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The Best College Football Wide Receivers of All Time

Updated May 22, 2020 8.4k votes 1.0k voters 14.7k views58 items

List RulesFootball players at the wide receiver position who had epic college careers

American College football, like all football originated as rugby in England and Canada, eventually rugby came stateside, then eventually became the game we know and love today. Years later the NCAA was formed to regulate college teams. The wide receivers on this list were the best of the best in NCAA football during their college careers.

The NCAA allows students from American universities, colleges, Canadian universities, or military academies to play. American college football has seen a surge in popularity in recent years, but it was actually through college football that the American football rules gained popularity in the first place.

The wide receivers are key players in almost all passing plays. Their prime directive is to catch passes from the quarterback and as such they are usually the fastest, most agile players in the game.

Below, we commemorate the greatest college wide receivers of ALL TIME! If you see a name missing feel free to add it and vote up your favorite wide receivers who had truly incredible college careers.
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  • Randy Moss1
    365
    155

    Randy Moss

    Wide receiver

    BirthplaceRand, West Virginia

    Age43

    TeamsOakland Raiders, New England Patriots, San Francisco 49ers, Tennessee Titans, Minnesota Vikings

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    #70 of 85 Great Athletes Who Waited Too Long To Retire#50 of 71 Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments

  • Calvin Johnson2
    313
    134

    Calvin Johnson

    Wide receiver

    BirthplaceNewnan, Georgia

    Age34

    TeamsDetroit Lions

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    #4 of 214 The Best Wide Receivers of All Time#23 of 322 People Who Should Be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame

  • Larry Fitzgerald3
    292
    125

    Larry Fitzgerald

    Wide receiver

    BirthplaceMinneapolis, Minnesota, United States of America

    Age32

    TeamsArizona Cardinals

    More Larry Fitzgerald 

    #19 of 53 Who Is the Best Wide Receiver in the NFL Right Now?#1 of 53 The Most Likable Active NFL Players

  • Jerry Rice4
    280
    123

    Jerry Rice

    Wide receiver

    BirthplaceCrawford, Mississippi, United States of America

    Age57

    TeamsMississippi Valley State Delta Devils football, Seattle Seahawks, Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers

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    #303 of 583 The Greatest Entertainers of All Time#3 of 15 The Worst NFL Trades Ever Made

  • Julio Jones5
    90
    12

    Julio Jones

    Wide receiver

    BirthplaceFoley, Alabama

    Age26

    TeamsAtlanta Falcons

  • Tim Brown6
    189
    102

    More Tim Brown 

    #2 of 82 The Best Notre Dame Football Players of All Time#6 of 38 The Best NFL Wide Receivers of the '90s

  • Amari Cooper7
    95
    32

    Amari Cooper

    Wide receiver

    BirthplaceMiami, Florida

    Age26

    TeamsDallas Cowboys

  • Michael Crabtree8
    227
    138

    Michael Crabtree

    Wide receiver

    BirthplaceDallas, Texas

    Age33

    TeamsSan Francisco 49ers, Texas Tech Red Raiders football

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    #24 of 49 The Best Athletes Signed To Jordan Brand#70 of 173 The Best Oakland Raiders Of All Time

  • Michael Irvin9
    183
    110

    Michael Irvin

    Wide receiver

    BirthplaceFort Lauderdale, Florida, United States of America

    Age54

    TeamsDallas Cowboys

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    #784 of 904 Celebrity Death Pool 2021#4 of 64 The Best Miami Football Players of All Time

  • Cris Carter10
    144
    85

    Cris Carter

    Wide receiver

    BirthplaceTroy, Ohio, USA

    Age54

    TeamsMiami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings, Ohio State Buckeyes football

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    #5 of 83 The Best Ohio State Buckeyes of All Time#66 of 67 The Best Sports Personalities on ESPN

  • Desmond Howard11
    160
    111

    Desmond Howard

    Return specialist, Punt returner

    BirthplaceCleveland, Ohio, USA

    Age50

    TeamsMichigan Wolverines football, Washington Redskins, Oakland Raiders, Jacksonville Jaguars, Green Bay Packers

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    #780 of 1,323 The Best Football Players Ever#25 of 83 The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time

  • Peter Warrick12
    165
    120

    Peter Warrick

    Return specialist, Wide receiver

    BirthplaceBradenton, Florida

    Age43

    TeamsCincinnati Bengals

  • Mike Evans13
    117
    77

    BirthplacePhiladelphia, Pennsylvania

    Age74

    TeamsPhiladelphia Eagles

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    #199 of 199 The All-Around Best Athletes of 2018#43 of 77 The Best Tampa Bay Buccaneers of All Time

  • Steve Largent14
    107
    71

    Steve Largent

    Wide receiver

    BirthplaceTulsa, Oklahoma, United States of America

    Age66

    TeamsSeattle Seahawks

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    #17 of 55 The Best NFL Buys for the Money#91 of 428 Here's a List of Every Known Republican Celebrity

  • Percy Harvin15
    137
    102

    Percy Harvin

    Wide receiver

    BirthplaceChesapeake, Virginia

    Age32

    TeamsSeattle Seahawks, Florida Gators football, Minnesota Vikings

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    #6 of 85 The Best University of Florida Football Players of All Time#46 of 106 The Fastest NFL Players of All Time

  • DeVonta Smith16
    34
    4

    DeVonta Smith

  • DeSean Jackson17
    94
    65

    DeSean Jackson

    Wide receiver

    BirthplaceLos Angeles, California, United States of America

    Age29

    TeamsPhiladelphia Eagles

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    #11 of 41 The 41 Hottest Men in the NFL#69 of 115 The Greatest Washington Redskins of All Time

  • Rashaun Woods18
    83
    55

    Rashaun Woods

    Wide receiver

    BirthplaceOklahoma City, Oklahoma

    Age39

  • Terrell Owens19
    119
    91

    Terrell Owens

    Wide receiver

    BirthplaceAlexander City, Alabama, United States of America

    Age46

    TeamsBuffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles, Texas Revolution

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    #14 of 66 The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History#92 of 125 The Worst People in the History of Reality TV

  • 20
    34
    6

    AJ Green

    Wide Receiver

    TeamsGeorgia Bulldogs, Cincinnati Bengals

  • Tavon Austin21
    113
    89

    Tavon Austin

  • Steve Smith22
    85
    63

    Steve Smith

    Wide receiver

    BirthplaceCarlsbad, California

    Age36

    TeamsCarolina Panthers

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    #10 of 95 The Best Baltimore Ravens of All Time#33 of 104 The Best USC Trojans Players of All Time

  • Lynn Swann23
    89
    69

    Lynn Swann

    Wide receiver

    BirthplaceAlcoa, Tennessee, USA

    Age68

    TeamsPittsburgh Steelers, USC Trojans football

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    #96 of 150 Athletes You Didn't Know Were Conservative#20 of 38 The Best NFL Wide Receivers of the '70s

  • Marvin Harrison24

    More Marvin Harrison 

    #10 of 86 The Best NFL Players From Pennsylvania#2 of 147 The Best Indianapolis Colts of All Time

  • Dwayne Jarrett25
    69
    52

    Dwayne Jarrett

    Wide receiver

    BirthplaceNew Brunswick, New Jersey

    Age34

    TeamsCarolina Panthers