Some of the best wide receivers in NFL history were FCS-made.
The 2018 class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame — announced over Super Bowl LII weekend — cements that notion. Terrell Owens, who played collegiately at Chattanooga, and Randy Moss, an All-American at Marshall, are two of the inductees headed to Canton in August.
Owens ranks No. 2 in NFL history in receiving yards (15,934), third in touchdown receptions (153) and eighth in receptions (1,078). Moss is second in TD catches (156) and fourth in receiving yards (15,292).
At Chattanooga, Owens didn’t just dominate at wide receiver in the run-heavy Southern Conference. He also played for a Mocs basketball team that advanced to the NCAA Tournament and anchored the school’s 4x100 relay team at the NCAA track championships.
Moss was part of a 15-0 Marshall team that won the 1996 NCAA Division I-AA (now FCS) championship the year before the Thundering Herd moved up to Division I-A (now FBS).
Oh yes, there’s a certain wide receiver already in the Hall of Fame who’s providing space for the Owens and Moss busts in Canton.
Before Rice became football’s greatest wide receiver, he was a two-time FCS All-American at Mississippi Valley State. The three-time Super Bowl champ holds more than 100 NFL records, including the all-time marks in the three biggest receiving categories — receptions (1,549), receiving yards (22,895) and touchdown receptions (197) — as well as for the most touchdowns (208).
Of course, Cooper Kupp outdid them all on the FCS level. A four-time first-team All-American at Eastern Washington, his 428 receptions, 6,464 receiving yards and 73 touchdown catches are the most in the subdivision's history. And he’s off to a pretty good start in the NFL, catching 62 passes for 869 yards and five touchdowns as a rookie this past season.
— Written by Craig Haley, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Haley has covered the FCS level since 1999 and is the national writer for www.fcs.football. He appears frequently on radio shows and podcasts to discuss everything FCS. Follow him on Twitter @CraigHaley.
(Photo courtesy UT Chattanooga Athletics)