It’s no secret that the Big Ten lost a lot of talented receivers. Just how much, you ask? All seven of last year’s receiving yards leaders are gone, to be exact, and only two (Devin Funchess and Christian Jones) of the top 10 return. Who will lead the Big Ten this year? See Tom Dienhart, Sean Merriman and Brent Yarina’s picks.
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2013 leader: Allen Robinson, Penn State – 1,432
2014 returning leader: Devin Funchess, Michigan – 748
Tom Dienhart: Christian Jones, Northwestern. With Kain Colter gone, the NU offense figures to lean toward the aerial game. And Christian Jones will be one of the several beneficiaries of having Trevor Siemian at the controls. He nabbed 54 passes for 668 yards in 2013, and those numbers should receive a significant boost.
Sean Merriman: Stefon Diggs, Maryland. This guy is hands-down the most explosive receiver in the Big Ten. Now, the question becomes, can he stay healthy after catching 37 passes for 587 yards in just seven games last season. If you take those numbers and project them over a full season, that’s around 70 catches for 1,100 yards. That has to lead the Big Ten, right? I spoke to several of Diggs’ teammates at Big Ten media days, and they compared him to DeSean Jackson and Percy Harvin. He truly is a human-highlight film.
Brent Yarina: Shane Wynn, Indiana. Consider this: Wynn had 633 yards, on 46 receptions, last year, and that was with Cody Latimer, Kofi Hughes and Ted Bolser all around, a trio that combined for 2,155 receiving yards. That’s a lot of production Indiana’s pass-heavy offense must replace, and Wynn is the guy who figures to be the biggest beneficiary.