With lots of quality on show in the Pac-12, it would be easy for me to write about the top wide receivers going into 2023. The conference is deep with talent, so below are some names I believe will make college football fans sit up and take notice this season.
Tetairoa McMillan, Arizona
Arizona head coach Jedd Fisch had a very good recruiting class in 2022, with one of those players WR Tetairoa McMillan. McMillan was the 4th ranked receiver on 247 sports and was heavily recruited by top schools like Texas, Florida and Penn State. He did commit to Oregon in August 2021. However, he flipped his commitment to Arizona at the end of 2021.
In his freshman season, McMillan had 39 receptions for 702 yards, while catching 8 touchdowns. This was only 3rd most on the team, behind Jacob Cowing and Dorian Singer. The latter has now departed and McMillan will be looking to take a big share of those targets left. The sophomore receiver stands at 6’4”with an excellent catch radious and nasty hands. He is a polished route runner and can dominate in contested catches. McMillan is a guaranteed future star and I expect him to be one of the leaders in receiving yards in the Pac-12 this season.
Josh Kelly, Washington State
Having spent his first 4 years with Fresno State, Josh Kelly makes the jump to a power 5 conference team in Washington State. In 2021 Kelly had 52 receptions for 778 yards in an exciting Fresno State offence run by now Washington HC Kalen DeBoer. Unfortunately, he suffered an injury setback in week 3 of the 2022 season and did not return till the final game of the season. He still managed 207 yards from 12 receptions.
Kelly has shown he can put up relatively high numbers in the Mountain West, now he has the chance to showcase his ability in the Pac-12. The Cougars lost their 4 most productive WRs from 2022. Kelly has the qualities to make him the number 1 target for QB Cam Ward and the Washington State offence. Don’t be surprised to see him put his name on the map in the Pac-12.
Mudia Reuben, Stanford
There is a lot of turnover in Stanford, resulting in an inexperienced receiver room. One player looking to take a step forward in his sophomore season is Mudia Reuben. Reuben started his football career later than most. However, he has picked up the game quickly and has shown excellent attributes to be a top receiver in college. Standing at 6’3” and 190lbs, he has the size, with lots of room for improvement.
In his freshman season, Reuben had 5 catches for 53 receiving yards, with 2 of those receptions resulting in touchdowns. Stanford also have an inexperienced sophomore QB coming in as starter in Ari Patu. Both of Reuben’s touchdowns were passes from Patu last season. Both guys could form an important partnership for Stanford resulting in a great second season for Reuben.
Elijhah Badger, Arizona State
Although it was a tough 2022 season on and off the field for Arizona State, there were a few bright sparks. One of those was wide receiver Elijhah Badger. In his sophomore season he led the team in receiving yards with some horrific quarterback play. Badger racked up 866 yards from 70 receptions, including 7 touchdowns. Despite putting up solid numbers in 2022, the 6’1” receiver is still being slept on in the conference.
New Sun Devils head coach Kenny Dillingham worked his magic to make sure Badger kept playing his football in Tempe. The California native will be the key piece again on offence, with an expectation he will kick on further in a better environment. With another good season, don’t be surprised to see Badger as a NFL Draft sleeper.
Mavin Anderson, California
2021 4 star recruit Mavin Anderson is in store for a big season for the Golden Bears. After redshirting in 2021, Anderson had 37 receptions for 372 yards and 3 touchdowns. Although labelled on the depth chart as a slot receiver, Anderson can be moved around and used in different positions along the line. Expect to see that even more as reports coming out of camp are Anderson has been do it all receiver.
The California receiving group has some solid production on the roster, but a couple of guys stand out as very talented. Mavin Anderson is one of those and with a year’s experience under his belt, he could show even more in 2023.