2014 Preseason Award Projections: Biletnikoff Award

By Charlie Campbell
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Heading into the 2014 college football season, WalterFootball.com will debut our projections for the nation’s leaders during the fall. The All-American teams always have some surprises, and this coming fall’s stars could be the headline players next May for the 2015 NFL Draft. We also will project the winners of the postseason awards that are given out to the best of college football.

The Biletnikoff Award is given to the top wide receiver in college football. Last year’s winner was Oregon State wide receiver Brandin Cooks.

Biletnikoff Award Winner:

Rashad Greene, Florida State

Brandin Cooks, surprisingly, won the award over Sammy Watkins last year, so that has an obvious influence on my pick. I think Amari Cooper could be the best receiver in the country, but I’m positive other wide outs will put up bigger stat lines. Thus, I think the Biletnikoff Award could go to another receiver who has large totals.

Other wide outs in this prediction will probably be drafted earlier than Greene, but the senior could produce a massive 2014 season. He is Jameis Winston’s favorite receiver and saw more targets than any other Seminole last year. With Greene returning and Kelvin Benjamin in the NFL, Greene could see even more passes thrown his direction in 2014. As the No. 1 receiver in Florida State’s offense, Greene should put up huge numbers while also having a large audience from starring for the defending National Champs.

Playing with the Heisman Trophy winner Winston will also shine a big spotlight on Greene’s production. The 6-foot, 180-pound Greene doesn’t have great size or elite speed for the NFL, but he should dominate the ACC and could easily be one of the nation’s leading receivers.

Biletnikoff Runner-Up:

Nelson Agholar, USC

The 6-foot, 185-pound Agholor looks very similar to other USC wide receivers Marqise Lee and Robert Woods. All three have some burst and quickness but aren’t the largest of receivers. Both Lee and Woods produced massive seasons in their careers as Trojans, and with both of them in the NFL, it could be Agholor’s turn for a huge year.

Agholor broke out in 2013 as Marqise Lee drew lots of attention. Agholor was the starter replacing Robert Woods had a solid debut. The sophomore outproduced Lee in 2013 with 56 receptions for 918 yards and six scores.

The Trojans should have a well-rounded offense under new head coach Steve Sarkisian. With an experienced quarterback in Cody Kessler, a talented running game and strong offensive line, Agholar should be set up to produce. He has the physical talent to put up big numbers, and now he has the opportunity.

Biletnikoff Dark Horse:

Stefon Diggs, Maryland

Diggs is one of the most electric players in college football and should be poised for a breakout junior season. Diggs made an immediate impact in 2012. The freshman caught 54 passes for 848 yards with six touchdowns. He made a big impact on special teams as well. Diggs averaged 10 yards per punt return and 28.5 yards on his kick returns. He had two kicks brought back for touchdowns.

As a sophomore, Diggs was off to a great start. He recorded 34 receptions for 587 yards (17.3 average) and three touchdowns before breaking his right fibula in October. The injury caused him to miss the rest of the season.

The ingredients seem to be there for Diggs to have a huge season. Maryland has some weak opponents early in the year before some challenging Big Ten programs. Diggs could pad his stats against the weak teams and add to those numbers as Maryland trails against the better opponents and features Diggs to try to compete with the likes of Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin.

Honorable Mentions: Alabama’s Amari Cooper, Stanford’s Ty Montgomery, Auburn’s Sammie Coates, Arizona State’s Jaelen Strong, Baylor’s Antwan Goodley, Houston’s Deontay Greenberry, Oklahoma’s Dorial Green-Beckham, Ole Miss’ Laquan Treadwell, Miami’s Stacy Coley, Tennessee’s MarQuez North, Oregon’s Bralon Addison, Georgia’s Malcolm Mitchell, South Carolina’s Shaq Roland, Arizona’s Austen Hill, Washington’s Kasen Williams, North Carolina’s Quinshad Davis, Louisville’s DeVante Parker and Notre Dame’s Davaris Daniels.

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