SEC FOOTBALL: Rating All-Time SEC Receivers

The Southeastern Conference has a well-deserved reputation for producing great quarterbacks and running backs, but over the years the league has produced its share of outstanding pass receivers going back to the 1930s when Alabama gave the nation its first truly great pass catching threat, Don Hutson. Selecting the best receivers in the league over the years was a difficult job so the cutoff for making the top ten of all time had to be making All-America at least one time.

TOMORROW: Offensive linemen.

(TIE) 1. WES CHANDLER, FLORIDA: You can only imagine the kind of numbers he would have put up if he had played in Steve Spurrier's offense. Chandler was a tailback at New Smyrna Beach who was switched to wide receiver because Florida had an abundance of wishbone running backs. Even though he was double and triple covered as Florida's only wide receiver in Doug Dickey's wishbone set, he was practically uncoverable, producing 90 catches for 1963 yards (21.3 per catch) and 22 touchdowns. Silky smooth and fluid, Chandler never looked like he was going all that fast, but he had sprinter's speed to go with the easy strides. In his senior year of 1997, he played wide receiver, tailback and occasionally at quarterback. First Team All-American in 1976 and 1977.

(TIE) 1. DON HUTSON, ALABAMA: Accurate stats weren't kept in the 1930s but Hutson was years ahead of the rest of the football world, as he would show when he went to the Green Bay Packers where he became one of the greatest receivers in the history of the NFL, setting records that would stand for 20 years or more. At Alabama, Hutson teamed with Dixie Howell to become the South's first great pass and catch combo. Coach Frank Thomas, the legendary Alabama coach who coached a pretty fair player named "Bear," who played the other end on the Bama offense, said that Hutson was by far the greatest player he ever saw. Hutson and Howell led Bama to the 1934 National Championship. In the Rose Bowl win over Stanford, Hutson caught touchdown passes of 59 and 54 yards to lead the way. Hutson is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

3. OZZIE NEWSOME, ALABAMA: He is another whose numbers would have been staggering in the offenses that began to open up the college game in the 1990s. Newsome was a wide receiver at Alabama during the 1970s when Bama typically ran 80-90 percent of the time. He would convert to an undersized tight end in a Hall of Fame career in the NFL. Bama ran the wishbone during Newsome's career in Tuscaloosa so the numbers --- 102 catches for 2070 yards and 16 touchdowns --- don't do him justice. He started 47 straight games for Alabama. Newsome was a big wide receiver (6-2, 209) who was a long strider so defenders found it difficult to gauge his speed. Blessed with tremendous hands, if he could touch the ball, he usually hauled the pass in. He was also one of the best blockers ever in the SEC among wide receivers. He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

4. CARLOS ALVAREZ, FLORIDA: The Cuban Comet came to Gainesville after winning the state sprint championships (9.5 100 yard dash) at North Miami. When he was healthy, he couldn't be defended. Gator fans got their first glimpse of greatness on the third play of the game his sophomore year against preseason number one Houston. Going against an All-America corner, Alvarez blew by the defender as if he wasn't even there. John Reaves launched, Alvarez caught and it was a 78-yard touchdown pass. By the end of his sophomore year, Carlos had 88 catches for 1,329 yards and 12 touchdowns. Florida changed offenses to the option after his sophomore year so there weren't nearly as many chances to catch the ball after that. During his final two years he also battled severe knee but he still finished with 172 catches (UF record), 2,563 yards (UF record) and 19 touchdown passes. All-America in 1969, he made All-SEC in 1969 and 1971. He was Academic All-SEC all three years at Florida, Academic All-America in 1971 and is a member of the Verizon Academic All-America Hall of Fame.

5. TERRY BEASLEY, AUBURN: The same year Florida's super sophs burst onto the scene, Auburn had a pair of great sophomores of its own in quarterback Pat Sullivan and wide receiver Terry Beasley. Beasley was the go-to guy with deep speed, stretching defenses to their limits. For his career he had 141 catches (Auburn record), 2,507 yards (Auburn record) and 29 touchdown receptions. His best season was 1970 when he caught 52 passes for 1,051 yards and 11 touchdowns. Beasley was All-SEC in 1970 and 1971, All-America both years as well. He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.

6. WENDELL DAVIS, LSU: Davis was known for making the toughest catches in traffic. He was a fearless receiver who could make the catch in the middle of the field and hang on even when hammered. A great route runner, he rarely failed to bring the ball in if he got his hands on it. He finished his career with 183 catches for 2701 yards and 19 touchdowns. In 1986, he had 80 catches for 1,244 yards and 11 touchdowns in a conservative offense. Double and often triple-teamed in 1987, he still caught 72 passes for 993 yards and seven touchdowns. Two-time All-SEC and All-America 1986-87.

7. IKE HILLIARD, FLORIDA: He's remembered almost as much for the stop on a dime, change directions touchdown run after the catch against Florida State in the Sugar Bowl that helped the Gators to a 52-20 win and the National Championship in 1996. Hilliard, the nephew of LSU great Dalton Hilliard, came to Florida because Steve Spurrier promised him he could play wide receiver. For the next three years he torched SEC secondaries to the tune of 126 catches, 2,214 yards and 29 touchdowns. He had 17 touchdown pass receptions his junior year of 1995. All-SEC and All-America in 1996.

(TIE) 8. TIM MCGEE, TENNESSEE: There are receivers in Tennessee history who had more catches and more yards, but there isn't a better receiver than Tim McGee. A tremendous deep threat, McGee proved he wasn't afraid to go across the middle where the going is dangerous for wide receivers. His career numbers are 123 catches for 2,042 yards and 15 touchdowns. His best two seasons were 1984 (54 catches, 809 yards and six touchdowns) and 1985 (50 catches, 947 yards and seven touchdowns). First Team All-SEC and All-America in 1985.

(TIE) 8. JABAR GAFFNEY, FLORIDA: What makes his numbers --- 138 catches, 2,375 yards and 27 touchdowns --- so remarkable is that they were accomplished in just two seasons. After a redshirt in 1999, he burst onto the scene as a freshman with 71 catches for 1,184 yards and 14 touchdowns. The 14 touchdowns are an NCAA record for a freshman wide receiver. He followed that up with 67 catches for 1,191 yards and 13 touchdowns as a sophomore. The son of former Gator wide receiver Derek Gaffney, he had three uncles also played for the Gators. He made both All-SEC and All-America in both 2000 and 2001.

10. DAVID PALMER, ALABAMA: Even Gene Stallings' conservative offense couldn't keep Palmer from being a game breaker. He was scary good his sophomore and junior years, but it wasn't until 1993 that Stallings really cut him loose. In that season he played wide receiver (61 catches for 1,000 yards), quarterback and running back in addition to returning punts and kickoffs. For his career he had 102 catches for 1,611 yards and 11 touchdowns, 818 yards on kickoff returns and 889 yards on punt returns. He had four touchdowns on returns in his career and he rushed for 598 yards. All-SEC and All-America in 1993.


STERLING SHARPE, SOUTH CAROLINA: He would have been great, even in the SEC but he played a few years before the Gamecocks joined the league. He was an All-America selection at South Carolina in 1986 and 1987. His best season was 1986 when he had 74 catches for 1,106 yards and 10 touchdowns. His career totals are 169 catches for 2,497 yards and 17 touchdowns.

HONORABLE MENTION: Ray Perkins, Alabama; Dennis Homan, Alabama; Wayne Wheeler, Alabama; Bobby Crockett, Arkansas; Jimmy "Red" Phillips, Auburn; Freddie Hyatt, Auburn; Frankie Sanders, Auburn; Walter Reeves, Auburn; Charles Casey, Florida; Richard Trapp, Florida; Cris Collinsworth, Florida; Ricky Nattiel, Florida; Willie Jackson, Florida; Jack Jackson, Florida; Chris Doering, Florida; Reidel Anthony, Florida; Terrence Edwards, Georgia; Hines Ward, Georgia; Brice Hunter, Georgia; Josh Reed, LSU; Eric Martin, LSU; Michael Clayton, LSU; Todd Kinchen, LSU; Floyd Franks, Ole Miss; Vernon Studdard, Ole Miss; Larry Seivers, Tennessee; Willie Gault, Tennessee; Carl Pickens, Tennessee; Peerless Price, Tennessee; Dontae Stallworth, Tennessee; Barry Burton, Vanderbilt; Chuck Scott, Vanderbilt; Keith Edwards, Vanderbilt.

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