yards per catch rank. They've failed to bring home contested catches as well (just 124th in contested catch percentage) but they're still an exciting group with the ball in their hands, they've just got to get the ball in their hands.
96. Navy Midshipmen
Navy's receiving corps has been solid if not dynamic this year, averaging just 5.75 yards after the catch per reception but seeing a 20.32 yards per catch figure that ranks third nationally. Obviously on a small sample size, but the Navy receiving corps has been efficient on intermediate throws. TE CJ Williams leads them with two scores and the team has converted 21 of 28 receptions by their core pass-catchers into either first downs or touchdowns.
95. Tulsa Golden Hurricane
The Golden Hurricane receivers have been a boom-or-bust unit so far this season. They currently rank 128th in the country with a drop rate of 23.0% but rank 45th by hauling in 45.8% of their contested catches this year. WR Keylon Stokes has ripped off 695 yards through the air on 44 catches and 248 of the team's 786 yards after the catch. Even with Stokes' success after the catch, the rank just 117th in yards after the catch per reception at just 4.6 as a team. Stokes and WR Sam Crawford Jr. have been great but the rest of the team's pass-catchers will have to step it up down the backstretch of the season.
94. UConn Huskies
It's certainly important to note that the receiving corps rankings take into account all pass-catchers and UConn RB Art Thompkins has clearly been the Huskies' best receiver this season. He currently has hauled in 31 passes for 209 yards including 242 yards after the catch. He's averaging a depth of target behind the line of scrimmage and having to do a lot of the damage by himself, which he's done marvelously. The team has also receiving plus-play from WR Cameron Ross who leads the team with 478 yards and 40 catches. They're a formidable 1-2 combination but that's really all the Huskies have in the way of highly-graded receiving options in 2019. And that's not enough to carry them out of the 90s at this stage.
93. Marshall Thundering Herd
The Thundering Herd's biggest playmaker through the air has been TE Armani Levias who has hauled in 32 of the 40 targeted passes thrown his way for a team-high 346 yards and three scores. Levias had a career day in Week 9, hauling in 10 passes for 77 yards and a touchdown. As a team, however, Marshall's pass-catchers have dropped 11.7% of their catchable passes to rank 87th in the country and have only 57 additional first-down receptions to their 12 receiving scores. Still, Levias and WR Broc Thompson have been bright spots through the air and the majority of their team has above-average receiving grades.
92. UAB Blazers
The Blazers are a team with three viable threats through the air but quite literally nothing much after that. With Austin Watkins holding an elite receiving grade of 88.6 and fellow WRs Kendall Parham and Myron Mitchell each with at least 339 yards and three scores, the trio has combined for the majority of UAB's receiving statistics all year. Still, as a team they have the nation's 102nd-ranked drop rate and have struggled to find any consistency outside of the top trio meaning if the opposing defense can shut down those three, they can shut down the Blazers' passing attack.
91. Mississippi State Bulldogs
Osirus Mitchell has been no stranger to big-time catches this season and he's leading the team with 25 receptions for 344 yards and four scores while Stephen Guidry and Isaiah Zuber have each had their moments through the air. Unfortunately, after those three with some moments from Deddrick Thomas, Mitchell leads all Bulldogs receivers with a 69.6 receiving grade and the team has combined for just 5.86 yards per route run (87th). More Mitchell is never a bad thing for fans nor for the Bulldogs to have success.
90. BYU Cougars
A sure-fire NFL draft prospect, TE Matt Bushman has been everything surely everyone thought he could be this year despite the loss of QB Zach Wilson this season. Micah Simon has been a very solid component of this team's receiving corps as well and his most notable play against Tennessee essentially gave the Cougars life earlier this year. Aleva Hifo and Dax Milne have combined for two touchdowns apiece and if this team could improve their yards after the catch rates per reception, they could rise. Still, to date, for a team that entered with question marks outside of Bushman in terms of pass-catchers, this is a favorable sight after nine weeks of action.
89. Ohio Bobcats
Similarly to the aforementioned Cougars of BYU, the Bobcats didn't enter the 2019 season with a dedicated star in the passing game for star QB Nathan Rourke to get the ball to. WR Shane Hooks and TE Ryan Luehrman have been great for Ohio as their hopes of a MAC title are still alive. While the team's pass-catchers are averaging 14.29 yards per reception, only 4.75 of those are coming after the catch per reception and that's a figure than ranks just 114th in the nation. WR Isiah Cox leads the team with six missed tackles forced and 130 yards after the catch as he's the only Bobcat receiver with over 100 YAC yards and more than two missed tackles forced.
88. Toledo Rockets
The loss of now-Pittsburgh Steelers WR Diontae Johnson was obviously going to leave a big hole in the Rockets' lineup in 2019 and it's one that hasn't been filled with one player but rather a cast of characters who are grading decently in 2019. They may rank just 89th in receiving grade as a team but they have managed to rack up 13.86 yards per catch and 6.58 yards after the catch per receptions, each ranking within the top 32 of all FBS teams. WR Bryce Mitchell has been great and has just one drop on 20 catchable targets and Danzel McKinley-Lewis leads the team with 153 yards after the catch.
87. ECU Pirates
Even with sophomore QB Holton Ahlers having a bit of a down year compared to his freshman season, the Pirate receiving corps have been decent. WR C.J. Johnson leads the group with his 413 yards and eight missed tackles forced as this team ranks in the 80s in the majority of categories behind the PFF advanced statistic database. They've been good, not great, as a unit but more from Johnson could push ECU further not only on this list but perhaps into a bowl game as they'll need every victory going forward. Blake Proehl has once again also been solid and dropped just one of the 29 catchable passes his way in 2019.
86. Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders
A cast of perhaps lesser-known receivers have played well in limited time for the Blue Raiders and while they've been unspectacular by averaging just 11.71 yards per catch, they have gained 1,007 yards after the catch and their YAC average ranks 33rd in the nation. WR Zack Dobson has gained 243 of his 225 yards after the catch while CJ Windham leads the team with four touchdowns and Jarrin Pierce leads the team with 15 first-down receptions. A few fewer drops from this team and they'll continue to strive and make QB Asher O'Hara look that much better in 2019.
85. Coastal Carolina Chanticleers
The Chanticleers have one of the safest receiving corps in terms of hands, across the entire country as they've combined to drop just 4.1% of the catchable passes thrown their way, ranking fourth-best in the nation. No receiver has more than a single drop and they've even come down with 48.3% of the contested targets thrown their way to rank 38th. RB CJ Marable actually leads the team in receiving grade as he's hauled in 267 yards and three scores while TE Isaiah Likely has been no stranger to the Sun Belt Team of the Week. With some more boom for their buck in terms of yards per reception, this is actually a unit that could be on the rise.
84. TCU Horned Frogs
The Horned Frogs are the classic one-trick pony as Jalen Reagor is very clearly their lone star at the receiver position. While they've gained positive receiving grades from RB Darius Anderson and TE Pro Wells, this team is lifted by Reagor and seemingly Reagor alone. Good thing for TCU fans, Reagor is that good to lift them from the 100s and into 84th here as he's hauled in 25 receptions for 326 yards and four scores while 10 of his other receptions moved the chains for first downs. Still, when looking outside of Reagor, the team ranks just 112th nationally in yards after the catch per reception and just 115th in contested catch percentage as they've struggled elsewhere.
83. South Carolina Gamecocks
Fresh off the Catch of the Year by Bryan Edwards, the Gamecocks have just two receivers with receiving grades above 58.7 in Edwards and Shi Smith. While that duo has combined for 996 receiving yards and six touchdowns, the rest of the team has truly struggled outside of them. As a unit, they rank just 117th in receiving grade, 119th in yards per reception, 111th in yards per route run and 106th in passer rating when targeted. Without Edwards and Smith, this is a unit that is putting forth very poor grades but that's just how good their duo has been.
82. Auburn Tigers
Similar to their SEC foe just above them, the Tigers have received very strong grades from WRs Seth Williams and Anthony Schwartz but without Williams' eight touchdowns, Auburn's pass-catchers have caught just six touchdowns. Williams makes even the worst Bo Nix passes look catchable and has racked up 523 yards in the air and another 13 first-down catches. Schwartz is averaging 7.6 yards after the catch per reception but the team has averaged just 6.26 yards per route run to rank 75th in the country.
81. Utah State Aggies
While their highest-graded player in receiving grades may be RB Jaylen Warren, transfer WR Siaosi Mariner has been a welcome addition to the Aggie lineup and he's hauled in 28 passes for 430 yards and three scores. We haven't seen the best Jordan Love in 2019 but Mariner has given a fun aspect to the Utah State offense and has racked up another 16 first-down receptions. Mariner and Warren have been good as has Deven Thompkins but the rest of the team as a whole is averaging just 10.83 yards per reception, ranking 106th in the nation.
80. Boston College Eagles
The Eagles have certainly suffered from the loss of QB Anthony Brown but TE Hunter Long is one of the nation's highest-graded receiving tight ends this year. He's hauled in 20 catches without a drop, has 400 yards including 247 after the catch and 13 conversions that include a touchdown and 12 first downs. Electric true freshman Zay Flowers has also been heavily featured and has 15 receptions for 252 yards with 91 of them coming after the catch. As good as Long and Flowers have been, the Boston College pass-catchers have dropped 11.5% of their catchable targets to rank 84th in the country.
79. UCLA Bruins
No UCLA receiver has a receiving grade above 71.6 but RB Demetric Felton has more than made up for that with his 35 receptions that have totaled 439 yards through the air. He's racked up 380 yards after the catch and 12 more first-down receptions while WR Kyle Philips is second on the team with 34 receptions and 381 yards. They've had safe hands as a unit (6.1% drop rate, 19th) but haven't come down with many contested catches (31.3%, 121st) and have been a mediocre unit in terms of yards per receptions and yards after the catch per reception.
78. Central Michigan Chippewas
They've certainly thrown the ball enough to show off who they have on the receiving end of passes but even with the high number of pass attempts, their 11.2% drop rate ranks 75th in the country. WR JaCorey Sullivan has forced a team-high eight missed tackles on his 31 receptions while WR Kalil Pimpleton leads the team with 84 targets, 56 receptions and 606 yards. He's a highlight-reel waiting to happen when he has the ball in his hands but his six drops also lead the team. The Chips have six pass-catchers with at least 139 yards but only two of which hold receiving grades above 66.1.
77. Northern Illinois Huskies
Unsurprisingly, TE Mitchell Brinkman leads the Huskies in overall receiving grade as he's been sharp all season long. He's hauled in 26 passes for 360 yards, two scores and 15 first downs. He actually leads the team with 211 yards after the catch and his 8.1 YAC/reception are nearing a top figure among the nation's tight ends. Elsewhere, WRs Cole Tucker and Daniel Crawford have been a bright spot as well but this team still has dropped 11.3% of their catchable targets to rank 82nd and keep expectations tempered for the time being.
76. Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
The Hilltoppers have received very strong play from WR Jahcour Pearson as well as TE Kyle Fourtenbary but certainly need consistent play outside that duo. As a unit, the rank 45th in receiving grade but just 111th in yards per catch and 78th in yards per route run. Still, Pearson and fellow WR Lucky Jackson have formed quite the 1-2 duo. They present a tough set of guys to tackle and have forced 15 missed tackles after the catch between the two and Jackson has just one drop on 47 catchable throws his way.
75. Houston Cougars
Marquez Stevenson is not only good but really fast and he proved it on the national stage this past weekend. He took a simple in-breaking route for 96 yards and a score to pump life back into the Cougars offense as he's now earned 469 yards after the catch this year, averaging a ridiculous 13.8 YAC/rec. Unfortunately for Houston, as good as Stevenson is, the rest of the team has relatively struggled and they rank just 111th in yards per catch and 78th in yards per route run through nine weeks. If someone can step up opposite Stevenson through the tail-end of the season, this team could push for a potential bowl berth.
74. Georgia State Panthers
The Panthers receiving corps have some very redeeming qualities like the sixth-lowest drop rate (4.7%) and the 24th-highest contested catch rate (51.4%). It's the rest of the fundamentals where they lack as they've gotten open on a few instances but other than WRs Cornelius McCoy and Sam Pinckney, haven't been able to muster a consistent attack. McCoy has ripped off 477 yards through the air including four scores and 27 additional first downs while Pinckney has scored five touchdowns and secured 18 first downs. They account for the majority of the team's yards through the air and with Aubry Payne's six scores, all but three of the team's receiving touchdowns.
73. Arkansas Razorbacks
Tight end Cheyenne O'Grady has become arguably the best after-the-catch threat at the tight end position this season and true freshman sensation Trey Knox has been almost uncoverable. Knox has caught 26 passes for 357 yards and two scores while 14 more of his receptions have moved the chains and he's gained 96 yards after the catch. WR Treylon Burks has also been strong but after the aforementioned trio, no Arkansas pass-catcher has a receiving grade above 64.8 on the year and the team has combined for a 16.8% drop rate that ranks 119th.
72. Cincinnati Bearcats
The Bearcats have been an interesting group that has seemingly caught fire through their conference schedule. TE Josiah Deguara is their star receiver and he's caught 21 passes for 293 yards and a team-high four touchdowns while he's averaging 5.6 yards after the catch per reception. WRs Alec Pierce and Rashad Medaris have been good for Cincinnati and Michael Warren has averaged 8.1 YAC/rec as well but no player on the team has a receiving grade above 73.1 through nine weeks. A top-ranking could be just a few Deguara plays away as he has proven to have the skills to get open and to get into the end zone during his career.
71. Tennessee Volunteers
Jauan Jennings may be one of the nation's most talented receivers and Marquez Callaway was an offseason darling but it's been Jennings who has certainly taken the roof off his potential in 2019. He's currently in possession of an elite receiving grade and has hauled in 42 balls for 652 yards and seven scores. He's broken 17 tackles after the catch and is a menace to take down in the secondary. Callaway has certainly helped the team towards their 13th-best contested catch rate of 55.8% but too many drops keep them from getting much higher than here in our rankings. They've dropped 13.1% of the catchable passes thrown their way this year, a figure that ranks 97th in the nation.
70. Troy Trojans
Multiple players from the Trojans are currently grading above average and Kaylon Geiger leads them all. He's secured 273 of his 472 yards after the catch while WR Khalil McClain has scored a team-high six touchdowns. Geiger and McClain have been a great 1-2 combination and the team has been effective, albeit not highlight-reel worthy in 2019. They rank 50th in yards per route run but just 117th in contested catch rate through nine weeks.
69. Vanderbilt Commodores
In another shining example of a team lacking depth, the Commodores have received extremely strong play in the air from star RB Ke'Shawn Vaughn and WR Kalija Lipscomb but they haven't gotten much help elsewhere. Vaughn has caught all 21 of the targets thrown his way and has 254 yards after the catch, averaging a very healthy 12.1 YAC/rec while Lipscomb has converted 14 of his 30 catches into either a first down or a touchdown. Lipscomb is tied for second nationally with 17 missed tackles forced after the catch but outside of he and Vaughn, no receiver has a grade above 65.0 and the team is averaging just 5.2 yards per route run to rank outside of the top 100 teams nationally. Still, getting the ball to their star receivers has given them a needed boost at times and it's on QBs Riley Neal and Deuce Wallace to find them more frequently.
68. Charlotte 49ers
There's a Group of 5 standout receiver that few are talking about in 49ers WR Victor Tucker, the owner of a terrific game-winning reception in Week 9. Tucker has been sharp all season long and has 33 catches for 499 yards and four scores while he's gained 107 of those yards after the catch. In fact, four of the Charlotte pass-catchers have over 100 yards after the catch and as a team, they're averaging a top-50 mark in YAC/reception. WR Micaleous Elder has been strong when on the field and RB Benny LeMay is one of the best in the business on the ground, churning out a 73.7 receiving grade this year as well. They do have several drops as a unit but this team is on the rise with QB Chris Reynolds playing extremely well.
67. Kansas Jayhawks
They've made their games interesting this season, albeit a loss to Coastal Carolina was a snoozer earlier this year. Still, of late, the Jayhawks are an exciting brand of football and Stephon Robinson, Andrew Parchment and Daylon Charlot have put forth receiving grades of at least 67.4 this year. Robinson and Parchment have each scored six touchdowns and the latter has the advantage in targets, receptions, yards and first downs as well as yards after the catch, gaining 283 on 43 catches (624 total). Outside of those three, however, they're reliant on an inconsistent group of tight ends and RB Pooka Williams is averaging just 5.6 yards per catch as the unit as a whole just cracks the 5.00 YAC/reception mark to rank 104th in the country. More from their star trio and some plus-play from Williams could push this team higher as they continue through Big 12 play.
66. Wisconsin Badgers
The Badgers have quite certainly relied on WR Quintez Cephus for the majority of their passing yards this year as he leads the team in grade, yards and receiving conversions. Jonathan Taylor has also added his first-ever and now all four career receiving touchdowns this year, adding a wrinkle out of the backfield for QB Jack Coan but Cephus' contested-catch skills have been almost unmatched in 2019. In fact, as a team, they rank second overall with a contested-catch percentage of 76.9% but outside of Cephus, Taylor and RB Garrett Groshek, they've combined to average just 5.01 yards after the catch per reception, ranking 101st in the country. They've moved away from Taylor in the passing attack in the second half of the season, something that they saw success from early on. Perhaps that's a way to stop their slide down these rankings even further.
65. Syracuse Orange
It is a different era in Syracuse football without Eric Dungey but there's still one thing that's apparent, the Orange will have their moments in the passing game and star receivers will pop up from time to time. The trouble this year has been inconsistency but Trishton Jackson and the cast of running backs out of the backfield have performed admirably. Jackson has caught 41 passes for 611 yards and six touchdowns while dropping just two passes and gaining 230 of his yards after the catch. The running back duo of Moe Neal and Abdul Adams have combined for 37 receptions and 342 yards while they've gained over 400 yards after the catch this year. They rank 23rd as a unit by averaging 7.08 yards after the catch per reception and when they've got the ball to their playmakers in space, it's been trouble for opposing defenses.
64. West Virginia Mountaineers
The Mountaineers ushered in a new era of WVU football, but unlike Syracuse, they did it by welcoming in a new cast of receivers after the departures of Gary Jennings and David Sills and the arrival on the national stage of Sam James and T.J. Simmons. James has made contested catches look easy while Simmons is ripping off 7.3 yards after the catch per reception and has forced 12 missed tackles. Former 5-star prospect George Campbell has shined at times in his new home in Morgantown, catching his first three career touchdown passes in Weeks 1-3 but has fizzled out since. Still, James and Simmons have been enough to get the job done at times but they'd need more than just that duo to see them rise any higher than where they are now.
63. Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns
A run-first team, sure, and a run-first team with great success also, the Ragin' Cajuns have seen very strong play from their wide receivers when the play calls for it. Ja'Marcus Bradley is the highest-graded of the lot as he's hauled in 29 catches for 439 yards and four scores while 21 other catches have secured a first down and Jamal Bell has secured a first down on 15 of his 22 catches this year. Their running backs have added value in the passing game as well as Trey Ragas, Elijah Mitchell, Raymond Calais and Chris Smith have gained a total of 180 yards after the catch on just 18 receptions.
62. Kansas State Wildcats
A large portion of the production through the air for Kansas State can be attributed to three players as their receiver trio of Phillip Brooks, Dalton Schoen and Malik Knowles have been extremely strong in 2019. Knowles takes the headlines here even though he's just third on the team in catches as he's made some remarkable big-time catches this season and has converted a first down or touchdown on 12 of his 15 receptions so far. They don't gain a lot of yards after the catch as a unit but they do churn out first downs when necessary and they have 61 such chain-moving receptions on 95 non-scoring catches. Feeding their trio seems to work and especially targeting Knowles has shown promise.
61. Michigan State Spartans
There has clearly been an issue with drops from this Michigan State team, however, when they do have the ball in their hands, they've been very good. Darrell Stewart leads the team in every major receiving category including his 12 drops but outside of those, he's been a big-time catch waiting to happen. He's caught 48 passes for 686 yards and four scores while 27 other receptions have gone for a first down. Before this goes any further, it is important to note that had he caught those 12 drops, at an average of 14.3 yards per reception, he'd be pushing the 900-yard mark this year already. Still, he's broken nine tackles and Cody White has also chipped in with 399 yards on 30 catches and TE Matt Seybert has caught three scores and gained 123 of his 195 yards after the catch. Limiting the drops will be crucial for this team to win some more games in 2019, and likely move up from here.
60. Virginia Tech Hokies
What has become a frustrating season and a dramatic season with a six-overtime win involved, the Hokies has had no receiver grade lower than 61.8 but only Hezekiah Grimsley grade over 74.5 and he's only been targeted nine times. WR Damon Hazelton's return to the lineup has been key for them in the passing game and he's caught four scores in just four games so far including two in the victory over North Carolina. They'll need to tighten up on the drops as a team as they've fielded the country's 114th-highest drop rate at 14.6% but they find themselves at 10th in the country by averaging 7.64 yards after the catch per reception. Had the catch counted, RB Deshawn McClease would have single-handedly moved this team up at least 10 spots when he had the ‘almost catch of the year' against Rhode Island (look it up, trust me).
59. Missouri Tigers
There have been shining moments for this Missouri receiving corps in 2019 and the majority of those belong to TE Albert Okwuegbunam and RB Tyler Badie. Still, transfer WR Jonathan Nance has hauled in three touchdowns and 307 yards on his 19 catches but this offense has moved as Albert O (and Kelly Bryant) have, albeit in the wrong direction as of late. Their body of work from the entire season in mind, Okwuegbunam has 18 catches for 250 yards and six scores while nine other catches have moved the chains for a first down. Badie has ripped off 22 catches for 297 yards and three scores while he's gained 314 yards after the catch and broken four tackles as he's looked very good on receptions. As a unit, however, what is holding them back is the drops as they rank 110th with a 14.4% drop rate through nine weeks.
58. Stanford Cardinal
Gone is JJ Arcega-Whiteside and the Cardinal rank just 90th in contested catch rate this season, hauling in just 38.3% of those situations. Yet, WRs Simi Fehoko, Michael Wilson, Connor Wedington and Osiris St. Brown each have a receiving grade above average and TE Colby Parkinson is leading the team with 358 yards and has still not dropped a pass in 2019. They rank 26th in the country with a drop rate of just 7.0% and they've secured 82 first downs on 160 non-scoring receptions as a unit. They may not be a dynamic group like they were a season ago with big chunk plays through the air but this team is still efficient on the receiving end of Davis Mills or K.J. Costello passes as a whole.
57. Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
Louisiana Tech has put forth an impressive display of passing at times in the 2019 season and four receivers have hauled in at least 360 yards. WR Cee Jay Powell leads them all with 446 yards on 38 receptions and while he doesn't have the touchdown totals of the rest of them, he does have 25 additional first-down receptions. Griffin Hebert and Malik Stanley have combined for seven touchdowns and this team is averaging 7.15 yards after the catch per reception, ranking 21st in the country in that regard. They haven't been able to come down with contested catches regularly but nine different players have scored a touchdown and this group has broken 31 tackles after the catch this year.
56. Virginia Cavaliers
While the Cavaliers receiving corps have not gained much in terms of yards after the catch, ranking just 119th with 4.44 yards after the catch per reception, they are the nation's leaders in lowest drop rate, allowing a ball to fall to the ground on just 1.1% of their catchable targets. They've combined to drop just two of the 185 catchable passes their way this year as you'd have to look elsewhere for why the completion percentage isn't above 70.0% for Cavs quarterbacks. Hasise Dubois is the leader of the group by hauling in 582 yards and 27 conversions through the air but no receiver with at least 10 targeted passes averages more than 7.5 yards after the catch per reception.
55. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
If the Virginia receivers haven't dropped very many passes, the Fighting Irish are the exact opposite. They've combined to field a 14.5% drop rate, ranking 113th in the country as they've let 17 passes fall to the dirt. When they do have the ball in their hands, they're excelling as they average 6.6 YAC/rec, ranking 31st in the country. They are also seeing a 121.3 passer rating when targeted, the ninth-best such figure in the nation and are coming down with 44.4% of the contested situations presented with them, cracking the top half of all receiving corps. TE Cole Kmet has wowed as has junior WR Javon McKinley as they have each hauled in four touchdowns and over 100 yards after the catch. McKinley has been a tough guy to bring down, breaking five tackles on his 10 catches and seeing a 149.2 passer rating on throws his way.
54. Purdue Boilermakers
You can bet this team's season took a big hit when Rondale Moore went out with injury against Minnesota as he had already accumulated seven broken tackles, 210 yards after the catch and 29 receptions in just four games. With true freshman WR David Bell's emergence, expectations for the 2020 season with Bell and Moore healthy should be sky-high. Bell has caught 44 passes for 653 yards, four scores and 28 more first-down receptions while breaking four tackles of his own. He's a shifty guy with the ball in his hands and TE Brycen Hopkins is a big-bodied guy over the middle of the field who has hauled in 34 catches himself. Outside of those three, with some flashes from WR Jackson Anthrop, no other Purdue receiver has a receiving grade above 60.0 so they'd certainly benefit from plus-play elsewhere but with great play from Bell and Hopkins combined with a healthy Moore possibly returning, 54th overall in these rankings seems fair.
53. Appalachian State Mountaineers
A season ago, QB Zac Thomas was an extremely accurate quarterback for the App State Mountaineers, however, in 2019, he's lost a bit of that accuracy. Nevertheless, the App State receiving corps ranks first overall in the entire country by hauling in 77.3% of their contested catch opportunities this season. Led by WR Thomas Hennigan, who has caught 10 of the 12 contested catch opportunities his way, the Mountaineers as a team have combined to secure 17-of-22 contested targets so far in 2019. They haven't gained much in terms of yards after the catch but it hasn't seemed to matter as they rank 22nd in passer rating when targeting their receiving corps. A little more efficiency in terms of a higher yards per route run will improve their unit grade as well as their ranking here, and likely help them maintain their undefeated streak.
52. Pittsburgh Panthers
Much like App State, the Pittsburgh receiving corps has done a great job in contested situations, hauling in the country's fifth-best contested catch rate at 58.3%. WR Taysir Mack is tied for the national lead with 16 contested catches himself and Maurice Ffrench is tied for second with 17 broken tackles after the catch this season. Mack and Ffrench have combined for the majority of the damage done through the air, and they've been extremely sharp in doing so. However, outside of that duo, the Panthers haven't had much sustained success and actually have 26 drops as a team, holding back their talented 1-2 duo in Mack and Ffrench.
51. Iowa Hawkeyes
The Hawkeyes have a solid, if not unspectacular group of pass-catchers who have still certainly had their moments of making QB Nate Stanley look good in the box score. Five different pass-catchers have gained more than 150 yards after the catch while five players also have a long reception this season of at least 40 yards. Tyrone Tracy Jr., Ihmir Smith-Marsette and Nico Ragaini have combined for 47 receiving conversions between the three of them while RBs Tyler Goodson and Mekhi Sargent each have more yards after the catch than total receiving yards, seeing an average depth of target shorter than the line of scrimmage. Still, they rank just 86th in drop rate and 68th in yards per reception, limiting their rise on this list.
50. Eastern Michigan Eagles
Eagles QB Mike Glass is among the nation's leaders in big-time throws and he's been able to find his receivers with ease this season. Eight pass-catchers have at least 10 catches and all eight of them have gone over 100 yards as Quian Williams leads them all in receiving grade. Arthur Jackson III has had a great season outside of five drops while Dylan Drummond and Matthew Sexton each have hauled in 150+ yards after the catch and three scores apiece. If it weren't for a 12.6% drop rate, this team would certainly be higher as they've had big-play potential all year long but have left over 270 yards on the table with drops.
49. San Jose State Spartans
San Jose State has ridden the success of their Isaiah's as Isaiah Holiness has impressed in limited action and Isaiah Hamilton has caught all 25 catchable targets thrown his way for 413 yards and 17 first downs. Still, their star player in Tre Walker immediately made his presence felt upon his return to the lineup and despite lacking two games this year, is still leading the team with 566 yards and 26 receiving conversions. He's broken 10 tackles after the catch and gained 197 yards in the process. They're an efficient bunch, averaging 7.5 yards per route run to rank 22nd in the country but a lot of that has come with how deep they're being targeted on average as they average just 4.77 yards after the catch per reception. Still, with Walker in the lineup, this team is as talented as the next in terms of No. 1 WR skills.
48. FAU Owls
The Owls are one of a few teams who's headlining pass-catcher is their tight end and it's no discredit to their other receivers. Harrison Bryant is that good and currently one of the nation's highest-graded tight ends, for good reason. He's hauled in 38 catches for 577 yards including 234 yards after the catch, converting a first down or touchdown on 33 of those receptions. Deangelo Antoine has also impressed opposite Bryant while John Mitchell and John Raine have the touchdown totals on the receiving end of Chris Robison passes. They're only averaging the country's 70th-best yards per reception figure bringing down their overall spot here but they're a rock-solid group elsewhere, nearing the top of their conference and the top third of the Group of 5 in seemingly every metric taken into account.
47. Utah Utes
The Utes have seen some dominant performances from a handful of players on the receiving end of Tyler Huntley's passes this year, including standout games from WRs Bryan Thompson and Samson Nacua, TE Brant Kuithe and even RB Zack Moss as they're an electric bunch just waiting to explode when the time is granted. They rank in the top 22 in yards per reception, yards after the catch per reception, yards per route run and passer rating when targeted but find themselves lacking the consistency to be at the top of the top discussion. They have dropped 12.8% of catchable passes thrown their way and rank just 128th in contested catch rate but have had fewer opportunities than most due to Huntley's accuracy. With how high their grading, it seems likely they'll rise in this list easily if they can limit drops moving forward.
46. Florida State Seminoles
The Seminoles have been a frustrating team for fans this season, showcasing fireworks on offense at times and falling flat on their face in others. The receivers have dealt with subpar passing to them this year but have gained over half their yards per reception on runs after the catch as they've broken 39 tackles and gain an average of 6.63 yards after the catch on receptions. D.J. Matthews is the highest-graded of the group while TE Tre' McKitty and Tamorrion Terry grab the headlines. Terry is a big-play threat waiting to happen and has 331 yards after the catch this year, the 21st-most among all receivers this year. Cam Akers has gained 201 yards after the catch himself but dropped four of the 25 catchable passes thrown his way and some improvement there would improve not only FSU's chances to win more games but likely rise here.
45. Arizona Wildcats
A true threat of a team after the catch, Arizona's pass-catchers average 7.31 yards after the catch per reception, ranking 17th in the country as they've utilized their after-the-catch ability to average 6.84 yards per route run. RB Darius Smith is the highest-graded on the receiving end of Khalil Tate and Grant Gunnell passes this season, averaging 12.3 YAC/rec and a perfect passer rating when targeted. They utilize their running backs wonderfully in the passing game and Smith, Michael Wiley and J.J. Taylor are the team's highest-graded receivers after nine weeks. When going to receivers, five of them have secured over 200 yards in the air and all of them have brought down double-digit conversions. Brian Casteel is the most sure-handed of the group as he's made 31 catches without a drop this year.
44. Miami Hurricanes
Showing how important a receiver can be for a young or a struggling quarterback, K.J. Osborn ripped off the game-winning touchdown catch against Pittsburgh in Week 9 and that gives him five scores for the year. He's been an instant impact after transferring from Buffalo and he is second on the team with 418 yards while leading the team with those five scores and 24 total conversions. TE Brevin Jordan has benefited from being a sure-handed targeted as well, leading the team with 447 yards and 20 first-down catches as he's constantly been a chain-mover for N'Kosi Perry or Jarren Williams at quarterback. Jeff Thomas has proven to be one of the more electric receivers in the country, still, and he's broke five tackles and gaining 5.8 yards after the catch per reception. As a team, if they're to improve in any facet, it's coming down with more contested catches (just 37.0%, 97th overall) as their quarterbacks have shown struggles in getting the ball downfield.
43. Boise State Broncos
Even with what seems like a down year from star receiver John Hightower, the Broncos have four full-time pass-catchers with a receiving grade north of 69.9 as Khalil Shakir leads the unit at 82.0. Shakir has brought down 30 catches for 424 yards, three scores and 19 first-down receptions. CT Thomas and TE John Bates have each contributed with a 75.0 receiving grade, doing so in different ways. Thomas has broken five tackles and scored three touchdowns while Bates has a receiving conversion on 11 of his 16 catches gaining 78 yards after the catch in the process. Back to Hightower, the team's returning highest-graded skill player from a year ago, he's put forth two sluggish performances but when he's on, he's in the conversation of Mountain West's top pass-catcher. He's averaging 17.5 yards per reception and has just five career drops to his credit.
42. Nebraska Cornhuskers
The Cornhuskers are another prime example of a trio carrying a team's pass-catching prowess as WRs Wan'Dale Robinson and JD Spielman combined with RB Maurice Washington have accounted for the majority of the team's passing success in 2019. With Washington out, Robinson and Spielman take center stage in every contest moving forward, for good reason. The duo has combined for 974 yards including 559 yards after the catch and 14 missed tackles forced. What keeps them from being any higher is their team drop rate of 11.3% and lack of contested catches but as a unit, buoyed by Robinson and Spielman's after-the-catch ability, are the eighth-ranked team by averaging 8.07 yards after the catch per reception.
41. Temple Owls
The Temple passing attack has been a truly fun brand of football to watch in 2019. Save for their drops (15.0%, 111th), this team can beat defenses in a variety of ways. Branden Mack is a large-bodied receiver who has no issue in grabbing contested catches over the defender, leading the nation with 16 contested catches this year. Isaiah Wright is a do-it-all receiver whose shiftiness has him gaining 249 of his 411 yards after the catch while Jadan Blue is a big-play threat to take it to the house at any moment. Blue's 295 yards after the catch rank as the 26th-most in the country. Certainly helped out by Mack's contested-catch skills, the Owls rank 17th in the country with a contested-catch rate of 54.2% this year.
40. Arizona State Sun Devils
If you were to throw out their contest against Utah, this passing attack would still be among the conference's best as the Sun Devils caught fire before meeting the Utes a few weeks back. Brandon Aiyuk is as dominant an after-the-catch threat that there is this season and he's currently second among all FBS receivers with 508 yards after the catch. He's averaging 13.4 yards after the catch per reception and has forced 12 missed tackles on his receptions. WRs Frank Darby and Kyle Williams have added a combined 30 conversions through the air as well and star RB Eno Benjamin has gained 200 yards after the catch to go with two scores and seven first-down receptions. They rank seventh in the country by averaging 8.26 yards after the catch per reception this year as a unit.
39. Ball State Cardinals
The passing attack with Drew Plitt at quarterback for the Cardinals has been a fun team to watch and star receiver Justin Hall is certainly seeing the benefits of such. Hall leads the team in receiving grade and missed tackles forced as well as yards after the catch and receptions. Riley Miller has the slight edge in receiving yards at 457 and five touchdowns as he's the go-to red-zone threat but they're not the only two seeing the fruits of Plitt's labor. Yo'Heinz Tyler and Antwan Davis each have had a safe set of hands and have gone for over 300 yards in the air and three scores while RB Walter Fletcher has chipped in with 178 yards after the catch and seven broken tackles. They rank 16th with a drop rate of just 5.7% in the country and even have come down with the 25th-best contested catch rate this season.
38. Tulane Green Wave
Call it the Jalen McCleskey Effect as the Green Wave pass-catchers have all seen an uptick in grade this year. RB Amare Jones leads the group in receiving grade as he's turned 25 catches into 274 yards, 230 of which have come after the catch and a score with 11 more first downs. Darnell Mooney is the team's leader with 509 yards and five scores as he's also broken seven tackles after the catch. McCleskey is among the nation's best in terms of limiting drops, seeing all 25 of his catchable targets in without a drop this year. The Green Wave pass-catchers are averaging 13.78 yards per reception, ranking 24th in the country and thanks to McCleskey's ball skills, have come down with a 54.8% contested catch rate, ranking 14th in the nation.
37. Georgia Bulldogs
One of the better pro-producing receiver schools in the past few years, Georgia has reloaded more often than not and 2019 is seemingly the same. While there is no real star at the moment, the potential has shown through as WR Dominick Blaylock is averaging 15.4 yards after the catch per reception and George Pickens has deemed himself ‘George Big-Time Catch Pickens' at this stage with his ability to bring in the highlight-reel catches. Lawrence Cager and Demetris Robertson are tied for the team-lead with three scores while Pickens has picked up a first down or touchdown on 18 of his 23 catches. This is a promising unit with no true standout from a grading standpoint but no real player struggling.
36. North Carolina Tar Heels
With multiple big plays to their credit, the Tar Heels receivers have kept them in games in certain situations as Dazz Newsome and Dyami Brown have formed one of the ACC's best 1-2 combinations in 2019. Newsome is leading the way with 582 yards and six touchdowns while his 11 missed tackles forced are tied for 17th-most in the country. Brown is second with 477 yards through the air and five touchdowns while limiting drops should be high on their priority list this and next year. Brown and Newsome have combined for 13 drops this year while the team has fielded a drop rate of 12.9%, ranking 96th in the country. Their slot at 36th is safe for now, but if they want to avoid a slip-up, and win some games this year, they'll have to tighten that up.
35. Air Force Falcons
The highest-ranked of the non-pass-first teams, the Falcons have been utterly unstoppable when they do take to the air. Geraud Sanders has hauled in 20 catches for 479 yards and four scores while Benjamin Waters has ripped off 11 catches for 316 yards and two scores. Waters has gained 159 yards after the catch and broken three tackles while the Air Force pass-catchers average the highest yards per receptions and yards per route run this year. Granted on a small sample size, hence their spot on this list, but when they do take to the air, they're a unit to be fearful of.
34. Oregon State Beavers
Being carried heavily by one player, the Beavers' No. 1 WR in Isaiah Hodgins is one of the nation's best at the position. Hodgins has caught 56 balls this year against just one drop and has secured 738 yards, 10 touchdowns and 35 more first downs. He's third in touchdowns but first in the country in total receiving conversions at 45. He's been relatively unstoppable and even against Utah when the Utes shut down the Oregon State offense, he still caught eight passes for 77 yards and four first downs. He's had a touchdown catch in every other game and even though the opposing defense knows he's their star, only Utah has been able to slow him down. RB Artavis Pierce has plus grades as does Champ Flemings but this is a unit being carried, in more ways than one, by Hodgins and his success in 2019.
33. North Texas Mean Green
Losing Rico Bussey has been a real harm to the Mean Green's 2019 season but they have seen the emergence of Jaelon Darden and Michael Lawrence out wide. Darden leads them in every major category including targets (74), receptions (53), yards (579), touchdowns (8) and combined receiving conversions (26). He's racked up an impressive 382 yards after the catch while Lawrence himself has not the touchdown totals at just two but he does have 23 other first-down catches. TE Jason Pirtle has been efficient in the red zone and Jyaire Shorter is fresh off a three-touchdown performance in the loss to Charlotte proving they may have more than just Darden and Lawrence standing out. They currently rank in the top 40 in yards per route run, passer rating and yards after the catch per reception as a unit.
32. Liberty Flames
The Flams are clearly led by one of the nation's top receivers in Antonio Gandy-Golden as the big-play receiver is currently on pace to top even his career-high grade from last year. He's hauled in 48 receptions against just one drop and has 940 yards, six touchdowns, 32 first-down catches and 346 yards after the catch. He's a tackle-breaking machine, forcing 10 missed tackles this season and has put forth national-recognized games with some highlight-reel moments that have caught on. Outside of AGG, DJ Stubbs and Kevin Shaa have also had a solid season and have each caught 23 passes for 280+ yards and two scores. Avoiding drops and making contested catches opposite Gandy-Golden would be crucial to see their rise here but at this point, AGG has lifted them as much as he can.
31. Western Michigan Broncos
For a team who lost arguably their brightest star in WR Jayden Reed to transfer and D'Wayne Eskridge to a position switch to cornerback, the Broncos pass-catching prowess has been a revelation this year. Eskridge has still caught three passes for 73 yards, showing he's still got it, but he's not factored in here. TE Giovanni Ricci has been the team's top playmaker while WR Skyy Moore has ripped off 433 yards on 32 catches. Ricci himself leads the team in catches, yards, touchdowns and first-down receptions while Moore leads with 10 broken tackles. They're a talented group and have four full-time pass-catchers with receiving grades higher than 66.2. For such inexperience, as a team, they rank 15th with a drop rate of just 5.6% this year as well.
30. Texas Tech Red Raiders
With a bevy of targets in the Air Raid offense, the chance to grade well is clearly very apparent. Conversely, the chance to grade poorly is also much more prevalent. That being said, the Texas Tech receivers have all graded very well this season including WR T.J Vasher and his team-leading six touchdowns, 482 yards and 38 receptions. They're a sure-handed group and have dropped just 5.0% of the catchable targets their way, the seventh-best rate in the country. They're being found in space and average 6.39 yards after the catch per reception, 38th in the country. SaRodorick Thompson and Armand Shyne have been very good in the passing game as well and each has gained at least 100 yards after the catch this season.
29. Arkansas State Red Wolves
Omar Bayless is leading the country with a whopping 1,073 yards through the air and 12 touchdowns as he's been a dominant player week in and week out for the Red Wolves. Despite the massive amount of targets already, he's still grading out as an elite-level receiver with an 86.8 receiving grade this season and just four drops on 64 catchable passes. Opposite Bayless has been Kirk Merritt and Jonathan Adams Jr. who each have 463 yards themselves this season. Merritt has seven touchdowns on his 40 receptions while Adams has just two but holds the clear advantage with 21 first-down receptions. As a team, they've dropped just 7.0% of their catchable targets, ranking 27th in the country.
28. Michigan Wolverines
Perhaps disheartening at their place here, the Wolverines receiving corps has largely disappointed according to their preseason hype in 2019. With Donovan Peoples-Jones, Nico Collins and Tarik Black considered by some as the best trio of receivers in the country before any games were played, only DPJ has put forth a receiving grade above 70.0 while Black has dropped three of 21 catchable passes and is averaging just 2.5 yards after the catch per reception. That being said, they're still a dominant group of pass-catchers as DPJ, Collins and new star Ronnie Bell have more than made up for Black's struggles. They have five players with at least 10 receiving conversions and Bell leads the charge with 19, even if he doesn't have a touchdown this year, much to the chagrin of the Wolverines faithful. They'll likely need to limit the drops as a team if they want to slide up these rankings but they do have the star power to make moves, that is without question.
27. Oklahoma State Cowboys
The Cowboys currently possess one of the nation's best receivers in Tylan Wallace, fresh off one of the more dominant catch-and-runs of the season when he bowled over three Iowa State defenders and then stiff-armed two more en route to a long touchdown catch in the win over the Cyclones. Wallace has ripped off 903 yards on 53 receptions for eight scores and another 25 first-down catches. He's broken 13 tackles after the catch and created open lanes for the majority of Oklahoma State's other pass-catchers as he draws a double team or at least help in the secondary on every play. WRs Braydon Jackson, Jordan McCray and Landon Wolf each have receiving grades above average but Wallace, rightfully so, draws all the praise for their spot here.
26. Hawaii Warriors
The Run ‘N Gun offense that the Warriors have played this season has been an exhilarating brand of football and four different receivers have seen at least 50 passes come their way in 2019. The high volume of targets has been shared by Cedric Byrd, Jared Smart, Jason-Matthew Sharsh and JoJo Ward as Byrd leads them all in grade. Byrd has caught 59 balls for 689 yards and nine scores to go with another 27 first-down receptions. Smart has been the true after-the-catch threat needed as he's gained 234 yards after the catch and broken 11 tackles. Together, the Hawaii receiving corps are gaining an average of 7.27 yards per route run despite a whopping 345 passing targets, and that YPRR ranks 30th nationally.
25. Texas A&M Aggies
Kellen Mond has had his fair share of talented receivers to throw to in breakout performances in 2019 as seemingly every other week it's a new player having their moment to shine. This past week it was Kendrick Rogers who bounced off tacklers and scored an impressive touchdown while Ainias Smith, Quartney Davis and Jhamon Ausbon each have scored at least three touchdowns. Davis may be the shiftiest of the whole lot as he's gained 441 yards and 165 yards after the catch leads the team. He's broken seven tackles, as has Rogers, and as a unit, they have also brought in 50.0% of the contested targets thrown their way, good enough for 29th in the nation. Can't go without mentioning the impact that Jalen Wydermyer has had on the offense as 11 of his 15 catches have been for either a first down (6) or a touchdown (5).
24. Ohio State Buckeyes
While they lack the big-name player like Parris Campbell, Michael Thomas or any slew of the others that are now suiting up for an NFL roster, the Ohio State pass-catchers have received solid performances from Chris Olave, Binjimen Victor and Austin Mack this season. K.J. Hill, arguably their No. 1 entering the year, has largely been contained and has gained just 116 yards after the catch after gaining 539 such yards last season. Still, this team has the 11th-best contested catch rate at 56.5%, the 28th-highest yards per route run average and the 30th-ranked drop rate at just 7.5%. They're a complete team from top to bottom and with the nation's best player on the other side of the field and two Heisman candidates at quarterback and in the backfield, they haven't had to be relied upon as heavily as they were with Dwayne Haskins at quarterback a season ago.
23. Colorado Buffaloes
As good a receiver in all of college football, the notable absence when Laviska Shenault is hobbled or not in the lineup is evident for Colorado this season. Shenault leads the team in overall grade and has caught 34 passes for 514 yards, three touchdowns, 20 first-down receptions and a team-high 280 yards after the catch. He's broken 11 tackles and sports just one drop on the 35 catchable targets his way. In his absence, QB Steven Montez has looked to Tony Brown and K.D. Nixon, with great success. Brown leads the team with four receiving touchdowns while Nixon is tied with Shenault with three. Brown is averaging 13.0 yards per catch while Nixon is currently at 15.0 as they've each possessed strong hands at the catch point and great outlets for Montez. As a team, they rank 22nd in drop rate, dropping just 6.5% of the catchable passes their way this year.
22. Penn State Nittany Lions
While they've received some above-average grades from a cast of receivers this year, the Nittany Lions offense essentially runs through star wideout KJ Hamler. He's hauled in 37 receptions this season for 620 yards and gained 265 of those after the catch. He's averaging a whopping 16.8 yards per catch and has moved the chains on an additional 17 receptions. He's a talented guy who can beat any defender in front of him in the slot and he's proven that time and time again. TE Pat Freiermuth is second on the team in just about every major receiving category and is fresh off a three-touchdown performance against Michigan State last week. Buoyed by Hamler, Penn State is averaging 7.54 yards after the catch per reception, ranking 13th in the country.
21. Texas Longhorns
The Longhorns have gone as QB Sam Ehlinger has gone this year but one thing is for sure, his cast of pass-catchers have certainly not disappointed. Devin Duvernay has just one drop on 70 catchable targets his way, his first drop since 2017, as he's scored seven touchdowns and recorded 35 more first-down receptions, stepping up big time in the absence of Collin Johnson. The aforementioned Johnson has been limited to just five games but still has 383 yards and 22 conversions and has one of the better non-catches this season when he dragged his foot perfectly on a well-overthrown football only to be negated by a penalty. Jake Smith has proven why he was so highly recruited and Brennan Eagles has made several ‘how-did-he-do-that' moments that give hope for life after CJ next season.
20. Colorado State Rams
An efficient bunch in Fort Collins, the Rams have four full-time pass-catchers with well-above-average grades as Warren Jackson leads them all with 49 receptions, six touchdowns, 719 yards and 26 first-down receptions. He's dropped just two of the 51 catchable targets his way and has an elite 86.0 receiving grade to his credit. Right behind him in all those categories is the true freshman sensation Dante Wright, who outside of a fumble lost, has been absolutely dominant. He's racked up 42 receptions for 602 yards and 427 yards after the catch. He's averaging 10.2 yards after the catch per reception, a top-10 figure among all the nation's qualified pass-catchers. Nate Craig-Myers and Trey McBride also in the fold, this Rams group ranks 18th in both yards after the catch per reception and yards per route run as they've proven to be able to win games for Colorado State.
19. Washington Huskies
Trapped in a tight end's body, Hunter Bryant is basically a wide receiver, and he's proven that once again for the Huskies as he's very clearly their highest-graded receiving threat for Jacob Eason. He's caught 30 balls for 452 yards and leads the team with 241 yards after the catch. Aaron Fuller has made big-time catch after big-time catch and is averaging 14.0 yards per reception with 20 first downs and five touchdowns to his credit. As a team, they have four full-time receivers with above-average receiving grades and rank 11th in the country by averaging 7.89 yards per route run in 2019.
18. Baylor Bears
Undefeated heading into Week 10, the Bears have received terrific play from six different receivers who have been targeted at least 10 times. They utilize their talented running backs in the passing game very well and Trestan Ebner and JaMycal Hasty each have gained 100+ yards through the air and have combined for seven broken tackles and 10 receiving conversions. Denzel Mims is in contention for the best player on the field whenever he steps on the gridiron and his big-time catch (whether he got his foot in or not) in the game-tying drive against Texas Tech is up there for Catch of the Year nominations. Mims has 519 yards, five scores and 22 more first-down receptions as he's been a strong threat that could have even pushed the Bears higher on this list if it weren't for his five drops.
17. Florida Gators
The nation likely gets back one of the better playmakers when Kadarius Toney returns to the Gators in Week 10 against Georgia but his teammates have certainly made up for his loss in the weeks since he left. Kyle Pitts is one of the highest-graded tight ends in the conference and Freddie Swain, Van Jefferson, Josh Hammond, Tremon Grimes and Tyrie Cleveland have each been targeted at least 18 times and have receiving grades above 63.2. They're not really the team to ‘wow' spectators but they've churned out 112 receiving conversions on 185 receptions while limiting themselves to a top-25 drop rate (6.9%).
16. Indiana Hoosiers
Whop Philyor is the headliner in this group, leading the team with 56 catches, 720 yards, 384 yards after the catch and a combined 30 first-down and touchdown receptions. Philyor has broken 13 tackles after the catch and is no stranger to the big-time catch. TE Peyton Hendershot and RB Stevie Scott have proven very valuable in the passing game as well and Nick Westbrook is back to health, and leading the team with four touchdowns. As a team, they rank 20th in yards per route run (7.51), 28th in yards after the catch per reception (6.67) and 24th in passer rating when targeted (111.2). Donavan Hale, Ty Fryfogle and Miles Marshall round out a truly deep and effective group of pass-catchers for Michael Penix and/or Peyton Ramsey to throw to.
15. Oregon Ducks
The Ducks were dealt a huge blow when TE Jacob Breeland went out with an injury after six games in the lineup. He finished the year as the team's top receiver with an elite 87.6 receiving grade and outside of him, the Ducks are still receiving plus-grades from seven players who have seen double-digit targets. Jaylon Reed is the team's leader in touchdowns with seven as he also leads the team with 254 yards after the catch. Johnny Johnson III has been the go-to receiver when Justin Herbert needs a first down as he's converted 21 of his 31 receptions into a first down or touchdown. Their running backs are also contributing very strongly and as a unit, they see the nation's 10th-highest passer rating when targeting the skill players.
14. Southern Miss Golden Eagles
The Golden Eagles have one of the nation's top playmakers in Quez Watkins as he's currently averaging 21.8 yards per catch and has gained 360 yards after the catch, averaging a ridiculous 11.3 YAC/rec. They have a deep unit of pass-catchers with three players currently owning at least 22 receiving conversions. Tim Jones and Jaylond Adams have each contributed 22 conversions while Jordan Mitchell has scored three touchdowns on 22 catches and the Southern Miss pass-catchers are gaining an average of 8.6 yards after the catch per reception (fourth). As effective as you'd imagine, they are gaining 8.98 yards per route run to rank seventh nationally.
13. Louisville Cardinals
In a true emergence story for the ages, the Cardinals have seemingly risen from the ashes of the 2018 season to become a real threat in the ACC in just a span of 12 months. They have their receiving corps to thank for their uptick as Tutu Atwell is dominating the competition. Atwell currently has hauled in 668 yards on 41 receptions including 418 yards after the catch and 28 receiving conversion. The strong duo of Dez Fitzpatrick and Seth Dawkins have also impressed, gaining 481 and 283 receiving yards, respectively. Fitzpatrick has brought in five scores and 15 more first downs while the Cardinals rank fifth nationally by averaging 16.98 yards per reception as a team. They've converted 74 of their total 107 receptions into a first down or touchdown in a great season to date.
12. Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Perhaps the nation's top contested-catch unit, the Demon Deacons have two players in the top five in terms of contested catches in both Sage Surratt and Scotty Washington who have caught 13 and 12 contested targets their way, respectively. As a team, they've brought down 55.9% of their contested targets this year, ranking 12th in the nation while they're currently 16th in yards per route run, 19th in passer rating and ninth overall in receiving grade. Washington has started to limit the drops on his targets and has seen a huge benefit from it, ranking second to Surratt in every major category. Surratt is the team's highest-graded receiver as he's brought down 886 yards on 52 catches for nine touchdowns and 28 more first downs. Quarterback-turned-receiver Kendall Hinton has hauled in 37-of-47 passes thrown his way without a drop and churned out 20 first-down catches to go with his score from earlier in the season. The Demon Deacons still pose a threat to Clemson in their mid-November matchup if they can continue to get plus-play like this from their receivers.
11. Memphis Tigers
Memphis has been able to produce some elite-level receivers over the years but this team in 2019 is something different. While Anthony Miller dominated action a few years back, the 2019 iteration of the Tigers pass-catchers are a diverse group that includes Kenneth Gainwell out of the backfield leading the charge in terms of receiving grade. Gainwell has hauled in 34 catches for 440 yards and three scores while moving the sticks on 15 more catches. TE Joey Magnifico has lived up to his last name, catching 16 passes without a drop for 305 yards and two scores while their big-play threats on the outside have done similar. As a team, they rank 13th with a drop rate of just 5.6% and their star-studded receivers led by Damonte Coxie have been efficient through the air. Coxie leads the team with 540 yards, three scores, 23 first-down catches while averaging 14.6 yards per catch. Altogether, the Tigers rank fourth nationally with a yards per route run figure approaching double-digits (9.24).
10. Iowa State Cyclones
The Cyclones suffered from a tough defeat in their latest outing but their cast of pass-catchers have been dominant all season when Brock Purdy can get them the ball accurately. As a unit, they rank 10th with a drop rate of just 5.2%, 14th with a yards per route run average of 7.77 and seventh in receiving grade. Charlie Kolar leads them in grade as he's caught 34 balls for 486 yards and five scores while Deshaunte Jones is a threat with the ball in his hands, gaining 395 yards after the catch. Jones may not have the touchdown totals as some other No. 1 WRs in the country but he does have 29 first-down catches to lead his team. La'Michael Pettway has been a welcome addition and the running backs have also added great value out of the backfield, most notably the next in line of terrific running backs from head coach Matt Campbell — Breece Hall.
9. UCF Knights
The Knights are led by one of the nation's top receivers in Gabriel Davis and after a shaky start from the entire UCF team (and a hiccup in the middle of the season), they've righted the ship and are back in contention for the AAC title game. Davis is third in the country nationally in yards (916) and touchdowns (10) as he's dominated on the vertical route tree on throws from Dillon Gabriel. The Gabriel-to-Gabriel connection has churned out 26 more first downs as well and still, while looking elsewhere, they've seen similar success. Tre Nixon, Marlon Williams, Otis Anderson, Adrian Killins and Jacob Harris all have plus-grades this season and as a unit, the Knights rank top 16th in yards per catch (16.39, 6th), YAC/rec (7.41, 16th), YPRR (9.04, 6th) and passer rating when targeted (119.8, 12th).
8. USC Trojans
As talented a trio as there is in college football, the Trojans possess three viable No. 1 WR options in Michael Pittman Jr., Tyler Vaughns and Amon-Ra St. Brown. Pittman leads the trio — and the team — in receiving grade as he's limited himself to just one drop on 51 catchable passes, hauling in 755 yards, seven scores and 282 yards after the catch. Vaughns has 50 receptions just the same as Pittman and despite fewer yards than his teammate, has 36 total receiving conversions to lead the team. St. Brown has started to come along late in the 2019 season and has 40 catches for 432 yards and broken eight tackles in the process. Taking the talented trio into the fold and adding the rest of the USC pass-catchers as a whole, they're averaging 7.54 yards per route run to rank 18th and have limited themselves to a drop rate of just 6.4%, the 21st-best rate in the country.
7. SMU Mustangs
The loss of Reggie Roberson keeps them from cracking the top five on this list but that's mere peanuts as they're by far the best receiving corps in the Group of 5 and more than worthy of mention among the nation's best. James Proche takes all the highlights here as he's come down with 60 catches against just one drop for 688 yards, nine touchdowns and 23 more first-down receptions. His big-time catch as the game-winner against Tulsa is up there for Catch of the Year while Roberson has dominated in his own regard. Roberson leads the team with 803 yards on just 43 receptions, averaging a ridiculous 18.7 yards per catch and seeing a 134.9 passer rating when targeted. His value in the lineup is pivotal and Proche will have to step up if he misses any time as he may miss Week 10's matchup against Memphis. Outside of Proche and Roberson, four other pass-catchers with double-digit targets have above-average grades and TE Kylen Granson is fresh off his best performance to date in Week 9.
6. Clemson Tigers
The first of the big dogs to land, the duo of Justin Ross and Tee Higgins may be the country's top 1-2 punch, and it may not even be close. Ross has caught a team-high 32 balls for 394 yards as he's faltered a bit from a season ago but Higgins has more than made up for that with his play, ripping off 27 catches for 588 yards and an astounding 21.8 yards per catch. They've combined for 39 receiving conversions on just 59 receptions while the Tigers as a unit rank top 20 in yards after the catch per reception and in contested catch percentage. They're not as deep as they have been in recent history but with Higgins and Ross at the top, plus-play from RB Travis Etienne and great grades from Joe Ngata and Amari Rodgers outside, they have more than enough horses to help QB Trevor Lawrence run the table the rest of the season.
5. Washington State Cougars
The nation's leader in total pass attempts, the Cougars have surprisingly just 12 players who have shared 392 targeted passes this year. Eight different players have seen at least 22 passes come their way and all eight of those players have reeled in at least 260 yards and a touchdown along with over 145 yards after the catch and double-digit receiving conversions. Easop Winston Jr. is the cream of the crop for the Cougars, leading the way with 50 receptions for 606 yards and nine touchdowns while Brandon Arconado has come on strong for Washington State this year. Arconado has 26 first-down receptions to go with his four touchdowns while he's averaging a team-best 15.2 yards per catch. Perhaps the most underrated running back in the country, Max Borghi technically has 44 receptions for 398 yards and 488 yards after the catch as they feature him heavily in a run-pass type of throw from Anthony Gordon with great success. They rank 11th in passer rating and 13th in yards per route run as a team, and adding in the caveat that they've been targeted as much as they have, it paints a picture of just how effective they have been all season long despite what their record may say.
4. Minnesota Golden Gophers
There's a big reason why the Gophers are heading into their Week 10 bye with an undefeated record and the success of their pass-catching unit is certainly a part of that big reason. In contention for best receiver trio in the nation, Rashod Bateman, Tyler Johnson and Chris Autman-Bell have dominated the competition this season. Bateman leads the way with 644 yards on his 31 receptions, averaging a massive 20.8 yards per catch and 28 receiving conversions. Tyler Johnson has come on slow as opposing defenses know he's the best player on the field but still has put forth 44 receptions for 625 yards and seven scores. Autman-Bell has secured just 17 passes but churned those into 288 yards, four scores and 10 more first-down receptions. In total, the Gophers receiving corps with their talented trio and the rest of the pass-catchers have combined to average 8.91 yards per route run (9th), 15.64 yards per reception (8th), 129.5 passer rating when targeted (6th) and haul in 58.1% of the contested targets their way (6th). Good luck trying to stop that efficiency.
3. Oklahoma Sooners
The Sooners are grading extremely high in our PFF receiving facet and a lot of that praise rightfully goes to all-everything WR Ceedee Lamb. Lamb leads the team in every major category and is second in the nation with 11 touchdowns. He's racked up 26 conversions on his 36 receptions and an impressive 427 yards after the catch, averaging 11.9 YAC/rec. He's broken 14 tackles after the catch and has been downright dominant and unstoppable at times. Jadon Haselwood and Charleston Rambo each have near-elite grades as well while Haselwood leads that young duo in receiving grade but Rambo has converted 18 of his 25 receptions into either a first down or a touchdown. They've got plus-play from just about every eligible pass-catcher this season and as a team, they average 10.66 yards per route run to rank second nationally while dropping only 2.6% of their catchable passes to also rank second in the country.
2. LSU Tigers
Ending the argument of best WR trio in the country, LSU narrowly edges out the Minnesota trio with their star-studded group of Justin Jefferson, Ja'Marr Chase and Terrace Marshall Jr., each who have or are approaching elite receiving grades. Chase has been solid at every level of the field, Marshall was welcomed back to the lineup with a touchdown and Jefferson finds himself on our Heisman finalist list. Jefferson is currently third nationally with 23 explosive plays of at least 15 yards and together, the trio has combined to haul in 89 receiving conversions on their 120 catches. Chase and Jefferson are each averaging over 6.4 yards after the catch per reception while Marshall has seven explosive plays himself on just 22 receptions. LSU ranks in the top five in receiving grade, contested catch rate, yards per route run and passer rating in truly a season to remember so far in 2019.
1. Alabama Crimson Tide
This one likely wasn't even a question this year as the Crimson Tide have more than proven believers right through nine weeks. Those who called them the best group of receivers ahead of the 2019 season have been found not wondering only if they were right, but perhaps if this is the best group of receivers ever put forth in a college football season. Jerry Jeudy, DeVonta Smith, Jaylen Waddle, Henry Ruggs III, the running back duo of Najee Harris and Brian Robinson have all finished the first nine weeks of action with at least a receiving grade of 71.5. They've gained 1,779 yards after the catch this year and their average of 9.36 yards after the catch per reception is by far the top mark in the country. They are gaining 9.59 yards for every snap they're in a passing pattern and the four receivers each rank in the top sixth among all the nation's receivers in terms of total yards after the catch. In fact, Ruggs, Jeudy and Smith each crack the top 22 receivers in yards after the catch as Ruggs' 312 sits at 22nd, Jeudy's 379 sits at 13th and Smith's 502 are the third-most. They routinely take a short slant or in-breaking route the distance and are the most dominant group of pass-catchers we've ever seen at PFF.