Over the next few weeks, a panel of Scout.com Big Ten reporters will be breaking down the conference position-by-position.
Today we look at the wide receivers, where there was a three-way battle for the top spot.
Was it Michigan, Nebraska or Penn State that was able to produce the conference’s top-ranked wideout?’
The reporters were asked to rank the top five at the position, with five points going to the No. 1 spot, four to No. 2, three to No. 3, and so on...
1) Chris Godwin, Jr., Penn State: 48 points (6 first-place votes)
Godwin is the leading returning receiver in the Big Ten after a nice sophomore campaign in which he racked up 69 catches for 1,101 yards and five touchdowns. In doing so, he became just the third Penn State receiver to compile 1,000 or more receiving yards in a season. His most notable performance of 2015 came when he made 11 catches for 109 yards and two touchdowns in the regular-season finale against Michigan State, but he also finished with more than 100 yards against Ohio State, Maryland, Northwestern and Georgia. He was named second-team All-Big Ten by the Associated Press. Entering his junior season, he has made at least one catch in 25 of his 26 career games.
2015: 69 catches for 1,101 yards and five touchdowns
2) Jehu Chesson, Sr., Michigan: 38 points (2 first-place votes)
Chesson exploded as a junior in 2015, making 12 starts and catching nine touchdowns after finding the end zone just once in the previous two seasons. His signature performance came against Indiana when he made 10 catches for 207 yards and four touchdowns. He had a knack for big-game performances, catching eight balls for 111 yards and a score against Ohio State and tallying five catches for 118 yards and a touchdown against Florida in the Citrus Bowl. As if that weren’t enough, Chesson also showed his versatility with a 66-yard rushing touchdown against Maryland and a 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against Northwestern. He was voted MVP of the 10-3 Wolverines and was also first-team All-Big Ten.
2015: 50 catches for 764 yards and nine touchdowns
3) Jordan Westerkamp, Sr., Nebraska: 34 points (2 first-place votes)
Westerkamp is poised to leave his mark on the Nebraska record book as he enters his final season in Lincoln already ranked in the program’s top 10 in career receiving yards (fourth), career receptions (sixth) and career touchdown catches (ninth). His 2015 totals in which he caught 65 passes for 918 yards were the second- and third-highest single-season totals, respectively, in those two categories. He burst on the scene with his Hail Mary catch against Northwestern in 2013 and followed that up in 2014 with a behind-the-back catch against Florida Atlantic that was voted by ESPN as the College Football Play of the Year. He was a second-team All-Big Ten selection in 2015 by the coaches, media and Associated Press.
2015: 65 catches for 918 yards and seven touchdowns
4) Simmie Cobbs, Jr., Indiana: 20 points (1 first-place vote)
In 2015 Cobbs became the sixth Indiana receiver to eclipse 1,000 yards in one season when he finished with 60 catches for 1,035 yards thanks to a strong end to the year. Over the final three games of the season, Cobbs amassed 20 catches for 397 yards and a touchdown, and he had a 100-yard performance in four of his last seven games. His best showing came against Maryland, when he caught nine passes for 192 yards. His 17.2 yards per catch ranked third in the conference.
2015: 60 catches for 1,035 yards and four touchdowns
5) Amara Darboh, Sr., Michigan: 8 points
Darboh made nine starts in 2015 and was an honorable mention All-Big Ten selection by both the coaches and media after a season in which he hauled in 58 catches for 727 yards and five scores. His most notable performance came against Indiana when he caught eight passes for 109 yards and a touchdown, but he also eclipsed the century mark against Utah when he made eight catches for 101 yards and a score.
2015: 58 catches for 727 yards and five touchdowns
Honorable Mention (received votes):
Ricky Jones, Indiana: Jones finished second on Indiana in 2015 with 906 receiving yards and five touchdowns.
Janarion Grant, Rutgers: A prolific kick returner, Grant has just one career receiving touchdown but should be a bigger part of the offense this fall.
DaeSean Hamilton, Penn State: He was an honorable mention All-Big Ten selection in 2015 after garnering a second-team freshman All-American nod from College Football news in 2014.
Corey Smith, Ohio State: Smith broke his leg in 2015 but received a sixth year of eligibility and will be a veteran contributor for the Buckeyes.
Levern Jacobs, Maryland: Led Maryland in receptions (35) and yards (425) last season.
Brandon Reilly, Nebraska: Reilly is arguably most famous for his game-winning touchdown catch against Michigan State in 2015.
Panelists: Josh Harvey (Nebraska), Mark Brennan (Penn State), Derek Young (Iowa), Keith Cavanaugh (Maryland), Dave Berk (Michigan State), Ryan Burns (Minnesota), Jeremy Werner (Illinois), Ryan Ginn (Ohio State), Ben Worgull (Wisconsin), Sam Hellman (Rutgers) and Josh Newkirk (Michigan)
*** Video produced by Big Red Report's Josh Harvey ***