By Hale McGranahan.
Over the last few days, coaches from Clemson and Tennessee have engaged in an e-battle over which school can claim the WRU title.
Tennessee wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni took to the Twitter-verse on Tuesday morning, posting the following graphic:
Clemson co-offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach Jeff Scott responded a few hours later:
Azzanni responded on Wednesday:
New, old, past, present — TCI took a look at both schools and their respective track records, perhaps looking to settle the score.
Let’s start with Tennessee.
Cordarrelle Patterson, who played just one season in Knoxville, is probably the most visible former Tennessee wide receiver in the NFL. In two seasons with the Vikings, Patterson has 78 receptions for 853 yards and five touchdowns.
Since entering the league in 2007, Robert Meachem has 178 catches for 2,914 yards with 27 touchdowns, most of which has been done with the Saints.
Signed by the Bengals in the offseason, Denarius Moore played his first four seasons with the Raiders, recording 142 receptions for 2,169 yards with 17 touchdowns.
A 2013 draftee with Patterson, Justin Hunter has 46 catches 852 yards and seven touchdowns with the Titans.
Clemson has five active former wide receivers in the NFL.
Jacoby Ford, the elder statesman of the group, had 57 catches for 848 yards and three touchdowns in three seasons with the Raiders. As a member of the Jets in 2014, Ford missed the entire year because of an injury. He’s now on the Titans’ roster.
In two seasons with the Cardinals, Jaron Brown has 33 catches for 369 yards and three scores.
DeAndre Hopkins, who’s also entering his third season in the NFL, has 128 receptions for 2,012 yards and eight touchdowns.
Sammy Watkins and Martavis Bryant are coming off productive rookie seasons with the Bills and Steelers, respectively.
Watkins caught 65 passes for 982 yards with six scores. Bryant’s line: 26-549-8.
Tennessee’s lone draft candidate in 2015 is a cornerback. Clemson has plenty, but none are wide receivers. Adam Humphries, the only former Tiger wide receiver with a shot to land on an NFL roster before the end of the weekend, could sign a free-agent contract.
Both programs have multiple wide receivers on the current roster that might have a future in the NFL. We’ll start again with the Vols.
Senior Alton ‘Pig’ Howard has over 100 catches in three seasons at Tennessee.
Josh Malone, a sophomore who signed with Tennessee over Clemson, caught 23 passes for 231 yards with a touchdown last season.
Redshirt junior Jason Croom has 23 receptions for 574 yards and six touchdowns.
The most talented of the group is junior Marquez North. Another former Clemson recruiting target, North has 68 catches for 816 yards and five touchdowns in his first two seasons on Rocky Top.
Set to join them this summer is Preston Williams, a five-star from Georgia who was ranked by Scout as the No. 1 wide receiver in the class of 2015.
Charone Peake, Mike Williams and Artavis Scott headline the veteran on Tigers.
Peake, a senior, has 49 catches for 456 yards and five touchdowns during his career.
Williams has 77 receptions for 1,346 yards and nine touchdowns over his first two years.
Scott exploded onto the scene as a freshman in 2014, recording a team-high 76 catches for 965 yards and a team-high eight touchdowns.
Plus, there’s Germone Hopper, who’s coming off his most productive season: 27 receptions for 331 yards and three touchdowns. And former four-star recruit
Trevion Thompson is coming off a redshirt first season on campus.
With Deon Cain and Ray Ray McCloud set to arrive in the summer, Clemson has a couple of five-star wide receivers in the pipeline.
Based on the ratings for the two wide receivers committed to each of the schools, Clemson’s future appears to be brighter.
The Vols have pledges from two 2016 three-stars: TaDarryl Marshall and Corey Henderson.
Both of the Tigers’ wide receiver commitments for the class are of the four-star variety: Cornell Powell and T.J. Chase.
Both programs continue to pursue Diondre Overton, a 2016 four-star from Greensboro-Page, though Clemson is perceived as the leader. And the battle is expected to continue to 2017 and beyond.