10 Pac-12 wide receivers to know for 2023
The 2023 Pac-12 football season is right around the corner, with kickoff only two months away.
Before things get going on the gridiron, Pac-12.com will be highlighting some of the Conference's top student-athletes at each position in the order of their Pro Football Focus Offensive Ratings.
First up: the wide receivers.
Note: Players recognized needed at least 25 catches last season to qualify.
Tez Johnson, Oregon
- 2022 stats (at Troy): 56 receptions, 863 receiving yards, 4 TD
- 2022 PFF rating: 89.9 (No. 2 WR in nation)
Johnson is teaming up with Bo Nix, his adopted brother, in Eugene. The Troy transfer's speed and elusiveness will bring another dynamic to an Oregon offense that averaged 38.8 points per game last season. Ducks fans got a glimpse of it in the spring game when Johnson scooted 59 yards after the catch for a 63-yard touchdown.
63-yard house call!
Tez Johnson 🤝 @ty_thompson7
— Oregon Football (@oregonfootball) April 29, 2023
Rome Odunze, Washington
- 2022 stats: 75 receptions, 1,145 receiving yards, 7 TD
- 2022 PFF rating: 79.1 (No. 38 WR in nation)
When Michael Penix Jr. throws for 4,641 yards in a season, he's going to need a favorite wide receiver. And in this case it was Rome Odunze. The All-Pac-12 First Team wide out had a team-high 1,145 receiving yards, which was the 10th-most in the country. Odunze is also getting early buzz about being a potential first round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.
Jacob Cowing, Arizona
- 2022 stats: 85 receptions, 1,034 receiving yards, 7 TD
- 2022 PFF rating: 79.0 (No. 39 WR in nation)
The UTEP transfer didn't skip a beat in his first season in Tucson. Cowing quickly developed chemistry with Arizona quarterback Jayden de Laura. In the season opener against San Diego State, Cowing caught eight passes for 152 yards and three scores. His 7.1 receptions per game were seventh in the nation and he should continue to be a go-to target for the Wildcats this season.
𝗪𝗛𝗔𝗧 a debut game for Jacob Cowing.
— Pac-12 Conference (@pac12) September 4, 2022
Jeremiah Hunter, California
- 2022 stats: 60 receptions, 965 receiving yards, 5 TD
- 2022 PFF rating: 78.2 (No. 47 WR in nation)
Hunter flashed in 2021, but showed how good he can be in 2022. Hunter is a quarterback's best friend. His 6-foot-2 frame and his strength create the large catch radius that he has. Hunter is also very good at high pointing the football and battling through contact to secure the ball as he did against UCLA for this touchdown.
— Cal Football (@CalFootball) November 25, 2022
Jalen McMillan, Washington
- 2022 stats: 79 receptions, 1,098 receiving yards, 9 TD
- 2022 PFF rating: 77.5 (T-No. 55 WR in nation)
There were plenty of passes to go around in the Washington offense. McMillan terrorized defenses over the middle of the field. His nifty footwork and route running created a good portion of his touchdowns as he was able to isolate slower defenders.
Jalen McMillan, @UW_Football WR, through three games:
🟣 16 RECs
🟣 308 yards
🟣 3 TDs pic.twitter.com/J1Abq9bKCs
— Pro Football Network (@PFN365) September 22, 2022
Xavier Weaver, Colorado
- 2022 stats (at USF): 53 receptions, 718 receiving yards, 6 TD
- 2022 PFF rating: 77.0 (No. 63 WR in nation)
Weaver joins the wide receiver core in Boulder. Weaver is a prototypical possession wide receiver who can go up and get the ball for his quarterback. Weaver, who was on the 2022 Biletnikoff Award Watch List, has had nearly 100 catches and 1,500 yards the past two seasons.
Elijhah Badger, Arizona State
- 2022 stats: 70 receptions, 866 receiving yards, 7 TD
- 2022 PFF rating: 76.1 (T-No. 76 WR in nation)
We saw the potential of the former four-star recruit turn into production last season. Badger went from seven catches in 2021 to a team-high 70 receptions and seven touchdowns. Badger is a certified playmaker and will likely be an essential piece in Kenny Dillingham's offense. We can't forget this incredible grab versus UCLA.
Elijah Badger only needs one hand ✋🔥
— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) November 6, 2022
Jimmy Horn Jr., Colorado
- 2022 stats (at USF): 37 receptions, 551 receiving yards, 3 TD
- 2022 PFF rating: 75.8 (T-No. 80 WR in nation)
Horn Jr. is an explosive player. He can score at any time the ball is in his hands. He had a rushing score of 55 yards, receiving touchdown of 91 yards and took a kickoff return 89 yards for a touchdown at South Florida. Expect big-time plays when he gets touches. Both the USF transfers should make an impact for Colorado.
— American Football (@American_FB) October 1, 2022
Troy Franklin, Oregon
- 2022 stats: 61 receptions, 891 receiving yards, 9 TD
- 2022 PFF rating: 75.0 (T-No. 93 WR in nation)
Similar to Badger, Franklin enjoyed a breakout season last year, going from 18 catches to 61 grabs. Franklin established himself as Bo Nix's go-to target. He had 100-yard games with at least one score versus Washington, Washington State and UCLA. The Duck receiver has great hands and body control that will also translate to the next level.
— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) October 22, 2022
Dorian Singer, USC
- 2022 stats (at Arizona): 66 receptions, 1,105 receiving yards, 6 TD
- 2022 PFF rating: 74.7 (T-No. 100 WR in nation)
USC is hoping that Dorian Singer can fill the role that Jordan Addison had last season. Singer was dynamic last year at Arizona, earning All-Pac-12 Second Team. Singer's 1,105 receiving yards were the second-most in the conference behind Odunze. It's not a bad gig to be the potential No. 1 wide receiver for Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams.
Honorable Mention: Silas Bolden, Oregon State
- 2022 stats: 23 receptions, 305 receiving yards, 4 TD
- 2022 PFF rating: 77.9 (No. 51 WR in nation)
Bolden is expected to have a big role for the Beavers this season. Regardless of who starts at quarterback, Bolden will be a deep-play threat and one of the most dangerous returners in the Pac-12. Despite his size, he's not scared of contact as he showed during the Las Vegas Bowl.
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) December 17, 2022
Honorable Mention: Travis Hunter, Colorado
- 2022 stats (at Jackson State): 18 receptions, 188 receiving yards and 4 receiving TD
- 2022 PFF rating: 85.1
A two-way star who's most known for his lockdown cornerback skills, Hunter also figures to be a threat in Colorado's passing game. The top-ranked transfer already has a strong rapport with new Buffaloes quarterback Shedeur Sanders from their time at Jackson State, where Hunter was the SWAC Freshman of the Year. Hunter really emerged in JSU's aerial attack late in the season, hauling in 11 receptions for 135 yards and four touchdowns in the team's final four games.