FootballWill Bryant

Fantasy: Freshman Receivers

FootballWill Bryant
Fantasy: Freshman Receivers

Wide receivers are tough to gauge in college. They’re known to grow in production throughout their college careers.

Some start as returners, or running backs and find their way to the receiver position over time. It’s not an overnight process — see Mack Hollins — but a journey toward becoming a star wide receiver.

Still, there are exceptions. Some freshmen come in and perform at an extremely high level.  

Thanks to the winner of last week's Twitter poll, Jarrett Corder, this week's theme was best seasons by freshmen wide receivers.

No. 5 Brooks Foster 2006 : 38 receptions - 501 total yards - 2 touchdowns = 100.1 fantasy points

Foster was one of the bright spots on the 2006 Tar Heel roster. He ranked second on the team in receptions, and receiving yards.

He posted his career high in receptions in his first college game, snagging 11 passes for 120 yards. This game turned out to be over  ⅕ of his season's fantasy production.

His following seasons all had similar stat lines, but his first was one to remember.

No. 4 Ryan Switzer 2013: 32 receptions - 370 yards from scrimmage - 6 touchdowns = 105 fantasy points

Mr. Return. This is how the legend of Ryan Switzer was born. In his first campaign at UNC, we got our first glimpse of the Switz Army Knife as he put together a season that got us all excited for the three years to come.

It took until Week 10 at Pittsburgh, but he was a consistent threat to score from then on. In the last five weeks of his first year, Switz compiled 78.5 of his 105 fantasy points — thanks in large part to five punt return touchdowns.

No. 3 Jawarski Pollock 2002: 31 receptions - 465 total yards - 4 touchdowns = 111.5 fantasy points

Pollock had an exceptional rookie campaign for UNC. He ranked near the team's ceiling in every receiving category.

He recorded at least three catches in seven of the 11 games, and at least 34 receiving yards in eight of them.

He was never able to match his freshman scoring production, but Pollock had four solid seasons in Chapel Hill.

No. 2 Hakeem Nicks 2006 39 receptions - 670 yards from scrimmage - 4 touchdowns = 130 fantasy points

A classic college receiver progression here. Nicks increased his yardage total by nearly 300 each year from his freshman to junior, while also seeing his touchdowns increase each season as well.

His breakout game came in South Bend on November 4. Nicks torched the Irish for 6 catches, 171 yards, and 2 scores.

He gave a taste of what he would bring to the table throughout his college career.

No. 1 Quinshad Davis 2012:  61 receptions - 776 yards from scrimmage - 5 touchdowns = 168.8 fantasy points

Davis was a model of consistency in his four years at Chapel Hill. He recorded at least 40 catches, and four touchdowns in each season he donned Tar Heel Blue.

His performance in his first year labeled him as a play maker for UNC, and he confirmed that with a reliable four-year career.

@willdbryant