Trends take time to develop and there is no arguing that over the last 20 years schools such as Miami, Ohio State, and Florida State have rightfully earned the moniker Wide Receiver University. But trends change over time and it looks as though recent history is showing there is a new player vying for the title, West Virginia University.
Over the last three NFL drafts (2013-15) West Virginia is the only school to have four wide receivers drafted. The Mountaineers are also the only team to have at least two wide receivers go in the first round, Kevin White in 2015 and Tavon Austin in '13.
Since 2013 there are three schools who have had three wide receivers taken in the past three drafts — USC, Oklahoma, and LSU. Of these four schools with at least three wideouts drafted since 2013 only WVU and USC have three players that went in the first three rounds. USC had Nelson Agholor drafted in the first round in 2015, Marqise Lee in the second round in 2014, and Robert Woods in the second round in 2013. Along with White and Austin, WVU had Stedman Bailey hear his named called in the third round of the 2013 draft.
Many will try to make the correlation between successful wide receivers and quarterbacks. However, in recent history that is simply not the case. Of the four schools listed above each have had only one quarterback drafted since 2013. The only school to have multiple wide receivers and multiple quarterbacks drafted in that time frame is Florida State with two each — Jameis Winston and EJ Manuel at quarterback and Kelvin Benjamin and Rashad Greene at wide receiver. Whether or not Clint Trickett would have been drafted had he remained healthy is up for debate, but his early-season stats in 2014 were leading him to receive a shot somewhere at the next level. Whether that would have been being drafted or signed as a free agent unfortunately will never be known.
It is no secret that Dana Holgorsen has a history of developing wide receivers for the NFL. However the string of wide receivers that have come out of WVU in the last three years show a new growing trend in Morgantown, one that has never been seen. The Mountaineers have had a total of 10 wide receivers taken in the NFL draft since 1990, two of those were quarterbacks at WVU — Darren Studstill and Rasheed Marshall. Of the remaining eight wide receivers drafted, four have come in the last three years.
While WVU is a long way from catching the likes of Miami, Ohio State, and Florida State, schools that boast dozens of drafted wide receivers since 1990, there is no doubt that this continued trend will eventually garner a changing of the guard and a new school vying for the title WR U.
— Written by Jeremy Simon, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and editor-in-chief of BlueGoldSports.com, a must visit for any and all West Virginia Mountaineer fans. Follow BlueGoldSports.com on Twitter @Blue_GoldSports.