Georgia football: The top 5 wide receivers UGA will face this season

Deebo Samuel-South Carolina football-UGA football-Cover 4
South Carolina WRDeebo Samuel is one of the toughest receivers Georgia will face this season.

Welcome to your one-stop shop for Georgia football news and takes every Monday through Friday. Today, we look at a vote that named Athens the best town in college football, a wide receiver who could have a breakout year for UGA and five opposing WRs who could give the Bulldogs trouble this season.

The 5 best WRs Georgia will confront in 2017

We continue our position-by-position breakdown of the best players Georgia will face this season with a look at the wide receivers. Tight ends aren’t included in this list. I’ll get to them a bit later. Let’s get to it.

5. Jauan Jennings, Tennessee — Jennings’ claim to fame for now is coming down with the Hail Mary that beat Georgia at Sanford Stadium last season. (Sorry for dredging up bad memories.) But he was steadily productive beyond that painful 43-yard reception. Jennings had 580 receiving yards and 7 TDs on 14.5 yards per reception last season. At 6-foot-3, he has the physicality to dominate smaller defensive backs, but the Vols’ unsettled situation at quarterback could stunt his growth in 2017.

4. Antonio Callaway, Florida — Callaway led the Gators in receiving in both his freshman and sophomore seasons, with 678 yards as a freshman and 721 as a sophomore. He also has the distinction of being the only Florida player ever to score a TD in five different ways: receiving, rushing, punt return, kick return and passing. He’s one of the most naturally gifted receivers in the country but has been hindered by weak QBs in his first two seasons in Gainesville. If Malik Zaire is as a good as some expect him to be, this season should be Callaway’s best so far.

3. Deebo Samuel, South Carolina — After only 12 receptions as a freshman, Samuel burst onto the scene last season as the Gamecocks’ top receiver. He finished with 783 yards receiving last season and went for more than 80 five times. But he only scored 1 TD as a sophomore. He’ll need to significantly improve upon that shortcoming if South Carolina is to be competitive. But unlike the previous two guys on this list, Samuel’s been working with his QB since last year. Jake Bentley to Samuel could be one of the most potent QB-WR combos in the SEC East this season.

2. J’Mon Moore, Missouri — Moore was a key figure in Missouri’s offensive overhaul last season, with 1,012 yards and 8 TDs as a junior. He’s a big-play threat, with 8 receptions of 40 or more yards last season, tops in the conference. With his size and speed, he could’ve jumped to the NFL. Instead, he’ll be the go-to target in the Tigers’ high-flying attack. If he can cut back on the drops, he has the potential to be the best receiver in the SEC.

1. Equanimeous St. Brown, Notre Dame — Equanimeous St. Brown (sweet name) is the most lethal player in Notre Dame’s offense. In 2016, he led the Irish with 961 yards and 9 TDs at 16.6 yards per reception. At 6-5 with speed to burn, he’s a threat on deep balls and in the red zone. QB Brandon Wimbush will be starting only his second game when UGA and Notre Dame square off, so expect him to rely heavily on St. Brown to gain yardage. With another big year as a junior, a move to the NFL should be in the cards. Then, perhaps it will be time for his brother, 5-star WR Amon-Ra St. Brown (sweeter name), to take his place as the top receiver for the Irish.

UGA’s best individual opponents: QB | RB

Javon Wims ready for breakout year?

Alex Scarborough of ESPN looked at under-the-radar players in the SEC East who could have a big role to play this season. For Georgia, that player is WR Javon Wims.

Like Florida, the Bulldogs can’t afford to hang their hat on a single receiver carrying the offense. Terry Godwin is good, but he’s not an extraterrestrial. For help, look toward former junior college transfer Wims, who was a tad underwhelming during his first season on campus last season, starting just three games and totaling 17 total receptions. At 6-foot-4 with good speed, he still has potential. If [Jacob] Eason takes the second-year leap everyone expects, Wims could become a good red zone target.

Athens named the best town in CFB

Athlon Sports brought together a panel of college football experts — including Rick Neuheisel, Andy Staples, Pat Forde and Bruce Feldman — to vote on the best college football towns in America. And it will come as a surprise to no one who’s spent a game day in the Classic City that Athens was voted No. 1.

Rich in musical history, Athens’ natural charm has long lured college football fans to Northeast Georgia. Bordering the evergreen campus to the north, the Downtown District is home to some of the South’s best music venues, bars and restaurants. There is a plethora of parks, trails and greenways for those who like the fresh air, but come nightfall, be sure to find your way to The 40 Watt Club or Georgia Theatre for a show. Top it all off with Five Points, a mix of mansions and fine dining.

“It has it all. A great downtown area with a lot of great restaurants and bars, a pretty campus and my favorite football stadium.” — Pat Forde, Yahoo!

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