Marcus Harris lands on ESPN’s ’50 greatest receivers in 50 years’ list
LARAMIE -- Here's a no-brainer -- unless you have a vote for the College Football Hall of Fame, I guess -- Marcus Harris Monday was named the No. 22 pass catcher in ESPN's "College football's 50 greatest wide receivers of the past 50 years" list.
You shouldn't be.
The only thing that could be argued here is that 22 is way too low for a guy who held nearly every major receiving record when he wrapped up his career at the University of Wyoming back in 1996, Fred Biletnikoff Trophy in hand.
Before you go to your keyboard and think about calling Harris a "system receiver," playing in Joe Tiller's basketball-on-grass offense, ask yourself this: Why didn't a BYU wideout break the all-time yards record with LaVell Edwards at the helm? How about a receiver under guys like Mike Leach, Don Coryell or Jack Pardee?
You know, coaches that throw the ball all the time and arguably have better passing offenses than Tiller ever dreamed of? Those guys above produced a pair of Heisman winners -- Ty Detmer and Andre Ware -- but just one guy they threw the ball to -- Texas Tech's Michael Crabtree -- is on this Top-50 list.
You can say they had more weapons than UW. The ball got spread around more. OK, well then why didn't opposing defenses just take Harris out of the equation -- double-team, jam at the line, etc. -- and make guys like Richard Peace and David Saraf beat them instead?
Harris's 4,518 career receiving yards was the standard until Nevada's Trevor Insley (5,005 yards) broke the record three years later.
You have to keep this in mind, too, though -- Harris caught just one pass for 14 yards during his freshman season.
Imagine if Harris took a redshirt season in 1993 instead?
And how about the guy he replaced in the Cowboys' lineup, Ryan Yarborough, who used to be the proud owner of that record and is still ninth today with 4,374 receiving yards?
Maybe he could have added to his still-standing record of three consecutive seasons with at least 1,400 receiving yards? Maybe he has a lot more than 38 touchdowns to his credit or an average of 137.5 receiving yards per game? Both of those stats, by the way, are still in the Top 20 in NCAA history.
Harris was a two-time All-American, including a consensus pick in '96. He also finished ninth on the Heisman ballot that season.
Here's how ESPN's list shook out (You can subscribe to ESPN-Plus right here):
50. Sammy Watkins, Clemson
49. JJ Stokes, UCLA
48. Steve Largent, Tulsa
47. Herman Moore, Virginia
46. Trevor Insley, Nevada
45. Kirk Gibson, Michigan State
44. AJ Green, Georgia
43. Dede Westbrook, Oklahoma
42. Golden Tate, Notre Dame
41. Denario Alexander, Missouri
40. Aaron Turner, Pacific
39. Ozzie Newsome, Alabama
38. Troy Edwards, Louisiana Tech
37. Tavon Austin, West Virginia
36. Justin Jefferson, Arizona State
35. Mike Haas, Oregon State
34. Corey Davis, Western Michigan
33. Wes Chandler, Florida
32. Mike Evans, Texas A&M
31. Brandin Cooks, Oregon State
30. Marquise Lee, USC
29. Terrance Williams, Baylor
28. Mike Williams, USC
27. Tyler Lockett, Kansas State
26. Braylon Edwards, Michigan
25. Amari Cooper, Alabama
24. Tory Holt, North Carolina State
23. Michael Irvin, Miami
22. Marcus Harris, Wyoming
21. Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma
20. Wendell Davis, LSU
19. Charles Rogers, Michigan State (You can read my feature on Rogers HERE.)
18. Hart Lee Dykes, Oklahoma State
17. Josh Reed, LSU
16. James Washington, Oklahoma State
15. Reidel Anthony, Florida
14. Ja' Marr Chase, LSU
13. Bobby Engram, Penn State
12. Peter Warrick, Florida State
11. Anthony Carter, Michigan
10. Keshawn Johnson, USC
9. Calvin Johnson, Georgia Tech
8. Tim Brown, Notre Dame
7. Johnny Rodgers, Nebraska
6. Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech
5.Desmond Howard, Michigan
4. Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State
3. DeVonta Smith, Alabama
2. Larry Fitzgerald, Pittsburgh
1. Randy Moss, Marshall
Of those 50 selections, only Davis, Insley and Broyles have more career receiving yards than Harris.
Want to see more former Cowboy players join Jay Novacek and Eddie Talboom in the College Football Hall of Fame? You can join the Wyoming chapter of the National Football Foundation right HERE. You can also reach out to the local head of the chapter, Heath Hayes, right HERE.
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