Trends take time to develop and there is no arguing that over the last 20 years schools such as Miami, Ohio State, and Florida State have rightfully earned the moniker Wide Receiver University. But trends change over time and it looks as though recent history is showing there is a new player vying for the title, West Virginia University.
Over the last three NFL drafts (2013-2015) WVU is the only school to have four wide receivers drafted. The Mountaineers, along with Clemson, are the only teams to have at least two wide receivers go in the first round, Kevin White in 2015 and Tavon Austin in 2013. Clemson had Sammy Watkins in 2014 and Deandre Hopkins in 2013.
Since 2013 there are four schools with at least three wide receivers drafted; Clemson, USC, Oklahoma, and LSU. Of the five schools with at least three WR’s drafted since 2013 only WVU and USC have three players that went in the first three rounds. USC had Nelson Agholor drafted in the first round in 2015, Lee in 2nd round in 2014, and Woods in 2nd round in 2013. Along with White and Austin WVU had Stedman Bailey drafted in the 3rd round in 2013.
Many will try to make the correlation between successful wide receivers and quarterbacks. However, in recent history that is simply not the case. Of the four schools listed above each have had only one quarterback drafted since 2013. The only school to have multiple wide receivers and multiple quarterbacks drafted in that time frame is Florida St with two each; Winston and Manuel at QB and Benjamin and Greene at WR. Whether or not Clint Trickett would have been drafted had he remained healthy is up for debate but his early season stats in 2014 were leading him to receive a shot somewhere at the next level. Whether that would have been being drafted or signed as a free agent unfortunately will never be known.
It is no secret that Dana Holgorsen has a history of developing WR’s for the NFL. However the string of wide receivers that have come out of WVU in the last three years show a new growing trend in Morgantown, one that has never been seen. The Mountaineers have had a total of 10 WR’s drafted in the NFL since 1990, two of those were QB’s at WVU; Darren Studstill and Rasheed Marshall. Of those 8 WR’s that played that position at WVU 4 have been drafted in the last three years.
While WVU is a long way from catching the likes of Miami, Ohio State, and FSU who boast dozens of drafted WR’s in that same time frame (since 1990) there is no doubt that this continued trend will eventually garner a changing of the guard and a new school vying for the title WR U.