The 50 greatest large receivers in school soccer over the previous 50 years

One could argue that the seeds for modern college and professional football passing were sown some 50 years ago.

Bill Walsh tweaked the Cincinnati Bengals offensive and crafted what the west coast offensive would be. Don Coryell broke through what came to be known as his Air Coryell Offensive and in 1973 jumped from the state of San Diego to the St. Louis Cardinals to succeed there, blew up. You would become three of the most influential figures in modernizing football.

It would take these ideas a while to get to the fore in college football, which would be dominated by the wishbones and old school physicality for years to come. But mad scientists tinkered.

Let’s commemorate the occasion by celebrating the wide receivers that made the top league of college football over the past five decades. Here are the top 50.

Years: 2011-13
Career statistics: 240 catches, 3,391 yards, 27 TDs (also: 339 rushing yards, 1 rushing TD, 1 kick return TD)

One of the most touted and most important signings of the early Dabo-Swinney era, Watkins lived up to the bill, hitting 1,219 yards as a freshman and 1,464 yards as a junior to bolster the profile of an emerging Clemson program.

49. JJ Stokes, UCLA

Years: 1991-94
Career stats: 154 catches, 2,469 yards, 28 TDs

A major threat throughout his career, Stokes finished seventh in the Heisman poll in 1993 while catching 82 passes for 1,181 yards and 17 TDs, leading the Bruins to a surprise Rose Bowl bid.

48. Steve Largent, Tulsa

Years: 1973-75
Career stats: 136 catches, 2,385 yards, 32 TDs

He is best known for his heroics with the Seattle Seahawks, but adapted to the era, his 51 catches and 1,000 yards performance equals about 90 catches for 1,600 yards in the 1975 Golden Hurricane.

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