2024 Big Ten WR Rankings: Oregon’s Tez Johnson, Evan Stewart Form Best Duo

    The additions of Oregon, Washington, UCLA, and USC bolster the 2024 Big Ten Rankings, but several returners fill the list.

    Marvin Harrison Jr., Roman Wilson, Isaiah Williams, KeAndre Lambert-Smith, and Deion Burks have all left the conference via the NFL Draft and the transfer portal, and several other talented pass catchers have departed due to graduation.

    Yet, the influx of four of the Pac-12’s best programs — Oregon, UCLA, USC, and Washington — has made the blow more palatable. Now home to a whopping 18 teams, what’s the state of the 2024 Big Ten WR Rankings? 

    Big Ten 2024 WR Rankings

    10) Jeremiah Smith, Ohio State Buckeyes

    If Jeremiah Smith plays significant snaps, he could crack the top five by the end of the season. If he doesn’t, he’ll fall off the list completely. However, all he has done in the spring is impress coaches, players, and fans alike.

    Ryan Day historically doesn’t play true freshmen WRs; even Marvin Harrison Jr. struggled to see the field early on. But Smith has shown he isn’t a WR1 for the future — he could be Ohio State’s leading pass catcher from Day 1.

    9) Jeremiah Hunter, Washington Huskies

    Cal quietly posted a 6-7 record and made a bowl game last year, and their success was in no small part due to Jeremiah Hunter. After putting up over 900 yards on 60 catches in 2022, Hunter’s numbers fell to 62-702-7 due to QB play, but there is no arguing his talent.

    Now paired with HC Jedd Fisch and QB Will Rogers at Washington, the sure-handed WR is primed to reach new heights.

    8) Will Pauling, Wisconsin Badgers

    After following HC Luke Fickell to Wisconsin, Will Pauling earned a starting spot and enjoyed his best season yet (74-837-6). He primarily operates out of the slot, limiting his overall impact, but Pauling slips into soft spots in zone and has the lower-body explosion to separate against man.

    7) Daniel Jackson, Minnesota Golden Gophers

    If Daniel Jackson continues his linear growth (167, 267, 557, 831 yards in the last four seasons), he’ll surpass the millennium mark in 2024. He has proven to be the Golden Gophers’ top receiving option, and with former New Hampshire star Max Brosmer under center, Jackson should have no issue taking the top off defenses.

    6) Dymere Miller, Rutgers Scarlet Knights

    Yes, Dymere Miller is coming from an FCS program (Monmouth) and will be catching passes from former Minnesota QB Athan Kaliakmanis at Rutgers. On paper, that doesn’t appear to be an enticing situation, but he eviscerated every defense he faced last season, including the lone FBS team in FAU.

    Miller moves at a different speed and has the skill set that will translate to the Big Ten as a three-level threat (before the catch, at the catch point, and after the catch).

    5) Elijah Sarratt, Indiana Hoosiers

    Following HC Curt Cignetti to Indiana, Elijah Sarratt’s role as the WR1 is safe. His 700 yards and 13 TDs as a freshman were only an appetizer to his 82-1,191-8 sophomore feast.

    He is a contested-catch connoisseur with movement skills that can win both inside and out. And with a healthy Kurtis Rourke delivering him the ball downfield, Sarratt should mirror his best season in the Sun Belt.

    4) Zachariah Branch, USC Trojans

    As a true freshman, Zachariah Branch exhibited his game-breaking ability on special teams, returning a kickoff and a punt for touchdowns. He became USC’s first-ever true freshman first-team All-American, hauling in 31 catches for 320 yards and two scores and taking nine carries for 70 yards and another TD.

    You know what to do, Lincoln Riley: make Branch the root of the offense and watch him feed on defenses like photosynthesis.

    3) Tez Johnson, Oregon Ducks

    Tez Johnson has been overlooked due to the addition of Evan Stewart this offseason, but he should surpass the 1,000-yard mark yet again with Dillon Gabriel under center. A former Troy transfer, Johnson is a yards-after-catch (YAC) monster who easily creates separation from the slot due to his searing short-area speed and acceleration.

    2) Emeka Egbuka, Ohio State Buckeyes

    Injuries slowed Emeka Egbuka in 2023, but as the new WR1 — at least while Jeremiah Smith gets his feet wet — he is primed for his best season yet. He knows how to get open and has the strong hands to reel in the football and turn upfield.

    With Chip Kelly calling the plays, Will Howard throwing the ball, and Quinshon Judkins and TreVeyon Henderson forcing defenses to stack the box, Egbuka should explode in 2024.

    1) Evan Stewart, Oregon Ducks

    Evan Stewart puts DBs on the back of milk cartons due to his blazing twitch and burst on his routes, sending them to different area codes at all levels of the field.

    His slight frame (6’0″ and 175 pounds) limits his contested-catch ability, and he wasn’t much of a YAC threat at Texas A&M – but catching passes from Dillon Gabriel in a wide-open Oregon offense should allow Stewart to hit a new gear.

    2024 Big Ten WR Rankings | 11-20

    11) J.Michael Sturdivant, UCLA
    12) Julian Fleming, Penn State
    13) Mario Sanders II, Illinois
    14) Tai Felton, Maryland
    15) Donaven McCulley, Indiana
    16) Jahmal Banks, Nebraska
    17) Carnell Tate, Ohio State
    18) Logan Loya, UCLA
    19) Pat Bryant, Illinois
    20) Kaden Prather, Maryland

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