Recruiting: Top Wide Receivers

CSTV Recruiting with Tom Lemming
Generation Next

Aug. 9, 2005

By Tom Lemming

Special to


The third in a series of positional prospect rankings examines the top wideout from the recruiting class of 2006.


1. Percy Harvin, Landstown (Va.), 5-11, 182, 4.34 (40-yard dash)


Harvin, widely considered the most electric ballplayer in the country, would be ranked as the nation's No. 1 wide receiver or No. 1 cornerback, depending on which position he chooses. The Virginia product can create any time he has the ball in his hands; in the open field, he's like watching Baryshnikov. Tennessee, Southern Cal and Michigan are probably at the top of his list right now, but you can't rule out the Virginia schools and the Florida schools. I compare him to Peter Warrick, Rocket Ismail and Desmond Howard -- and he could end up being better than all of them. Last season, he rushed for 690 yards and nine touchdowns while catching 56 balls for 983 yards and 17 scores. On the other side of the ball, he added six interceptions and 38 tackles. Suffice it to say, Harvin realized the considerable hype against Robinson in the state title game, netting three interceptions, four touchdowns and 476 yards of total offense.


2. David Ausberry, Lemoore (Calif.), 6-5, 215 lbs., 4.59


As far as prototypical wide receivers go, Ausberry is probably the best. The Lemoore, Calif. native is a Mike Williams clone. A top power forward who averages over 20 points per game for his school's basketball team, he can jump out of the gym. Last season, he nabbed 35 passes for 850 yards and 17 scores, adding 430 yards on the ground despite playing most of the season with a sprained ankle. He wants to go to Southern Cal, but they're loaded at wide receiver. He's getting offers from every school in the country -- Michigan, Notre Dame and Georgia are contenders, too -- but USC will try to find room for him.


3. Chris Bell, Granby (Va.), 6-4, 205 lbs., 4.38


From an athletic standpoint, Bell is nearly identical to Ausberry. He's not quite as polished, but he certainly has as much ability as any player in the country. He'll be an impact player as a freshman. He plays on a team that doesn't throw the ball a whole lot; I think they will this year. Despite constant double teams, Bell caught 58 passes for 841 yards and 10 scores in 2004. Bell hasn't hinted where he's headed, and everybody's coming after him, among them Virginia, Miami, Southern Cal, Florida, Florida State, Texas, Oklahoma, Michigan and Notre Dame.


4. Jamar Hornsby, Jacksonville (Fla.), 6-4, 205 lbs., 4.5


The best athlete in the state of Florida, Hornsby is by turns track star, basketball star, wide receiver and free safety. He probably had a better year in the secondary than he did at wide receiver, so where he plays in college probably depends on which school he signs with. The Sandalwood native is an effortless runner -- he looks like he's running slowly when he's really picking it up. For such a big guy, he can also create after the catch very well. He caught 20 passes for 480 yards and nine scores in a run-oriented offense. He also rushed for 220 yards and four scores. Playing both free safety and cornerback, he recorded 15 sacks and five interceptions while causing six fumbles and batting down 12 other passes. Uncommitted to date, Hornsby's short list includes usual suspects Florida, Florida State, Miami, Michigan and Ohio State.


5. Jamere Holland, Taft H.S. (Calif.), 6-1, 182 lbs., 4.3


USA Today ranks Holland among the nation's top runners in both the 100- and 200-meters, and he's only a junior. Indeed, the California native is the nation's fastest player. While his football has yet to catch up to his track, his blazing speed will allow him to become perhaps the biggest impact player in the country. He may not have the flexibility in the open field of a Percy Harvin, but he's much faster than Harvin and everybody else. He nabbed 35 passes for 967 yards and 17 scores last season, averaging 25 yards per catch. No defense has been able to stop him. While Southern Cal is the unsurprising favorite, it's clear Holland is looking for a school with strong track and football programs.


6. Chris Mitchell, Ehret H.S. (La.), 6-2, 195 lbs., 4.38


Most others don't have Mitchell rated as high as No. 6, but the Louisiana native has caught a lot of passes for Ehret -- including 70 for 1,150 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2004. He's got decent size, sure hands and tremendous speed, and he's going to put it all together this year. On junior film, he was an impact player, and stands to get a lot more attention in 2005. Miami leads Ole Miss (where his brother currently plays), Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State in the running.


7. Terrence Austin, Long Beach Poly (Calif.), 5-10, 165 lbs., 4.4


So far, Austin has played second fiddle to DeSean Jackson, the MVP of last year's U.S. Army game and sort of the Percy Harvin of 2004. And Austin still caught a good number of passes. This season is his year to shine at the most productive wide receiver high school in the country, Long Beach Poly. Big things are expected of the California native, who possesses good speed, solid hands and the ability to create in the open field. Southern Cal has yet to offer, but they'll be the frontrunner if they do. Also courting Austin are UCLA, Notre Dame, Cal and Oregon.


8. Adron Tennell, Irving H.S. (Texas), 6-5, 200 lbs., 4.45


Tennell is another big guy who runs uncommonly well for his size. He's a pure athlete with a tremendous upside, blessed with good hands and mobility. The prototypical wide receivers that you see of Tennell's size -- like Randy Moss and Terrell Owens in the pros -- can run through arm tackles and are awfully difficult for defensive backs to stay with because of their height, leaping ability and hands. The Irving, Texas product caught 40 balls for 986 yards and 13 scores in 2004. In the winter, he averaged 12 points and 13 boards for the basketball team (and has drawn interest from Baylor and Texas A&M for that sport). Football-wise, it would appear both Oklahoma schools have the inside track.


9. Richard Jackson, Claremont (Fla.), 6-3, 200 lbs., 4.6


Tall and deceptively fast, Jackson made first team All-State in Florida after catching 73 passes for 1,274 yards and 11 touchdowns. He doesn't have top-end speed but, on film, he never gets caught from behind, and he's got a pair of the surest hands in the country. Coveted as a basketball recruit, Jackson has a remarkable ability to get open and catch anything within reach. Miami, Notre Dame, Florida State and Florida are his top four.


10. Deon Beasley, West Orange (Texas) 5-11, 162 lbs., 4.3


A five-star talent at wideout or cornerback, Beasley has already committed to Texas. He could be an All-American at either wide receiver, defensive back or punt returner. One of the more explosive players in the country, he's been described as a poor man's Percy Harvin. His daunting forty-yard dash time alone makes him a likely immediate contributor for the Longhorns. In 2004, he caught 33 passes for 801 yards and 13 scores. He also returned two punts, of 63 and 55 yards, for touchdowns.


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