The Big Ten's Top 10 WRs

Here's a look at the top ten wide receivers from the Big Ten. This group is led by two Buckeyes in Mike Thomas and Jalin Marshall as well as a pair of Penn State wideouts in Geno Lewis and DaeSean Hamilton and Leonte Carroo from Rutgers.

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It’s time to take a look at the top ten wide receivers from the Big Ten in 2015. This conference has a deep group of elite quarterbacks so production at the wide receiver position should be common place around the league. And it all starts with the national champion Ohio State Buckeyes. Both Michael Thomas and Jalin Marshall sit inside this top ten. Thomas was one of the most productive players in Columbus in 2014 while Marshall is making the move to Urban Meyer’s athletic h-back position this fall.

Rutgers is represented in the No. 2 spot with the talented Leonte Carroo. Penn State, Illinois and Nebraska each have two wide receivers on this list. Speaking of the Illini, freshman sensation Mike Dudek makes the top ten despite an ACL injury in April.

The Big Ten overall has a good passing game and more wide receiver stars will emerge this season.

1) Mike Thomas (Ohio State)

Thomas is one of many outstanding players in the Ohio State junior class and he returns this season as the top wide receiver in the Big Ten. Thomas has very good size at 6-foot-3, 210-pounds. He has terrific hands, athleticism and speed. Thomas is good in the air, showing body control and hand-eye coordination. Last year he posted big numbers, catching 54 passes for 799 yards and nine touchdowns. Now Thomas is the go-to-guy in Columbus, as the Buckeyes are looking to repeat as national champions. They will need his contributions in a big way in the passing game.

2) Leonte Carroo (Rutgers)

Carroo had a terrific 2014 season, earning All-Big Ten honors after catching 55 passes for 1,086 yards and 10 scores for the Scarlet Knights. He also led the nation in yards per catch at 19.7. Carroo has now caught a pass in 20 consecutive games. He could have opted to jump early to the NFL but instead returned to Rutgers. This senior from New Jersey powerhouse Don Bosco Prep is 6-foot-1, 205-pounds. He’s powerfully built big play wideout that has 19 touchdown receptions over the last two seasons. Carroo has easily been their best offensive weapon. Can he post similar numbers with the Scarlet Knights breaking in a new quarterback?

3) DaeSean Hamilton (Penn State)

Despite the offensive inconsistencies of the Nittany Lions in 2014, DaeSean Hamilton put up some outstanding numbers his red-shirt freshman season. He finished the year with 82 receptions for 899 yards. But Hamilton only scored twice. Could he possibly post better numbers in 2015? With an improved offensive line and more consistency from quarterback Christian Hackenberg than certainly that’s a yes. Another big campaign lies ahead for Hamilton.

4) Jalin Marshall (Ohio State)

Marshall is one of the top offensive athletes in the Big Ten. He played high school quarterback before moving to wide receiver last season as a red-shirt freshman. He was second to Michael Thomas in receptions in 2014 with 38 for 499 yards and six touchdowns. Marshall also rushed the ball 25 times for 145 yards and a score. He moved to H-back this spring and then injured his knee. He’s 5-foot-11, 205-pounds and brings a little lightning to the Ohio State offense, especially with his outstanding quickness in the open field. Marshall is a former five-star recruit that was part of the Scout No. 1 ranked 2013 recruiting class that featured players like Joey Bosa, Ezekiel Elliott, Vonn Bell, and J.T. Barrett.

5) Jordan Westerkamp (Nebraska)

Westerkamp should be an offensive star for the Cornhuskers in 2015 under new head coach Mike Riley in the offense he brought to Lincoln. In 2013, he was an All-Big Ten Freshmen member. Westerkamp followed that up with a 44 catch, 747 yards, and five score 2014 season. He’s only 6-foot-0, 195-pounds, but he has a knack for the big play, whether it’s a ridiculous reception or catch and run. Westerkamp may lack elite size but he can certainly catch the football and make plays.

6) Geronimo Allison (Illinois)

Allison had a nice season in 2014 for the Fighting Illini, finishing with 41 receptions for 598 yards and six touchdowns. Even more will be expected from this senior this fall because of the injury to Mike Dudek. Allison, 6-foot-4, 195-pounds, is a junior college transfer with a lot of pressure on him. Look for his production to sky rocket, especially in the front half of this season. He has size and one of the better quarterbacks in the Big Ten throwing to him in Wes Lunt.

7) Geno Lewis (Penn State)

Lewis had a good 2014, finishing with 55 receptions for 751 yards and two touchdowns. Like teammate DaeSean Hamilton his numbers should even be better this season with improved play up front and from his signal caller. The Nittany Lions will have a chance to put together one of the Big Ten’s most balanced and dynamic offenses in 2015 and he will play a huge part. Lewis-Hamilton is one of the top wide receiver tandems in college football.

8) Alex Erickson (Wisconsin)

There’s going to be a lot of pressure on Wisconsin junior wide receiver Alex Erickson in 2015 because he needs someone else to step up at the position in Madison. Simply, he’s their go-to-guy. Erickson, 6-foot-0, 199-pounds, caught 55 passes for 772 yards in 2014, both team highs. He also scored three touchdowns in the Badger run oriented offense. Erickson has 16 starts over the last two seasons and he has become Wisconsin’s most dependable player in the passing game.

9) De’Mornay Pierson-El (Nebraska)

De'Mornay Pierson-El made an impact as a true freshman last season in Lincoln as a punt return guy, averaging an impressive 17.5 yards per return. Now with Mike Riley running the show at Nebraska look for the 5-foot-9, 185-pounder make a big impact on the Cornhusker offense in the slot. Pierson-El is a versatile talent that can be used on jet sweeps or short passes in space. It doesn’t matter, just get him the ball and let him go. Don’t be surprised if Pierson-El is one of the breakout stars in the Big Ten this season.

10) Mike Dudek (Illinois)

Dudek would have been higher had he not hurt his knee this spring. It’s an ACL injury and this Illini star is hoping to be back in October. That’s optimistic but you just never know these days. Dudek had a fantastic true freshman season in 2014, catching 76 passes for 1,038 yards and six touchdowns. He was a freshman All-American. Dudek, 5-foot-11, 185-pounds, will be sorely missed. Considering his outstanding work ethic and determination it will be hard to keep him off the field this fall.

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