There will be heavy turnover at the wide receiver position in the SEC as many of the top wideouts in the conference jumped to the NFL. This makes the All-Conference decision a little harder for this position group. But in the end production is what matters, which is why I went with Sammie Coates of the Auburn Tigers and Jameon Lewis of the Mississippi State Bulldogs.
Coates showed his big play ability many times a year ago during Auburn’s improbable run to the national championship. In a heavily run based system, he was able to put up almost 1,000 yards. His explosiveness was undoubtedly an aid to the Tigers’ dominant run attack as he kept defenses on their heels.
He averaged 21.5 yards per reception last season, and there’s no reason why he can’t repeat that in 2014. He should be primed for another great season with Nick Marshall returning at quarterback.
Lewis found his way to a top five finish in receptions a season ago and was the sixth leading receiver in yardage. That was while catching passes from three different quarterbacks throughout the season. With Dak Prescott settled in as the starter look for Lewis to take his game to the next level.
He’s not a big guy, but he has good speed and plays well in space. With the five guys who finished ahead of him a season ago gone, he has a chance to be the leading receiver in the conference. That motivation could push Lewis to a 1,000-yard season this year.
There are plenty of talented players deserving of consideration at the WR position, from Amari Cooper of the Alabama Crimson Tide, to Malcolm Mitchell of the Georgia Bulldogs and Malcome Kennedy of the Texas A&M Aggies. These are great players, but for various reasons they didn’t produce as much as Coates and Lewis.
One thing is for certain; someone will lead the SEC in receiving. Who that will be by seasons end is anyone’s guess, and all of these guys have the potential to be No. 1. But based on production from a year ago, the two most deserving of All-SEC notoriety and the favorites going into 2014 are definitely Coates and Lewis.