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College Football's Top 25 Receiving Corps for 2022

Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State Buckeyes Football

Despite 28 wide receivers selected in the 2022 NFL Draft, this year's college football season still features a significant amount of talent at the position. Ohio State lost two first-round picks at receiver in Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson, yet still ranks as the No. 1 wide receiving corps in the nation thanks to the return of Jaxon Smith-Njigba and a host of talented breakout candidates from recent recruiting hauls. New USC coach Lincoln Riley has added talent to every position from the transfer portal, and receiver is no different with the arrival of four players, including Jordan Addison from Pitt. The Trojans take the No. 2 spot in our list of the best receiving corps in the nation for '22. Georgia and Alabama take the next spots in our rankings, followed by Virginia, Texas, LSU and Wake Forest in the next tier.

How did we come up with these rankings? Many factors were considered. Depth, overall talent, production, level of competition and projected output in 2022 all factored into the rankings for the receiving corps. While some teams may have experienced a down year last season, having a different quarterback or a change of scheme can make a huge difference. These rankings reflect projections for 2022, not solely what teams have accomplished in '21. Note: This ranking also takes into account tight ends.

2022 Unit Rankings: RB I WR I OL I DL I LB I DB

College Football's Top 25 Receiving Corps for 2022

1. Ohio State
Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave were first-round picks in the 2022 NFL Draft, but there’s zero concern about the receiving corps in Columbus. That’s largely due to the return of Jaxon Smith-Njigba, who has a case as the best receiver in college football after catching 95 passes for 1,606 yards and nine scores last year. The Buckeyes won’t lack for breakout candidates to fill the void around Smith-Njigba. Emeka Egbuka and Julian Fleming were both five-star prospects coming out of high school, and Marvin Harrison Jr. showcased his potential with six catches for 71 yards and three scores in the Rose Bowl win over Utah. Freshmen Jayden Ballard, Caleb Burton and Kaleb Brown provide additional depth.

Related: Ranking All 131 Quarterbacks for 2022

2. USC
The post-spring addition of Jordan Addison from Pitt gives USC a strong argument to be the No. 1 receiving corps in college football. Addison won the Biletnikoff Award after catching 100 passes for 1,593 yards and 17 touchdowns for the Panthers last fall. He should have no trouble forming an instant connection with quarterback Caleb Williams to jump-start a USC offense that averaged 28.7 points a game last year, and should improve significantly under new coach Lincoln Riley. Transfer additions Mario Williams (Oklahoma), Terrell Bynum (Washington), and Brenden Rice (Colorado) add to a depth chart already featuring Gary Bryant (44 catches last year), Kyle Ford (19), and Tahj Washington (54).

3. Georgia
Most of the writeups here start with wide receivers as the headliner. But that’s not the case in Athens, as Georgia returns the best tight end room in college football. Brock Bowers (12 TDs) leads the way after a standout true freshman season in 2021, with 6-foot-7 target Darnell Washington and LSU transfer Arik Gilbert joining him in ’22. How coordinator Todd Monken can effectively deploy all three is a source of intrigue. The Bulldogs don’t lack for talent at receiver either, as Ladd McConkey, Adonai Mitchell, Kearis Jackson, Dominick Blaylock and Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint are back on the outside.

4. Alabama
John Metchie III and Jameson Williams won’t be easy to replace, but it’s also hard to worry too much about the pass catchers for quarterback Bryce Young with the talent flowing through Tuscaloosa. Georgia transfer Jermaine Burton (26 catches for 497 yards and five scores last year) could become Young’s No. 1 option, with rising star Ja’Corey Brooks also slated to pick up the slack. Freshman Kobe Prentice has made noise this preseason, which helps to alleviate the loss of JoJo Earle, who will miss potentially up to eight weeks due to a foot injury. Louisville transfer Tyler Harrell (29.1 yards per catch over 18 receptions in 2021) is another potential downfield weapon for Young. Other names to watch include Traeshon Holden, Christian Leary and true freshmen Aaron Anderson and Shazz Preston. Tight end Cameron Latu (26 catches last year) should be an All-SEC player in 2022.

Related: College Football's Most Improved Teams for 2022

5. Virginia
New coach Tony Elliott’s first year on the job is made a little easier thanks to the return of quarterback Brennan Armstrong and a loaded group of receivers. The Cavaliers return three players who caught at least 57 passes last year, including all-purpose weapon Keytaon Thompson, Dontayvion Wicks (21.1 yards per catch), and Billy Kemp IV (74 receptions). And if that wasn’t enough, this unit will regain the services of Lavel Davis, who missed all of 2021 due to a knee injury. Davis had a standout freshman season in ’20, grabbing 20 receptions for 515 yards and five scores.

6. Texas
The Longhorns suffered a significant setback in fall practice with the loss of Wyoming transfer Isaiah Neyor to a season-ending knee injury. Neyor was expected to be a key starter after averaging 19.95 yards per catch in Laramie last fall. However, the cupboard isn’t bare for coach Steve Sarkisian. Xavier Worthy is back as the go-to receiver after catching 62 passes for 981 yards and 12 scores as a true freshman last fall. Jordan Whittington battled injuries in ’21 and was limited to just eight games but still grabbed 26 receptions. A pair of transfers in Tarique Milton (Iowa State) and Agiye Hall (Alabama), along with freshmen Savion Red and Brenen Thompson should contribute on the outside. Tight ends Jahleel Billingsley (Alabama transfer) and Ja’Tavion Sanders are likely to see increased opportunities as a result of Neyor’s absence.

7. LSU
Kayshon Boutte was on pace for a massive statistical year before suffering a season-ending injury against Kentucky in October. In his six appearances, Boutte caught 38 passes for 508 yards and nine scores. Look for Boutte to claim a spot among the nation’s top receivers with a full season of action. There’s plenty of depth here for new coach Brian Kelly. Jaray Jenkins (34 receptions), Jack Bech (43), Malik Nabers (28), Brian Thomas (28), and Louisiana transfer Kyren Lacy round out a deep cast of options for quarterbacks Jayden Daniels and Garrett Nussmeier.

Related: College Football's Top Impact Transfer QBs for 2022

8. Wake Forest
The Demon Deacons won’t have quarterback Sam Hartman to start the 2022 season but his expected replacement, Mitch Griffis, won’t lack for help to keep this offense performing at a high level. A.T. Perry is back after catching 71 passes for 1,293 yards and 15 touchdowns last fall. Jaquarii Roberson departed after a 1,000-yard season in ’21, but Taylor Morin (43) and Ke’Shawn Williams (27) are primed (and plenty capable) to see more targets. Donavon Greene was impressive as a freshman in ’20, catching 29 passes for 582 yards and two touchdowns. After missing all of last season due to injury, Greene’s return is another boost to this offense and solidifies Wake Forest as one of the top receiving corps in the nation.

9. Michigan
The Wolverines may not have a player who emerges as an All-America candidate here, but that’s more of a reflection on the depth rather than the team’s talent at receiver. Coach Jim Harbaugh’s team returns six of the top seven statistical wide receivers or tight ends from ’21 and also has help from two standout pass catchers at running back in Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards. Cornelius Johnson (39) paced the team in receptions last fall, with Roman Wilson (25), Mike Sanristil (22), and Andrel Anthony (12) up next. The team also has additional help on the way with Ronnie Bell back at full strength. He led Michigan in receptions in ’19 and ’20, giving quarterbacks Cade McNamara and J.J. McCarthy another big-time weapon. The tight end position is in good hands with Erick All (38) and Luke Schoonmaker (17) returning.

Related: College Football's Top 30 Breakout Players for 2022

10. Fresno State
Fresno State ranked ninth nationally in passing yards per game (326.7) last season, and there’s little reason to believe that number will slip thanks to the return of quarterback Jake Haener and the Mountain West’s No. 1 receiving corps. Jalen Cropper has paced the team in receptions, yards and receiving touchdowns in each of the last two years and is an Athlon Sports All-American for ’22. After catching 85 passes for 899 yards last fall, Cropper should be able to push for 1,000 yards this fall. He’s joined by Josh Kelly (52 catches), Zane Pope (25), Ty Jones (18), Erik Brooks (17) as proven targets in Fresno. California transfer Nikko Remigio (38) could work in the slot for new coach Jeff Tedford.

11. Maryland
12. Stanford
13. Penn State
14. TCU
15. Oregon
16. Tennessee
17. Ole Miss
18. Texas A&M
19. Notre Dame
20. Mississippi State
21. BYU
22. Houston
23. UTSA
24. UCF
25. North Carolina

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