Top 10 SEC Wide Receivers/Tight Ends in 2017

Photo courtesy of Mickey Welsh — Montgomery Advertiser

SEC football is just days away. The Wheelhouse crew has compiled the top 10 players at each position within the SEC to help the days go by quicker.

Let’s take a peek at the top 10 wide receivers and tight ends in the SEC heading into 2017.

  1. Christian Kirk (Jr.), Wide Receiver, Texas A&M

The 2017 All-SEC first teamer has established himself as one of the most electric receivers in the conference and the country. Last year, Kirk tallied 928 receiving-yards and nine touchdowns to match his 1,000-yard freshman campaign. However, he isn’t just dangerous receiving. Kirk has solidified himself as one of the best returners in the country with over 400-yards and three touchdowns in 2016. He may have an inexperienced quarterback throwing him the football this season, but Kirk will still be dominant.

2. Calvin Ridley (Jr.), Wide Receiver, Alabama

Ridley has gotten off to a fantastic start in his career in Tuscaloosa. In two years, he has stacked up over 1,800 receiving-yards and 14 touchdowns. Considering the talent and depth that the Crimson Tide receiving room has had over the past two years, its impressive what Ridley has been able to do. The only thing that sets Ridley apart from Kirk is his performance in important games. Ridley seemed to disappear against SEC opponents and in big games last season.

3. J’Mon Moore (Sr.), Wide Receiver, Missouri

One of the most underappreciated players in the SEC is J’Mon Moore, who is just one of two receivers to log more than 1,000 yards in 2016. In his final three games of the season against Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Arkansas, he had a combined 407-yards and two touchdowns. Although the Tigers went a disappointing 4–8 in 2016, Moore was one of the bright spots on the team.

4. Deebo Samuel (Jr.), Wide Receiver, South Carolina

The 6-foot, 200-pound receiver proved in 2016 that he was not only one of the most dynamic players in the SEC, but in the nation. Samuel missed some games last year, but still managed to notch three games with over 100-yards last year. This included a 190-yard gashing of South Florida in the Birmingham Bowl. As a kick returner last year, Samuel had over 400-yards and averaged 27 yards-per-return.

5. Antonio Callaway (Jr.), Wide Receiver, Florida

Callaway has set himself apart as one of the most talented players in the SEC over the past couple of seasons. He has racked up nearly 1,400 receiving yards and seven touchdowns in two years, and that’s been with sub-par quarterback play. If the Gators manage to find some consistent quarterback play from either Malik Zaire or Feleipe Franks, Callaway could have yet another breakout season in 2017.

6. Donald Gray (Sr.), Wide Receiver, Mississippi State

As the backup receiver behind Fred Ross in 2016, Gray had 709-yards and five touchdowns. However, now the Bulldogs’ receiving corps is much less experienced and Gray will be one of the most consistent targets for quarterback Nick Fitzgerald. For Mississippi State, finding a solid №. 2 pass catcher behind Gray is necessary to take some pressure off both him and Fitzgerald.

7. Jauan Jennings (Jr.), Wide Receiver, Tennessee

2017 is the year that Jennings needs to step up for the Volunteers now that he has been thrusted into the №. 1 spot following the departure of Josh Malone. Last year, Jennings had 580 receiving-yards and seven touchdowns. He had his first game with over five receptions in the Music City Bowl last year against Nebraska. Jennings will need to step up as a leader for the receiving corps to help whichever starting quarterback Tennessee chooses.

8. Hayden Hurst (Jr.), Tight End, South Carolina

Hurst was one of the biggest playmakers in the SEC last season. He tallied 722-yards and one touchdown, including four 80-yard receiving games. Hurst was the second leading receiver on the Gamecocks in 2016 and meshed extremely well with true freshman standout quarterback Jake Bentley. Expect to see much more from Hurst this season since South Carolina struggles with depth at wide receiver.

9. A.J. Brown (So.), Wide Receiver, Ole Miss

The 6-foot-1, 225-pound Mississippi native is certain to have a solid year for the Rebels in 2017. Last season, Brown logged over 400-yards and two touchdowns as a true freshman. With former five-star quarterback Shea Patterson at quarterback for Ole Miss, Brown will likely receive the most targets this season. It is essentially an open battle for the №. 1 receiving spot, but expect Brown to come out on top.

10. Isaac Nauta (So.), Tight End, Georgia

Nauta was a highly recruited five-star tight end coming out of high school last year. In his freshman season for the Bulldogs, he racked up 361-yards and three touchdowns. With quarterback Jacob Eason and the lack of depth at receiver for Georgia, Nauta will be a game changer in 2017. Don’t be surprised if he finished within the top three in receiving for the red-and-black.

Honorable Mentions:

D.J. Chark, LSU

Garrett Johnson, Kentucky

Deandre Goolsby, Florida

Van Jefferson, Ole Miss