In a league that often features power running during a season that was expected to be lacking in outstanding quarterback play, the wide receiver position may have been a position that would have easily been overlooked throughout the Big Ten this season. In actuality, however, the wide receiver position has been a joy to watch in 2013.
In its maiden season, the trophy for the Big Ten’s top wide receiver was awarded to Iowa Hawkeyes‘ Marvin McNutt. Last year, coach Bill O’Brien had his first Penn State Nittany Lions player win an individual honor as Allen Robinson was the recipient.
Robinson once again received the award this year. He was one of four players to repeat as individual award winners this season. To retain possession of the trophy, Robinson was challenged by talented individuals from around the league. His connection with Big Ten Rookie of the Year and Thompson-Randle El Freshman of the Year trophy winner Christian Hackenburg led the Lions to a very productive season.
One of the individuals who challenged Robinson for the award this year was Wisconsin Badgers‘ Jared Abbrederis. The Badgers wide receiver helped to carry their passing attack all season. They are usually a run-oriented team, but when they looked to move the ball through the air, they most frequently looked in the direction of Abbrederis. As a pass catcher, Abbrederis has great size, route-running abilities, and hands that are as good as any in the league this season.
Another wide receiver who had an outstanding season this year was Indiana Hoosiers‘ Cody Latimer. Latimer was a constant for the Hoosiers, who rotated quarterbacks at times but had a pretty productive offense overall. He was a member of one of the top receiving groups in the league this season.
Also Ohio State‘s Corey Brown had a very good season for the top team in the Big Ten this year. It helped him that he had the league’s top quarterback and running back to help divert the opposition’s defensive concentration away from him. That said, Brown has great pass catching skills and is extremely athletic. This combination makes him a very dangerous wide receiver to attempt to cover with one man alone.
The final receiver to garner realistic consideration for the award was Michigan‘s Jeremy Gallon. Gallon, along with tight end Devin Funchess, were primary targets for quarterback Devin Gardner. He did not have the breakout season that head coach Brady Hoke had hoped for, which could have contributed to diminished production for Gallon.
A disappointment at wide receiver in the Big Ten this season was the overall performance of the Nebraska Cornhuskers. This season should have seen one of the best receiving squads in recent Huskers history featuring Kenny Bell, Jamal Turner, and Quincy Enunwa. However, injuries to both wide receivers and their quarterback Taylor Martinez led to a letdown.
At one point, all three of these individuals had realistic aspirations of playing beyond their days in Lincoln, but unfortunately that dream may not be as realistic after their disappointing 2013 season. Bell was a second team All-Big Ten selection last year, but it was Enunwa who stepped up the most of the trio this season.