Best of the decade: WRs

This is the fourth in a series of articles ranking Tennessee's best players of the decade 2000-2009. Today's focus: wide receivers.

1. ROBERT MEACHEM: Fast and physical at 6-2 and 210 pounds, he led the Vols with 29 receptions as a sophomore, then exploded as junior in 2006 - posting 71 catches, a school-record 1,298 yards, 11 touchdowns and an impressive 18.3 yards-per-catch average. He jumped to the NFL after averaging a whopping 17.1 yards per catch in three college seaons. Meachem ranks fourth among all-time Vols in receiving yards (2,140), fifth in receiving touchdowns (17) and sixth in catches (125), despite forgoing his senior year.

2. CEDRICK WILSON: A converted quarterback, this 5-10, 180-pounder lacked ideal size and speed but had every other attribute a wideout needs, including the willingness - and toughness - to go over the middle. He stands second on the school's all-time list in receiving touchdowns (24), third in catches (159) and fifth in yards (2,137). A feisty competitor, he averaged 14.5 yards per catch as a junior and caught 12 TD passes as a senior.

3. DONTE STALLWORTH: Hampered somewhat by injuries, he caught 99 passes in three college seasons before jumping to the NFL. The 6-0, 190-pounder averaged a spectacular 20.0 yards per catch (41 receptions, 821 yards) as a junior and 17.6 yards for his career. Although he isn't among Tennessee's top 16 players in career receptions, he ranks 10th in career yardage at 1,747 despite playing just three seasons.

4. KELLEY WASHINGTON: He wasn't as good as he thought he was - no one could be - but the self-styled "Future" was pretty spectacular as a 22-year-old freshman in 2001, recording 1,010 receiving yards on 64 grabs for a 15.8 per-catch average. Packing 215 pounds on a chiseled 6-3 frame, he averaged an imposing 19.3 yards on just 23 catches in an injury-shortened sophomore season, then jumped to the NFL. His career stats at UT show 87 receptions for 1,453 yards and a sparkling 16.7 yards-per-catch average. He still holds the single-game record for receiving yards with 256 (on 11 catches) vs. LSU in 2001.

5. GERALD JONES: He still has a year of eligibility remaining but Jones already has done enough to warrant inclusion on this list. Proving you can be productive without great speed, this 6-0, 195-pounder recorded team highs in receptions (46), receiving yards (680) and yards per catch (14.8) as a junior in 2009, bumping his three-year totals to 87 catches, 1,114 yards and 12.8 yards per catch. He enhanced his value as an effective runner out of a direct-snap package known as the "G-Gun."


Inside Tennessee Top Stories