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Looking Forward: SEC West loaded at WR

Calvin Ridley vs Auburn
Cedric Mason - Touchdown Alabama Magazine

College football fans have shifted their attentions towards the combine and upcoming NFL draft, but let’s not forget about some of the underclassmen who shined this season.

The SEC west will be loaded with talent at receiver, and leading the way is Alabama’s Calvin Ridley. As a true freshman this past season, Ridley caught the ball 89 times (a category in which he led all SEC receivers), for a total of 1,045 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. In terms of yardage, Ridley was second in the SEC, behind former Ole Miss receiver — and future first round draft pick — Laquon Treadwell.

Calvin Ridley has set the bar high for all SEC receivers, but last season another true freshman, Christian Kirk, from Texas A&M fell right behind Ridley in receiving yardage.

He ranked third overall in the SEC with 1,009 yards and Kirk will look to mimic, and if possible, surpass these impressive numbers in his sophomore season.

Rounding off the crop of SEC West star receivers is LSU wideout Malachi Dupre. Dupre led the Tigers in receiving with 39 catches for 602 yards and six touchdowns. During his first season in Baton Rouge, Dupre was noted for making the all-SEC freshman team. The New Orleans native is following in the footsteps of LSU stars like Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry. In 2016 he will try to break out and make even more noise.

Alabama fans can also be excited to see what ArDarius Stewart can do for the Tide. He really developed into a steady receiver during his redshirt freshman season in 2014. During the 2015 campaign, Stewart complemented Ridley’s stellar performance with solid play of his own. The pass-catcher from Fultondale, Ala. hauled in 63 passes for 700 yards and four touchdowns. Look for Stewart to continue to grow as a receiver in 2016.

One thing is clear: Both the secondaries and defensive coordinators in the SEC West will have to be ready to face some stellar wide receivers in 2016

Blain Bradley is a contributor for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can “Follow” him on Twitter, via @blainbradley1 or “like” him on Facebook

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