More of my 2009 position rankings:
1. Arrelious Benn, Illinois–A long-time HP favorite (he was an HP preseason AA last year), he has the best combination of size, speed and strength of any receiver in college football.
2. Dez Bryant, Oklahoma State–The most dominating wide out in college football. He can take over a game. Also a brilliant return specialist.
3. Michael Floyd, Notre Dame–Was just a freshman last season but displayed the maturity of a senior. A physical receiver with amazing hands, body control and sideline awareness.
4. Jordan Shipley, Texas–Never seems to make a mistake, never seems to drop a ball and is as savvy as they come. Can beat you deep or kill you little by little with the underneath stuff.
5. Julio Jones, Alabama–A prodigy with tremendous upside, he’ll be No. 1 on this list before too long. Already a man amongst boys physically.
6. A. J. Green, Georgia–Had a remarkable freshman season and should be even more productive as a sophomore. Smooth and instinctive, he needs to get a little stronger before he reaches his full potential.
7. Mardy Gilyard, Cincinnati–What an exciting player to watch! Single-handedly kept Cincinnati within respectable distance of Oklahoma last year. Amazing with the ball in his hands.
8. Jacoby Ford, Clemson–The fastest pure receiver in college football history (10.01 100m), he’s poised for a breakout season. Al Davis is already salivating.
9. Damian Williams, USC–A consistent, steady receiver who isn’t especially big or fast, yet always seems to be open. Should build upon a nice performance in the Rose Bowl.
10. Jimmy Young, TCU–Big player receiver who is at his best in big games.
Honorable Mention: Golden Tate, Notre Dame; Brandon LaFell, LSU; Kris Adams, UTEP; Naaman Roosevelt, Buffalo; Eric Decker, Minnesota
New Breakout Stars on the Scene
Jeff Cumberland, Illinois–An athletic phenom at 6-5, 255, who was hurt much of last season. Manhandles defensive backs yet still runs like the wind.
Malcolm Williams, Texas–Showed flashes of brilliance as a true frosh and now should come into his own as one of Colt McCoy’s main targets.
Deonte Thompson, Florida–Someone has to catch all those balls from Tim Tebow this year. Thompson has the speed and hands to become the next star Gator wide out.
Joe Adams, Arkansas–Bobby Petrino’s offense should put up improved passing numbers this year with Ryan Mallett behind center. Look for Adams to be the recipient of much of that improvement.
Taylor Embree, UCLA–Showed he had some of the best hands in college football as just a true freshman. If UCLA’s passing game gets going, he’ll be a big reason why.