ACC Football Positional Rankings 2013: Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Sammy Watkins is the ACC's Top Receiver, But Does a Different Team's Wideouts Outpace Clemson's?

Sammy Watkins is the ACC’s Top Receiver, But Do a Different Team’s Wideouts Outpace Clemson’s?

While we’re still (barely) over two months away from the season, it does indeed seem to be that time of year — when college football blogs like this one and so many others start churning out season preview materials. We’ll be holding off till July and August for the team-by-team season previews, but in the meantime, there’s nothing wrong with taking a look at each position on the field and evaluating ACC squads’ respective strengths and weaknesses.

This week, we’re on to the wide receivers and tight ends (we’ve also covered running backs and quarterbacks thus far). Like virtually every other conference in the country, you can’t necessarily call the overall receiving product in the ACC “stellar.” For some reason we’ve arrived at a dearth of talent at the position of late. But nonetheless, the league still possesses a strong group of receivers at the top, plus a ton of depth, even on the teams that are lower on this list.

Keep in mind that these are full unit rankings — not just one player — so just because one individual wide receiver or tight end is better than another, it doesn’t necessarily mean the team’s entire crop of pass catchers is. Also note: Louisville (as has been the case since November) is included here. Additionally, since these are completely subjective rankings, the difference between the seventh and eighth team is almost entirely negligible (especially in the case of this position). Still, disagree with any of these picks? Share your own selections below.

ACC Positional Rankings 2013: Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

1. Florida State Seminoles: FSU just has too many players who can catch the ball in the open field, and that’s a good thing, especially when fielding an inexperienced quarterback. After a productive season last year (57 catches, 741 yards, six scores), Rashad Greene looks ready to take a huge leap forward for this group, and could be one of the better pass catchers in the ACC. Along with Greene, look out for Kenny Shaw and Kelvin Benjamin, especially Benjamin, who could end up being a breakout player for the ‘Noles this season following a productive freshman campaign. At tight end, Nick O’Leary should continue his improvement, but with so man other players looking for the ball, it’s uncertain how many passes are thrown his way.

2. Clemson Tigers: Replacing Brandon Ford (TE) and leading receiver DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson certainly has their work cut out for them. But you can’t underestimate the receiving depth Chad Morris and Dabo Swinney have built on this Tigers roster. After an uneventful offseason, Sammy Watkins should be back to his freshman year form, which immediately takes the load off of Adam Humphries and Charone Peake. While not overly experienced, the two still caught 66 combined passes last year, which should trend even higher in 2013. Tight end is a question mark, though Stanton Seckinger likely has the inside track to starting there.

3. North Carolina Tar Heels: In year two of Larry Fedora’s offense, it’s time opposing teams started to fear this group. Quinshad Davis put up one of the best freshman receiving seasons in ACC history last year and there’s little doubt he’ll continue to produce at that level again. And he’ll have help, too. Fellow starter Sean Tapley brings further speed on the outside, while tight end Eric Ebron will be putting his athleticism to use against linebackers and corners alike. Ebron’s slated to be one of the best TEs in the country this year, and one look at his 6’4″ 245-pound frame leaves little question as to why.

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ACC Football 2012 Week 11 Lessons: Florida State Very Lucky, Yet Still in Control

Florida State Was All Smiles Last Week, But the ‘Noles Weren’t Too Far Away From a Loss Either

Each Monday morning, we compile our top five takeaways from the weekend’s action. Here’s what we got out of Week 11 of ACC football action:

1. Florida State still in the Atlantic driver’s seat… barely: While we’re happy to commend the Seminoles for pulling out their last-minute victory over Virginia Tech last Thursday, we must look at the other side of the coin, too. Despite their talent on both sides of the ball, FSU could’ve very well lost their second game to a double-digit underdog this year. And much of it is due to Jimbo Fisher’s overly-conservative play-calling, along with some luck that could have easily gone the other way. The late safety could’ve instead been a touchdown for Tech. EJ Manuel‘s late strike to Rashad Greene — had the Hokies taken proper pursuit angles, maybe they never see the end zone. Or Logan Thomas‘s deep ball to Demitri Knowles on the final drive may have been part of a game-winning drive, instead of an INT. So, yes, Florida State won. But they have work to do.

2. Does anyone want to win the Coastal division?: After this past weekend’s action, it sure doesn’t look like it. Virginia Tech just couldn’t seem to hang on against FSU on Thursday. Miami took its commanding lead and squandered it in a 41-40 upset to Virginia. And North Carolina — while ineligible to play for the league championship this season — gave up its shot at possessing the division’s best record by losing a barnburner to Georgia Tech, a team suddenly very much alive in the race again. No one in the division will have a record better than 8-4, and the champion very well may finish 7-5. Ugh.

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