Highlighting the Top WR Corps in America – Ole Miss


This upcoming season, I will highlight and scout the top WR groups from schools across the FBS in a new article series. Some of these players will be draft-eligible in 2019, but the groups will not be limited to draft-eligible players. The purpose of this series is to get a head start on analyzing some of the potentially dominant passing attacks for the 2018 college football season, while being able to get early looks into prospects, anticipating their entry into the NFL Draft.

They call themselves “nWo – Nasty Wide Outs.” The name is based on the dominant wrestling stable of the late 1990’s, but does the play of the Rebel receivers live up the that level of hype? In short, yes.

The Ole Miss Rebel receiving corps will be one of the most enticing positional groups in the country this upcoming season. The group possesses a ton of NFL potential with their three returning starters A.J. Brown, D.K. Metcalf, and Demarkus Lodge. Combined, these three standouts accounted for 155 receptions, 2,596 yards, and 25 touchdowns last season. Additionally, among players returning to the Ole Miss roster for 2018, the trio accounts for 82% of the receiving yards and all but one receiving touchdown.

Rising junior A.J. Brown was the leading receiver for the Rebels in 2017 with 75 receptions for 1,252 yards and 11 touchdowns, and is a potential first round draft pick next year. Brown is a unique player, aligning primarily in the slot while possessing dominant outside receiving traits. At 6’1 and 225 pounds, Brown has a broad frame similar to former Rebel wideout Laquon Treadwell. Playing primarily in the slot, Brown has a feel for pressing coverages and working into voids, while having the strength to win above the rim and through contact. Brown has the ball skills to win downfield, while also flashing incredible elusiveness and contact balance for his size that allows him to pick up yards after the catch.

D.K. Metcalf, another rising junior, stands an intimidating 6’4 and 225 pounds, and as a result, has the frame and tools to become a dominant outside receiving threat upon entering the NFL. Metcalf’s play strength is his biggest asset, but that doesn’t mean he lacks the ability to run refined routes or possess the speed to separate. Metcalf is a monster at the catch point with his double-digit-rebounds-per-game-like ball skills. His body control and balance allow him to pick up extra yardage through contact, even when he is forced to adjust to a pass down the field.

Demarkus Lodge is the “veteran” of the group, as the former high school All-American enters his senior season. Lodge is yet another size and speed combination at 6’2 and 199 pounds, with silky smooth movements and body control. That body control is Lodge’s top weapon, as he is a magician along the sideline and extending towards the catch point. Similar to Brown and Metcalf, Lodge has the strength to win at the catch point and stay upright through contact, and runs the ball with an edge unmatched by defenders.

With the transfer of star QB Shea Patterson, the reins fall squarely on the shoulders of Jordan Ta’amu to get these talented pass catchers the football. Luckily, the passing attack barely skipped a beat with Ta’amu at the helm last season, and he seemed locked in during the Rebels’ Spring game. If the last 4 games of 2017 are any indication (1,236 passing yards, 11 touchdowns) then Ta’amu will be more than adequate at spreading the football around to the new age nWo. With NFL talent to burn, the Rebels’ receiving corps may just become the best group in the country in 2018.