This series continues to look at some of the positional questions we have for the various SEC teams. This will not be a look at positional battles per se, instead it will be focused on aspects of those positions from last year and question what we will see in 2017.
We have rolled through the quarterbacks and the running backs so it is time to visit the third of the offensive skill positions. That is exactly what we will do as we hit up the wide receiver spot, this time in the East:
Does Antonio Callaway put up a 1,000 yard season?
Antonio Callaway is clearly the Florida Gators best offensive player and any dream the Gators have of upsetting the preseason rankings and pushing for a College Football Playoff berth will likely come through the wide receiver.
As just a three-star prospect coming out of high school, it is safe to say that Callaway could retire tomorrow and have already surpassed expectations laid out for him when entering Gainesville. Callaway has had a pair of 600-yard seasons – in 2016 he went for 721 yards on 54 catches with five total touchdowns – but expectations for the junior have grown because the Gators seem to have finally found a quarterback capable of consistently getting him the ball but they've also dimmed due to off-the-field issues with Callaway.
Be it Feleipe Franks or Malik Zaire under center, the Gators quarterback will have a legit star at the wide receiver position to sling the ball to. However, if Callaway isn't playing in games he can't do a thing for the Gators.
Can J’Mon Moore find any level of consistency at Missouri?
J’Mon more had one of the more bizarre years of any wide receiver in the country last fall. He put up eye popping numbers – 1,012 yards and eight touchdowns on 62 receptions – but he also had games where he was a complete non-factor. Putting up over 1,000 yards receiving while having four games with less than three catches sounds like an impossible task, but it is one that Moore managed in 2016.
Moore hit these totals because of his ability to be an electric player in the Tigers spread offense. He is their guy who can take shallow crossing routes – where he catches the ball five yards from the line of scrimmage – and turn them in huge gains. Moore led the conference in 10-yard catches (31) and 40-yard grabs (eight) last season.
If Missouri can be more competitive and play less from behind then Moore may not have as many huge games, but if he can be consistent in his output then the Tigers will be better for it.
Can Jauan Jennings lead the offense for Tennessee?
Jauan Jennings had 40 catches (for 580 yards and seven touchdowns) last year with Tennessee. This fall he seems poised to explode as the Vol’s No. 1 receiver, assuming that Tennessee can find someone capable of getting him the ball.
Jennings is an interesting player as he was originally recruited to Knoxville as a dual-threat quarterback. That he has made the transition to wide receiver so seamlessly is a testament to his worth ethic and athletic ability, both of which will need to be in full view this fall if Tennessee is to be productive on offense given the Vol’s heavy losses on that side of the ball.
Jennings is one of those wide outs that is always fighting for extra yardage after a catch and at 6-foot-3 and 209 pounds, he is a load for cornerbacks to try to bring to the ground. Jennings also has a flair for the dramatic – see his Hail Mary catch to beat Georgia – and Tennessee will be looking for more of that on field leadership in 2017.