Five WRs that could be breakout stars in 2020
We don’t have spring football but we can still look ahead to next season. Here is a series we are starting of breakout players at each position for next season continuing with the wide receivers.
Mark Pszonak contributed to this report.
GARRETT WILSON, Ohio State
The skinny: Ohio State beat Texas and others for Wilson, who played at Austin (Tex.) Lake Travis but lived in the Columbus, Ohio area until he was 12 years old. He committed to the Buckeys during the spring before his senior season.
Expectations were high for Wilson coming into his true freshman season, and he responded with 30 receptions for 432 yards and five touchdowns. Playing on the outside last season, he may potentially move to the slot this fall, or play oppositive Chris Olave on the outside. Either way, he has the skill set and the quarterback, Justin Fields, to produce a memorable season.
Farrell’s take: Wilson was nearly a five-star coming out of high school who had good length, speed and body control. He showed flashes of greatness last season and he appears to be the No 1 option heading into this season on a loaded Ohio State team. He could emerge as one of the best receivers in college football.
WAN'DALE ROBINSON, Nebraska
The skinny: An early commitment to Kentucky, Robinson flipped his pledge to Nebraska in December during his senior season. Even when he was committed to the Wildcats, the Huskers remained very active in his process.
As with Wilson, plenty was expected from Robinson during his true freshman season and he also did not disappoint. He caught 40 balls for 453 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing for 340 yards and three touchdowns. Look for Nebraska to be creative in their methods in getting Robinson the ball, which should lead to a big season.
Farrell’s take: Robinson was expected to be the next Rondale Moore in the Big Ten and he certainly showed flashes of that last season. His ability to make people miss and his sneaky speed intrigued us out of high school and we expected him to impact as a wide receiver, running back and return man. This could be the year he’s a difference-maker on a bowl-bound Nebraska team.
JEREMIAH PAYTON, Miami
The skinny: Payton committed to Miami during the winter after his junior season and stayed firm with the Canes throughout the remainder of his process.
With Jeff Thomas and K.J. Osborn moving on, all eyes have already been on Payton to make a positive impression this fall after he redshirted in 2019. New offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee should give him the opportunity to flourish in his open style, which was already proven during the early stages of the Canes’ spring practices.
Farrell’s take: What impressed me most about Payton out of high school was his route-running and reliable hands and those will show this season. D’Eriq King is in town now and he and Payton could team up to be a dynamic duo in the ACC with Payton’s smarts and ability to set up defenders.
JOE NGATA, Clemson
The skinny: Clemson, which emerged as Ngata’s favorite after his first visit to Death Valley, solidified his plans to become a Tiger when he took a follow-up visit for a summer cookout. He committed to Clemson over USC, Washington and Notre Dame. While there was plenty of talent and depth at the receiver position in 2019, Ngata still totaled 17 receptions for 240 yards and three touchdowns. Even though the cupboard will be far from bare this fall, Ngata has too many skills to not see increased playing time and production.
Farrell’s take: The next five-star at Clemson to dominate will be Ngata as the passing game keeps rolling under Dabo Swinney. Trevor Lawrence is the best quarterback in college football and he’ll be looking to Ngata to replace some of the catches lost when Tee Higgins left for the NFL Draft.
DRAKE LONDON, USC
While the Trojans experienced a disappointing 2019 season, they have put together a young and talented aerial attack with London, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Bru McCoy and quarterback Kedon Slovis. McCoy could very easily also be on this list, but London is the choice after he reeled in 39 receptions for 567 yards and five touchdowns last season. It will be interesting and fun to see how the trio of youngsters progress this fall.
Farrell’s take: London was a tall, angular four star wide receiver coming out of high school with a great catch radius and he showed flashes of his potential last season. St. Brown will still be the key guy, but watch for London to emerge even more with Michael Pittman gone. He’s a great athlete and is on the USC hoops team but rarely plays.