With the pass-heavy offenses in football today, wide receivers are more important than ever before. Over the last few seasons, the LSU Tigers blossomed into a top candidate for the title of ‘Wide Receiver U.’
Louisiana State University is not only responsible for some of the best wide receivers in the NFL today, but the Tigers sent some of the NFL’s best young wideouts to the league each season. The evidence is everywhere, so let me lay it out for you.
Which School Is Wide Receiver University?
There are quite a few college football teams that claim to be ‘WRU.’ Alabama boasts a ton of talent in the NFL at the position. Clemson, Florida, Georgia and Ohio State hold claims as well with each having a strong presence, including some of the NFL’s top pass catchers. Programs like Oklahoma, Miami, Tennessee, Notre Dame, Penn State, USC, Michigan, South Carolina and Florida State made cases over the years as WRU, but none of them have long-standing success.
The Crimson Tide is represented by Julio Jones, Amari Cooper, Calvin Ridley, Jerry Jeudy, and Henry Ruggs III, while DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle are on their way.
Dabo Swinney and the Clemson Tigers had a run of extremely talented receivers in the NFL as well, with DeAndre Hopkins, Sammy Watkins, Martavis Bryant, Mike Williams, and Tee Higgins. Justyn Ross,, and Amari Rodgers will be great additions to an NFL roster when their time comes.
The Ohio State Buckeyes went on a great run the last few years with Michael Thomas, Curtis Samuel, and Devin Smith. Plus, Ted Ginn Jr., Santonio Holmes, and Brian Hartline all played in ‘The Shoe’ in the past.
The Florida Gators may not have had the star receiver in the NFL, but they produced tons of players who played for quite a while. Since 2000, the Gators produced 15 receivers picked in the NFL Draft. Travis Taylor and Percy Harvin were each taken in the first round.
With A.J. Green, Mecole Hardman, Riley Ridley, and Chris Conley in the NFL, the Georgia Bulldogs have a strong presence that should last for quite a while.
But for some reason, the LSU Tigers really don’t receive enough credit despite being, well, the real ‘Wide Receiver U.’
Why LSU Is The Real Wide Receiver U
With Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, Russell Shepard, DJ Chark Jr., and Justin Jefferson, LSU has some of the best wideout talent in the National Football League. Ja’Marr Chase won the Biletnikoff Award as CFB’s best pass catcher in 2019, and Terrace Marshall Jr. joins him on one of the top passing attacks in the entire country.
Even though the Cleveland Browns haven’t reaped the full rewards of having two great LSU wide receivers on their team just yet, there is no denying that Beckham and Landry are two of the best at their position.
Both of their jerseys, especially Beckham’s, still dominate the stands at Tiger Stadium on LSU game days.
Unheralded DJ Chark took the league by storm with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2019. Playing most of the year with rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew, Chark led the team with 1,008 receiving yards and eight touchdowns on his way to the Pro Bowl.
Mix in multi-season starters drafted since 2000 like Reuben Randle, Brandon LaFell, Trindon Holliday, Dwayne Bowe, Michael Clayton, and Devery Henderson, and the argument becomes even more clear. LSU’s prowess as ‘WRU’ awarded them several first-round draft picks, tons of money, and multiple Pro Bowl appearances over the years.
The interesting thing about LSU wide receivers and their success in the NFL is the lack of college awards they earned. Josh Reed earned consensus All-American honors back in 2001, which was the last time an LSU wide receiver received the honor before Chase’s breakout last season alongside Joe Burrow. (OBJ earned All-American honors in 2013 from the FWAA and CBS, but that was as an all-purpose player.)
Even though it could easily change within the next few seasons with all of the talent coming from Alabama and Clemson, it is currently LSU that I would like to supply my NFL team with wide receivers.
This article was originally published October 23, 2019. It was updated to reflect results of the 2019 football season. LSU still holds the crown.