Smaller wide receivers provide big numbers

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The next time that you hear someone tell you that a receiver should be 6-foot-4 or taller, just hit ’em with the old saying ‘It ain’t the size of the dog in the fight. It’s the size of the fight in the dog.’

Too much is made over size of wide receivers. It’s all about productivity. Remember, good things come in small packages.

Some smallish receivers are crafty enough to find the opening in the secondary, at times sacrificing speed for savvy. You don’t need to be jumbo-sized to catch a touchdown pass. Size is an advantage on a fade pattern in the corner of the end zone, but there are a multitude of options between the 20’s. As long as you break the plane of the goal line, size doesn’t matter.

Where am I going with all of this? Speed, of course, does enter into the equation, as does the ability to make yards after catch. Some small people have BIG hearts and a trunk load of desire. If you have been overlooked your whole life, you learn to play with a chip on your shoulder.

Here are a list of outstanding receivers on the college level, many of these are headed to the NFL in the near future.

Anthony Miller (5-11, 190) out of Memphis had 92 grabs for 1,407 yards and 17 touchdowns this season. He paced the AAC in receiving. Miller is headed to the NFL, most likely a first day or early second day selection in 2018.

Diontae Johnson (5-11, 181) at Toledo, second in the Mid American Conference with 72 catches totaled 1,257 yards and 13 scores this year. Just a sophomore, he is the nation’s number seven ranked receiver.

KeKe Coutee (5-11, 180) out of Texas Tech had 82 catches with 1,242 yards and 9 touchdowns as a junior.

Penny Hart (5-8, 180) from Georgia State was the top receiver in the Sun Belt with 73 grabs, 1,094 yards and eight touchdowns.

D.J. Moore (5-11, 215) from Maryland topped the Big Ten with 80catches, totaling 1,033 yards including eight touchdowns.

Andy Isabella (5-10, 195) out of UMass recorded 65 catches for 1,020 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Ty Lee (5-9, 163), a Middle Tennessee sophomore, ranked second in Conference USA had 74 catches for 916 yards and five touchdowns.

It’s not only the receivers in college football who overcame size with success. A pair of undersized sophomores quarterbacks had fabulous seasons in the FBS.

McKenzie Milton (5-11, 177), the number six passer in college football, guided UCF to an undefeated season. He passed for 3,795 yards with 35 touchdown passes and only nine interceptions. He will face Auburn in the Peach Bowl. Don’t underestimate him. Too many have already done so this season.

Sophomore quarterback Mason Fine (5-11, 180) heads to the R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl this Saturday with the North Texas Mean Green. He is the ninth ranked passer in the country with 3,749 yards, 28 touchdown passes and 13 interceptions. He was overlooked by recruiters despite setting Oklahoma high school record passing for over 13,000 yards and 166 touchdown passes.

There are some well known receivers in the NFL who have earned their place among elite targets. Stars like Antonio Brown, T.Y. Hilton, Brandin Cooks, Golden Tate and Tyreke Hill top their teams while contributors Taylor Gabriel, Tommylee Lewis, Andrew Hawkins and Jakeem Grant are diminutive but productive.

One of the most well known “undersized” receivers, Steve Smith Sr. (5-9, 195), was a true energizer bunny with 1,031 catches for 14,731 yards and 81 touchdowns during his 16 seasons in the league. He retired as the seventh all-time receiving yardage leader.

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Rene Nadeau

Rene Nadeau


Born and raised in the New Orleans area, Rene Nadeau has been involved in sports ever since his earliest memories. Rene played basketball, wrestled, ran track, and was an All-District running back in football at John F. Kennedy High School. He went on to be a member of the LSU football program, developing a passion for the game in even…

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