It’s time for arguably the most entertaining and successful position on the MSU gridiron to be brought to the forefront. Michigan State has had a rich history of producing great wide receivers on both the college and professional levels, and now it’s time to see who we think is the best of the best. View the list below and leave a comment if you think we missed someone or if you disagree with specific rankings…
10. Devin Thomas (2006-2007)
“Showtime” was arguably the most exciting MSU wide receiver since Spartan Stadium was blessed with the presence of Charles Rogers. Even though he only played two seasons at MSU, Thomas had one of the best seasons in MSU history in 2007. He caught 79 passes, which is a single-season record at MSU, for 1,260 yards and eight touchdowns. Thomas, a transfer from Coffeyville Community College, was one of the most prolific receivers in the country during his final year at MSU in which he recorded seven 100-yard games, and if he had played four seasons at MSU I believe that he would be in the top five of this list. Thomas was drafted by the Washington Redskins in the second-round of the 2008 NFL Draft, and won Super Bowl XLVI with the New York Giants.
9. Blair White (2005-2009)
The former walk-on made one hell of a career for himself during his time wearing the green and white. Blair White was MSU’s version of Wes Welker, meaning, he was as reliable as they come. In 2009, White led the Big Ten in touchdowns for a wide receiver with nine, and also grabbed 70 catches which is the second highest single-season total in Michigan State history. Also, he ranks 15th in MSU history with116 career receptions.
8. Mark Dell (2007-2010)
While many believe that Mark Dell didn’t live up to the expectations that he put on himself after his amazing game against Cal to kick-off his sophomore season at MSU, he still had a very good career in East Lansing. Dell finished his career ranked sixth in MSU history with 2,136 receiving yards, tied for seventh in receptions with 133, and tied for 13th in TD receptions with 12. It seemed as if he was in the “dog-house” for a lot of his sophomore and junior season, for reasons beyond my knowledge, but that stopped him from being an even bigger threat in East Lansing.
7. Mark Ingram Sr. (1983-1986)
More commonly known for his run in with the law and for being the father of New Orleans Saints RB Mark Ingram Jr., the Flint, Mich. native used to be a superb wide receiver for the Spartans. Ingram ranks 10th in MSU history in receiving yards with 1,944, fourth in yards per catch with an average of 20.46, and is tied for ninth in receiving touchdowns with 14.
6. Courtney Hawkins (1988-1991)
Another Flint native, Hawkins was the first ever wide receiver in MSU history to have a 1,000-yard season. Hawkins ranks fourth in pass receptions with 138, fifth in receiving yards with 2,210, and 13th in touchdowns with 12. He was drafted in the second-round of the 1992 NFL Draft in by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
5. B.J. Cunningham (2008-2011)
The latest of great receivers in MSU history, Cunningham was Kirk Cousins, the Spartans #1 all-time quarterback, favorite target for many seasons. Cunningham is first all-time in both receiving yards with 3,086 and receptions with 218. Also, he ranks second all-time in receiving touchdowns with 25. The only knock on Cunningham’s game was probably his speed which stopped him from being deadly after the catch, but his hands were amazing and he was a very physical receiver. Cunningham was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the 2012 NFL Draft.
4. Kirk Gibson (1975-1978)
For all of you baseball heads out there that are wondering if this is THAT Kirk Gibson, you’re right, it is THAT Kirk Gibson. Before his historical home run in the 1988 World Series, Gibson was putting up different numbers for the Spartans on the gridiron. Gibson ranks fourth in receiving yards with 2,347 and third in touchdowns with 24 during his career.
3. Plaxico Burress (1998-1999)
Not many people could shoot themselves in the foot and still make a top ten list, but Burress was that nice. Even though he was only a Spartan for two seasons, Burress posted some ridiculous numbers. He ranks sixth in receiving yards with 2,155, 10th in receptions with 131, and fourth in touchdowns with 20. These type of numbers are unbelievable for someone who only played two season at a school that has produced some very good receivers. Not only will anyone struggle to produce similar college numbers, but as most of you know, Burress has gone on to have a great NFL career with the Steelers, Giants, and Jets.
2. Andre Rison (1985-1988)
Well what do we have here? It couldn’t be another dominating MSU receiver hailing from Flint, Mich. could it? Well, yes, yes it is. Before getting his house burned down by an ex-girlfriend , Rison was embarrassing Big Ten defenses. He currently ranks second all-time in receiving yards with 2,992, and he ranks third all-time in both receptions with 146 and yards per catch with a 20.49 average. His college success quickly spilled over into the NFL, where he scored 26 touchdown in his first three seasons.
1. Charles Rogers (2001-2002)
The 2002 Biletnikoff Award winner put together one of the best two-year careers in college football history. In only two seasons Rogers ranks first all-time in MSU history in receiving touchdowns with 27 , and third in yards with 2,821. While in East Lansing he set the NCAA record for consecutive games with a receiving touchdown by scoring 13 straight. If you get a chance try to go back and watch the 2001 Silicon Valley Football Classic against Fresno State where he won Offensive MVP and had 10 receptions for a school-record 270 yards and two touchdowns.
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