Welcome back to our coverage of college football. After a small break and the culmination of spring training, we can begin looking forward to the 2024 season. Our first piece will look at the best quarterback/receiver pairings heading into the year. While the quarterback class for next year’s draft may not appear stellar as of yet, there is bags of potential, and that goes for their receiver teammates as well.

Noah Fifita & Tetairoa McMillan - Arizona Wildcats

This little and large combo down in Tucson head up our list. Wildcat fans will have breathed a sigh of relief when the duo committed to staying in the desert instead of following their former head coach, Jedd Fisch, to Washington.

McMillan (6’5) is a versatile receiver. While being rangy and competitive at the catch point, he is shifty enough to be used on end-arounds and had 537 yards after catch in 2023. Fifita (5’11) is diminutive but has a big arm and excellent pocket mobility. You can expect the two to link up regularly in 2023.

Brady Cook & Luther Burden III - Missouri Tigers

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Luther Burden heads into the 2024 campaign as the likely no.1 receiver on most people’s draft boards. At 5’11 his size will be a concern, but Burden dominated from the slot for Missouri last season. He racked up an impressive 1,209 receiving yards and nine touchdowns in 2023. Throwing him the ball was Brady Cook, who enjoyed a breakout season with Burden. It was the major reason why the Tigers surprised the SEC and finished 11-2.

Jaxson Dart & Tre Harris - Ole Miss Rebels

Tre Harris was one of my favourite receivers last season. He was a dominating force in the SEC, having moved up from group-of-5 LA Tech. His speed and physicality translated to the higher level, with standout performances against LSU and Texas A&M.

Dart, too, was a product of Ole Miss’ transfer policy. The former 5-star QB began life at USC but blossomed for the Rebels under the tutelage of Lane Kiffin. He has some work to do to become a serious draft prospect but he still runs a highly efficient offense in Jackson.

Shedeur Sanders & Will Sheppard - Colarado Buffaloes

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Colorado have once again spent the offseason under the microscope. That’s what having Deion Sanders as head coach will do. His son and QB, Shedeur was also outspoken about former teammates but, I doubt he will have too many complaints about one new addition. Former Vanderbilt wideout Will Sheppard was a rare bright spot for the Commodores and could take his game to the next level with potential first-rounder Sanders.

Quinn Ewers & Isaiah Bond - Texas Longhorns

Ask any Alabama fan what the highlight of their season was, and the likely answer is Isaiah Bond’s late touchdown grab vs Auburn, which extended the Crimson Tide’s season. Despite flashes of talent, Bond failed to assert himself as the true WR1 for ‘Bama. He now has a chance to do so for the Longhorns.

Quarterback Quinn Ewers will need a new favourite target, having lost both Xavier Worthy and AD Mitchell, and Bond is odds-on to take that role. It’s a high-pressure situation for both, as Ewers has NFL draft expectations in front of him and Arch Manning waiting patiently behind him.

Carson Beck & Kolbie Young - Georgia Bulldogs

Carson Beck in Georgia is another quarterback who will need a reliable new target. The Bulldogs lost Brock Bowers, Ladd McConkey and Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint, so there is space for someone to emerge.

While Colbie Young isn’t atop the depth chart yet, I think he has the highest upside of the receivers on the roster. The Miami transfer had 574 receiving yards last season, and at 6’5, he provides a big target area for Beck to find downfield.

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Will Howard & Jeremiah Smith - Ohio State Buckeyes

Could a freshman emerge as the leading receiver on an Ohio State stacked with talent and a production line of wideouts waiting their turn? I think so, especially when considering the early murmurings of the Buckeyes’ spring training. Smith is a freaky speed/size combo and could leapfrog the likes of Carnell Tate and Brandon Inniss for targets. 

Kansas State transfer Will Howard has a lot of pressure on his shoulders, considering he is expected to guide this CFB ‘dream team’ to a National Championship. The likes of Smith and Emeka Egbuka mean he should hit the ground running.

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Grayson McCall & Kevin Concepcion - NC State Wolfpack

One of the outstanding performances of 2023 was NC State freshman receiver Kevin Concepcion. Operating mainly out of the slot, Concepcion had 845 receiving yards and ten touchdowns, landing him the ACC Freshman of the Year award. He will now face the adjustment of a new quarterback as Grayson McCall arrives. 

McCall was ultra-successful for Coastal Carolina, but in his sixth year, he will be keen to show he is not simply a product of a quirky system. NC State will allow him to shine in a more traditional offense and hopefully boost his draft stock.

Cam Ward & Xavier Restrepo - Miami Hurricanes

Mario Cristobel is beginning to feel the heat in Miami. He had to make a significant play at the quarterback position and did so by landing Washington State transfer Cam Ward. He was highly coveted and almost headed to the NFL Draft, only to choose to strengthen his draft stock with a year in Miami. Slot receiver Xavier Restrepo led the ‘Canes in receiving yards in 2023, and his polished route-running should suit Ward’s quick-hitting style perfectly.

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Garrett Nussmeier & Kyren Lacy - LSU Tigers

Rounding out our top 10, we have two players looking to emerge from the shadow of their predecessors. The LSU offense was high-octane last year, and considering the defense, it needed to be. Now, with the departure of Jayden Daniels, Malik Nabers and Brian Thomas Jr. the new duo of Garrett Nussmeier and Kyren Lacy must come to the fore.

Nussmeier has waited patiently for a shot as a starter, Daniels arrived and leapfrogged him, and the early signs from camp have been positive. Lacy will likely be his number 1 target after grabbing seven touchdowns in 2023.

Mock Draft

Rory-Joe Daniels

College Football Lead Writer