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Fred Biletnikoff Award Watch List Missing Marquee Wide Receivers

Tyler Boyd

Tyler Boyd

The Tallahassee Quarterback Club Foundation did little to honor their award's namesake when the preseason Fred Biletnikoff Award watch list was released on Wednesday, as several marquee wide receivers expected to make a lot of noise on the collegiate gridiron in 2015 were missing.

Of the 48 names listed by 215 national journalists, broadcasters and former players, the overshadowing failure to include Ole Miss’ Laquon Treadwell, Auburn’s D’haquille “Duke” Williams, and Pitt’s Tyler Boyd is an embarrassment to the award. Both Boyd and Treadwell are selected as Athlon Sports preseason first-team All-Americans, with Williams landing on the second team.

Related: College Football 2015 All-America Team

In nine games last season Treadwell was as good of a receiver as anyone else in the nation. The numbers show 48 receptions for 632 yards with five scores, but he was the heart and soul of the Rebels’ offense and a tremendous run-blocker. Treadwell was stopped from a game-winning, last-minute touchdown against Auburn on a play that also ended his season. If he can bounce back from his leg injury, Treadwell will be one of the best in the nation.

Williams is another SEC wideout to watch out for in 2015. Williams was a JUCO transfer, who had to learn Gus Malzahn’s offense last season. He also had dual-threat quarterback Nick Marshall and his run-first mentality under center. New starting quarterback Jeremy Johnson throws darts and should help expand the Tigers’ offense vertically and laterally, giving Auburn a true game-changing threat in the pocket, which in turn should present more stat-filling opportunities for Williams.

The omission of Boyd is perhaps the most embarrassing of all. Boyd has posted back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons for the Panthers, earning first-team All-ACC honors as a sophomore last season. After pulling down 78 passes for 1,261 yards with eight touchdowns, while averaging 98 receiving yards per game last season, he is now on a collegiate career track similar to that of another Pittsburgh great, Larry Fitzgerald. The big question for Boyd this season is will new offensive coordinator Jim Chaney help or hurt his cause?

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Colorado State’s Rashard Higgins' presence on the list is noteworthy in that he was one of the three finalists for last year's award. Higgins led the nation with 1,750 receiving yards and 17 touchdown catches on 96 receptions as a sophomore last season. Higgins, Alabama's Amari Cooper and West Virginia's Kevin White were the 2014 finalists with Cooper winning the Biletnikoff Award after leading the nation with 124 catches, which went for 1,727 yards and 16 touchdowns (second nationally in both categories).

As far as Higgins' 2015 outlook goes, his production might see a slight drop off with record-setting quarterback Garrett Grayson, starting running back Dee Hart, and head coach Jim McElwain all gone, but all may not be lost. When McElwain left for Florida Mike Bobo left his position as Georgia’s offensive coordinator to take over the Rams. Sophomore Nick Stevens has picked up the offense and Higgins does have running mate Joe Hansley on the other side of the field to help keep defenses honest.

Other notable players to watch as possible Biletnikoff Award semifinalists include TCU’s Josh Doctson (65-1,018-11), Western Michigan’s Corey Davis (78-1,408-16), and Baylor’s Corey Coleman (64-1,119-11).

The Biletnikoff Award has been presented to the top wide receiver in college football since 1994. Other notable winners include Randy Moss (Marshall – 1997), Antonio Bryant (Pitt – 2000), Larry Fitzgerald (Pitt - 2003), Calvin Johnson (Georgia Tech – 2006), Michael Crabtree (Texas Tech – 2007, '08), and Justin Blackmon (Oklahoma State – 2010, '11).

One thing to keep in mind, Treadwell, Williams and Boyd (and any other wide receiver not named) can be added to the watch list as the season progresses. The ten semifinalists will be announced on No. 16 and the three finalists will be named on Nov. 24. The winner will be revealed on Dec. 10.

Biletnikoff Award Watch List

Victor Bolden, Oregon State
Devonte Boyd, UNLV
Daniel Braverman, Western Michigan
Ryan Burbrink, Bowling Green
KD Cannon, Baylor
Leonte Carroo, Rutgers
Rashon Ceaser, Louisiana-Monroe
Corey Coleman, Baylor
Pharoh Cooper, South Carolina
River Cracraft, Washington State
Jared Dangerfield, Western Kentucky
Corey Davis, Western Michigan
Josh Doctson, TCU
Travin Dural, LSU
Alex Erickson, Wisconsin
William Fuller, Notre Dame
Jakeem Grant, Texas Tech
DaeSean Hamilton, Penn State
Donovan Harden, Georgia State
Carlos Harris, North Texas
Rashard Higgins, Colorado State
Ajalen Holley, Louisiana-Monroe
Cayleb Jones, Arizona
Corey Jones, Toledo
Isaiah Jones, East Carolina
Marcus Kemp, Hawaii
Roger Lewis, Bowling Green
Keevan Lucas, Tulsa
Byron Marshall, Oregon
Mitch Mathews, BYU
Teldrick Morgan, New Mexico State
Jordan Payton, UCLA
Josh Reynolds, Texas A&M
Jalen Robinette, Air Force
Demarcus Robinson, Florida
Alonzo Russell, Toledo
Artavis Scott, Clemson
Hunter Sharp, Utah State
Tajae Sharpe, Massachusetts
Sterling Shepard, Oklahoma
Thomas Sperbeck, Boise State
Nelson Spruce, Colorado
Taywan Taylor, Western Kentucky
Trent Taylor, Louisiana Tech
Michael Thomas, Ohio State
Shaq Washington, Cincinnati
Mike Williams, Clemson
Ron Willoughby, Buffalo

— Written by Ryan Wright, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and an established media professional with more than two decades' worth of experience. Over the years, Wright has written for numerous sites and publications and he recently started his own recruiting site, www.recruitingnewsguru.com. Follow him on Twitter @HogManinLA.