When former LSU star Odell Beckham Jr. went one-handed into the end zone against the Dallas Cowboys, the perception of SEC wide receivers in the public consciousness shifted dramatically.
While air raid offenses provide more touches, power SEC offenses are still the standard for preparing talent for the NFL. Now, receivers are lining up to get attention from top programs.
It may appear that the top five committed prospects are somewhat underwhelming, but keep them in context. At this point, only two of the top 10 receiver prospects are committed to a school.
*Note: All rankings are from the 247 Composite rankings.
Jhamon Ausbon, LSU
Overall ranking: 67
National WR ranking: 11
The skinny: After a lengthy commitment to Baylor, consensus 4-star WR Jhamon Ausbon flipped his commitment to LSU a few months after transferring to IMG Academy.
What makes Ausbon exceptionally special is his size and strength at the position. Listed at 6-foot-3 and 217 pounds, Ausbon towers over opposing defenders. His ability in traffic has led him to over a dozen major college offers, including seven SEC schools.
Depth chart: LSU always has talent at the skill positions, and heading forward, this is no different. Sophomore WR Tyron Johnson was a 5-star prospect when he got to school, while Malachi Dupre could have a season of overlap.
However, Ausbon is the kind of physical talent who could contribute sooner rather than later.
D.D. Bowie, Ole Miss
Overall ranking: 75
National WR ranking: 12
The skinny: D.D. Bowie committed to Alabama as a sophomore, but decommitted just four months later after getting attention from a home state program, Ole Miss. According to MaxPreps, Bowie has accumulated 4,149 all-purpose yards and 34 total touchdowns in three seasons playing both wide receiver and running back for Morton (Miss.).
Bowie is listed at 6-foot-1 and 170 pounds and is one of the quicker prospects in this class. If he can gain some weight in the next few years, he will develop a rare combination of size, speed and length at the position.
Depth chart: Ole Miss has a plethora of talented playmakers on the roster, including super-elite wide receiver Damarkus Lodge and 4-star 2016 recruit A.J Brown. All of these playmakers will only get magnified in the next few years, when top-ranking QB Shea Patterson takes over. Hugh Freeze runs an outstanding system for wide receivers, and Bowie should take full advantage.
Daquon Green, Florida
Overall ranking: 150
National WR ranking: 21
The skinny: At this point, Daquon Green is one of the most complete wide receiver recruits in the class of 2017. Listed at 6-foot-1 and 185 pounds, he has the strength and athleticism to make plays over opposing defensive backs. His 4.6 40-yard dash high school speed means he has upside to be a quick route-runner as well.
Throughout his three-year high school career, Green has caught 74 balls for 1,616 yards and 17 touchdowns. In his highlights, you can see opposing teams cover him heavily to prevent him from getting the ball. Green should explode once he isn’t the focus of the defense.
Depth chart: Florida has struggled to find a quarterback, but has talented wide receivers across the board. In last season’s recruiting class, No. 2 overall WR Tyrie Cleveland joined the Gators and will undoubtedly be a factor. But in a few seasons, Green will make his mark.
Mannie Netherly, LSU
Overall ranking: 223
National WR ranking: 29
The skinny: When Manny Netherly made his commitment last week, he gave LSU one of the most talented wide receiver combos in the nation. Netherly and Ausbon should terrorize opposing defenses for years to come.
Netherly combines 6-foot-2 size with blazing foot speed. In addition to playing wide receiver at Crosby (Texas), Netherly also returned kicks. This versatility has earned him over two dozen offers from top programs.
Depth chart: While Ausbon is physically ready to play at this point, Netherly might need to work on his body the first few years in Baton Rouge, La. While he is 6-foot-2, he is still a skinny 183 pounds. He will want to avoid excessive bulk to keep his frame wiry and fast, but Netherly still might need to add some lean muscle.
JaVonte Richardson, Kentucky
Overall ranking: 30
National WR ranking: 10
The skinny: Credit Mark Stoops, who continues to bring top-level talent like JaVonte Richardson to a sputtering Kentucky program. At this point, the 4-star wide receiver is ranked the top prospect in Kentucky’s 2017 recruiting class.
Listed at 6-foot-4 and 210 pounds, Richardson boasts an elite physical frame for a kid still a year away from college. If he holds onto his commitment, Richardson should quickly become a star in Lexington, Ky.
Depth chart: Get used to hearing “Drew Barker to JaVonte Richardson” on Saturdays. No Kentucky receiver exceeded 700 receiving yards last season, which provides an opening for Richardson to shine. Additionally, the Wildcats’ top four receivers are rising juniors, which means they will clear out quickly.