The 2016 season is fast approaching, which means it’s time to start previewing players who could be in the discussion for college football’s most prestigious awards when the season is all said and done.
The preseason watch list for the Biletnikoff Award (given to the nation’s best wide receiver) was revealed on Wednesday and a group of Big Ten players made the list.
Here’s a look at the Big Ten players who were named to Biletnikoff Award preseason watch list, along with a preview of what to expect from them this season.
Jehu Chesson, Michigan: Chesson came on the scene late in 2015, but his entrance was emphatic. Chesson caught 10 passes for 207 yards and four touchdowns during Michigan’s 48-41 victory over Indiana in mid-November. He catalyzed that game into a strong finish to the season and might enter 2016 as Michigan’s No. 1 target. Chesson was also named to the Maxwell Award watch list.
Simmie Cobbs Jr., Indiana: Cobbs broke out during his sophomore season, catching 60 passes for 1,035 yards and four touchdowns. Quarterback Nate Sudfeld is gone, but Cobbs will remain a key piece of Indiana’s fast-paced aerial attack. Cobbs also appeared on the Maxwell Award watch list.
Chris Godwin, Penn State: Godwin enters his junior season as arguably the best wide receiver in the Big Ten after catching 69 passes for 1,101 yards and five touchdowns last season. Quarterback Christian Hackenberg is gone, but Godwin should see better numbers by play volume alone. The Nittany Lions are implementing a fast-paced offense that could propel Godwin to a tremendous season. This isn’t Godwin’s first award watch list, as he was named to the Maxwell Award list earlier in the month.
Ricky Jones, Indiana: Jones and Cobbs might make the best wide receiver tandem in the conference. Last season, Jones reeled in 54 passes for 906 yards and five touchdowns last season. There’s plenty to go around in Indiana’s high-flying, spread offense. Jones should catch plenty of balls in his final season with the Hoosiers.
Brandon Reilly, Nebraska: Reilly quietly put up an impressive season as Nebraska’s No. 2 wide receiver. Reilly caught 40 passes for 754 yards and four touchdowns during his junior season. With so much talent returning to Lincoln, Neb., the Cornhuskers offense should be even more explosive this season, which means Reilly’s numbers should improve.
Jordan Westerkamp, Nebraska: Westerkamp is arguably the best wide receiver in the Big Ten and should be a factor for this award. He caught 65 passes for 918 yards and seven touchdowns last season, finishing inside the top five in the Big Ten in each category. Westerkamp has taken strides every year at Nebraska and he should be poised for his best season yet.