Steve Breaston, 5th
Mario Manningham, So.
Adrian Arrington, RS So.
Carl Tabb, 5th
Doug Dutch, RS So.
LaTerryal Savoy, RS Fr.
Antonio Bass, So.
High school: Edgewater High School in Orlando, FL
Ratings: Rivals 4-star and #8 WR; Scout 3-star and #39 WR
Other notable offers: Florida State, North Carolina State, Ohio State
Scoop: Mathews was a sure-handed, slow-footed wide receiver who looked like the second coming of Jason Avant. His catches and touchdowns slowly dwindled after his sophomore year (thanks to a new offense that emphasized slot receivers), but his yards per catch increased incrementally as he got older. Mathews caught 7, 39, 35, and 29 passes for 0, 3, 2, and 1 touchdowns in his four years. That went along with yardage outputs of 68, 366, 409, and 352, respectively. Mathews made some spectacular catches over the years, but quarterback play and offensive schemes limited his play. He went undrafted in the 2010 NFL Draft and has been on practice squads in the NFL.
High school: Lemoore High School in Lemoore, CA
Ratings: Rivals 4-star and #5 WR; Scout 5-star and #6 WR
Other notable offers: Georgia, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State
Scoop: Ausberry redshirted in 2006, but started several games as a redshirt freshman in 2007. From 2007 to 2009, he caught 44 passes for 448 yards and 3 touchdowns. Prior to the 2010 season, the 6’4″, 235-pounder switched to tight end. He caught 20 passes for 252 yards and 4 touchdowns in 2010. Overall, he had 64 receptions for 700 yards and 7 touchdowns. Ausberry was drafted in the 7th round (#241 overall) by the Oakland Raiders in the 2011 NFL Draft.
High school: Granby High School in Norfolk, VA
Ratings: Rivals 4-star and #11 WR; Scout 5-star and #5 WR
Other notable offers: Cal, Florida, Miami, Virginia Tech
College: Penn State (then Norfolk State)
Scoop: As a freshman and sophomore, Bell caught 8 total passes for 162 yards. However, Bell was kicked off the team prior to 2008 for threatening defensive tackle teammate Devon Still with a knife. He transferred to Norfolk State, redshirted in 2009 to get his academics in order, and finished his career in 2010 with 51 receptions for 958 yards and 13 touchdowns on the season. He went undrafted in the 2011 NFL Draft.
High school: Landstown High School in Virginia Beach, VA
Ratings: Rivals 5-star and #1 overall player; Scout 5-star and #2 WR
Other notable offers: Florida State, Miami, USC
Scoop: Harvin was an instant success at Florida. His receiving stats as a freshman weren’t eye-popping (34 catches, 427 yards, 2 touchdowns), but he also averaged over 10 yards a carry on 41 carries as a do-it-all offensive player. His receiving numbers improved consistently over the next two seasons; his rushing totals improved while the averages dropped slightly. He finished his three-year career in 2008 with two national championship rings. He caught 133 passes for 1,929 yards (14.5 yards per catch) and 13 touchdowns, and he rushed the ball 194 times for 1,852 yards (9.5 yards per attempt) and 19 touchdowns. He was selected in the 1st round (#22 overall) by the Minnesota Vikings in 2009. Since then he was named the Sporting News Offensive Rookie of the Year, was named to the Pro Bowl as a kick returner, has 1,900 yards from scrimmage and 12 touchdowns, and also has returned 3 kickoffs for touchdowns.
Derrell Johnson (Koulianos)
High school: Cardinal Mooney High School in Youngstown, OH
Ratings: Rivals 3-star; Scout 3-star and #47 WR
Other notable offers: Cincinnati, Illinois, North Carolina, West Virginia
Scoop: Johnson-Koulianos (who added the “Koulianos” after high school) was a high school quarterback who switched to full-time receiver in college and redshirted in 2006. He was a steady contributor for the Hawkeyes, catching between 38 and 45 passes each of the next four seasons. He finished his career in 2010 with a total of 168 catches for 2,554 yards (15.1 yards per catch) and 16 touchdowns. Johnson-Koulianos also returned 60 career kickoffs for 1,575 yards (26.3 yards per attempt) and 2 touchdowns. However, he was arrested for drug charges prior to Iowa’s bowl game as a senior, which prevented him from being drafted in the 2011 NFL Draft. He left Iowa as the Hawkeyes’ career leader in receptions and receiving yards.
High school: St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland, OH
Ratings: Rivals 3-star and #64 WR; Scout 3-star and #44 WR
Other notable offers: Boston College, Illinois, Iowa
College: Notre Dame
Scoop: Parris was a big receiver (6’3″, 205 lbs.) without much speed. He had his best season as a sophomore in 2007 with 29 catches for 361 yards and 1 touchdown. That was roughly half his career output, as he totaled 64 receptions for 645 yards and 2 touchdowns. He went undrafted in the 2010 NFL Draft.
High school: Peach County High School in Fort Valley, GA
Ratings: Rivals 4-star and #7 WR; Scout 4-star and #18 WR
Other notable offers: Auburn, Georgia, Mississippi, Ohio State, South Carolina
Scoop: Slaughter did not qualify coming out of high school in 2006 and attended Hargrave Military Academy for one season. He signed with Auburn in 2007. In two seasons at Auburn, he caught 18 passes for 198 yards and 1 touchdown. However, he was suspended for part of the 2008 season for a violation of team rules and did not return in 2009. His football career appears to be over.
High school: Springdale High School in Springdale, AR
Ratings: Rivals 4-star and #9 WR; Scout 4-star and #8 WR
Other notable offers: Florida, LSU, Oklahoma, Texas
College: Arkansas (then USC)
Scoop: As a freshman at Arkansas in 2006, Williams caught 19 passes for 235 yards and 2 touchdowns. However, he didn’t like the Razorbacks offense, which was run-oriented by that time, and transferred to USC along with his quarterback and high school teammate Mitch Mustain. He sat out the 2007 due to NCAA transfer rules. He broke out in 2008 with 58 receptions for 869 yards and 9 touchdowns. Williams topped that production in 2009 with 70 catches for 1,010 yards and 6 touchdowns. He also turned into a very good punt returner in 2009 and returned 24 punts for 340 yards (14.2 yards per return) and 2 touchdowns. Williams left college after his redshirt junior season and was taken in the 3rd round (#77 overall) by the Tennessee Titans in the 2010 NFL Draft. He had 13 receptions for 195 yards as a rookie in 2010.
High school: Mainland High School in Daytona Beach, FL
Ratings: Rivals 4-star and #14 WR; Scout 4-star and #15 WR
Other notable offers: Florida, Florida State, LSU, Tennessee
Scoop: Wilson redshirted in 2006 and then played sparingly in the next two seasons, totaling 15 receptions for 126 yards. However, he suffered an ankle injury that severely hampered his ability to play and was given a medical scholarship at Georgia, thus ending his career for them. He resurfaced as a graduate student at Bethune-Cookman in 2010, but could only muster 5 catches for 62 yards in three games. He went undrafted in the 2011 NFL Draft.
It wasn’t a stellar class of receivers in 2006, aside from a couple stars. There just wasn’t much depth. Mathews actually fit Michigan’s offense well at the time and likely would have been a productive wide receiver if the Wolverines’ tradition of a pro-style offense and stellar quarterback play would have continued. Unfortunately for him, the departure of the wide receivers ahead of him on the depth chart (Mario Manningham, Adrian Arrington) coincided with the arrival of a spread offense and inexperienced quarterbacks.
Biggest miss: Harvin. Harvin was lightning fast and could have been a great player in just about any college offense. Furthermore, a 2008 offense that included Harvin would have been a dangerous one, even if Nick Sheridan and Steve Threet were the only options at quarterback. Harvin played high school ball in a talent-rich area (southeastern Virginia, which produced the likes of Allen Iverson and Michael Vick) and still made high school opponents look like they were running in place.
Biggest bust: Slaughter. There were several “busts” to choose from in this group, but I have a hard time calling Wilson a “bust” since he suffered an injury. Bell certainly had some potential that was wasted at Penn State, but Slaughter didn’t even revive his career at a lower level – he just disappeared. Eighteen career receptions is pretty disappointing.
Best in class: Jeremy Maclin. This was a tough choice over Harvin and Hakeem Nicks (North Carolina and now the New York Giants). Maclin played in a defense-starved Big 12 conference at Missouri, but he put up stellar all-around numbers and was selected higher than both of his counterparts in the draft. Maclin redshirted in 2006 but exploded in 2007. He only played two college seasons, but had 2,315 yards receiving, 668 yards rushing, and 5 return touchdowns (two of which went for 99 yards) out of his 33 total touchdowns. He was the #19 overall pick by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2009 and has 1,737 yards and 14 touchdowns so far in his NFL career.