B1G's top five returning WR/TE

B1G's top five returning WR/TE

Over the next few weeks, a panelist of Scout.com Big Ten reporters will be breaking down the conference position-by-position. Today it's the wide receiver/tight end spot.

Over the next few weeks, a panelist of Scout.com Big Ten reporters will be breaking down the conference position-by-position.

Today we look at the wide receiver/tight end spot, where talent is evident based off the number of players who received votes. Indiana's Shane Wynn edged out Maryland's Stefon Diggs for the top spot, with Nebraska's Kenny Bell nipping at their heels.

The reporters were asked to rank the top five, with five points going to the No. 1 spot, four to No. 2, three to No. 3, and so on.


1.) Sr. Shane Wynn, Indiana: 38 points (4 first-place votes)
The Ohio native saw his numbers dip in 2013, but was still very productive. Indiana's offense is potent. With the graduation of wide receivers Kody Latimer (2nd round draft pick) and Kofi Hughes (rookie free-agent), Wynn should see his 2013 numbers climb. Wynn might only be 5-foot-7, but is a threat to score anytime he gets his hands on the football. Like many on the list, he's also a weapon on special teams.

2013 stats: 46 catches for 633 yards and 11 touchdowns.



2.) Jr. Stefon Diggs, Maryland: 36 points (3 first-place votes)
It might surprise some Big Ten fans to see Diggs on the list, but the Maryland wide receiver has big-play potential. His sophomore year was cut short, missing the last six games with a broken right fibula. His freshman year on the other hand was impressive – recording 54 catches for 848 yards, an average of 15.7 yards per catch. Diggs is healthy and should return to form come the fall.

2013 stats: 34 catches for 587 yards and three touchdowns.


3.) Sr. Kenny Bell, Nebraska: 32 points (2 first-place votes)
With just 32 catches and 578 yards, Bell would become Nebraska's all-time leader in receptions and reception yards. The Colorado native's numbers dropped in 2013, largely in part because of Nebraska's quarterback situation with the injury to Taylor Martinez. After an honorable-mention season last year and second-team honors in 2012, Bell has the potential to be a first-team All-Big Ten receiver in 2014.

2013 stats: 52 catches for 577 yards and four touchdowns.


4.) Jr. Devin Funchess, Michigan: 18 points (1 first-place vote)
The hybrid wide receiver has become a staple in Michigan's offense the past two seasons. Brady Hoke confirmed the Michigan native will work at wide receiver this fall, but his 6-foot-5, 230-pound frame makes him tough for many cornerbacks to handle – it's why he was named Big Ten tight end of the year in 2013. With new offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier working with quarterback Devin Gardner, Funchess might really benefit.

2013 stats: 47 catches for 727 yards and six touchdowns


5.) Sr. Devin Smith, Ohio State: 16 points
Smith finished second on the team in all major receiving categories last season behind Corey Brown, who was signed as a rookie free agent by the Panthers. With quarterback Braxton Miller returning for his third-year in Urban Meyer's system, Smith is likely ready for a breakout campaign. 800 yards and 65+ catches is not out of the question.

2013 stats: 44 catches for 660 yards and eight touchdowns


Other wide receivers/tight ends that received votes: Tony Lippett – Michigan State, Leonte Carroo – Rutgers, Kyle Carter – Penn State, Geno Lewis – Penn State.

The voter panel: Mark Brennan of FightOnState.com, Ben Worgull of BadgeNation.com, Brice Marich of GopherDigest.com, Josh Harvey of BigRedReport.com, Mike Wilson of SpartanDigest.com, Nicholas Medline of PurpleWildcats.com, Jeff Svoboda of BuckeyeSports.com, Fletcher Page of IlliniPlaybook.com, Sam Hellman of ScarletReport.com, Beth Long of Scout.com, and Rob Howe of HawkeyeInsider.com

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