Northwestern's Christian Jones: the best wide receiver in the country?
The folks at the Biletnikoff Award think it's a possibility, including the senior as one of 55 names on their preseason watch list for the award that's handed out to the nation's top wideout every year.
Jones, who started all 12 games for the Wildcats last season, finished with 54 catches for 668 yards and four touchdowns. Jones was Northwestern's leading receiver, and his 55.7 receiving yards per game ranked ninth in the Big Ten last year. Jones will need to step up even further to help quarterback Siemian handle his full-time role this season. Fortunately for the Cats, like most everywhere else on the field, there's plenty of experience returning. Jones is joined by fellow returning receivers Tony Jones and Cameron Dickerson, as well as by superback Dan Vitale.
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But Jones wasn't the only Big Ten name on the Biletnikoff watch list. The conference might have lost it's top seven receivers from last season, but the addition of Maryland and some returning players gives the conference a plenty-dangerous stable of wideouts.
Maryland's Stefon Diggs leads the list. He missed significant time with injury last season, playing in only seven games, but he still has managed 1,435 yards and nine touchdowns in his first two seasons. Big things are expected of him in 2014, and teaming with some other talented wideouts, Maryland is expected by many experts to have one of the country's top receiving units.
The other Big Ten names on the list are Nebraska's Kenny Bell, Michigan's Devin Funchess, Ohio State's Devin Smith and Indiana's Shane Wynn.