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Purdue Football: Who Are the Starting Three Wide Receivers?

There is plenty of talent with this position group, but who is the cream of the crop?

Syndication: Journal-Courier Nikos Frazier | Journal & Courier via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Even with losing 2nd round pick, Rondale Moore to the Arizona Cardinals, the Purdue Wide Receivers are the most talented position group on the team.

Coach Brohm has made it apparent to recruit top tier talent to the position, in hopes that it would bolster quarterback play.

With Rondale leaving, it mostly leaves a hole in the slot receiver position, but, we have veteran help and young players there. On the outside, it is whoever wins it. I think we all know we can pencil in one guy.

I am penciling in three starters, as Coach Brohm loves to run with the “11 personnel” - or with one running back, one tight end and three wide receivers, usually from a shot gun or pistol look.

The Jack Plummer article went over well yesterday, so here is my argument for the receiver position.

Locked in Starter:

David Bell, Junior, 6-2, 210 Pounds - This is the most obvious one, in my opinion. Bell, a freshman All-American in 2019, was dominating the first three games of last year, literally getting nearly 20 targets a game. When Rondale Moore came back, it almost felt like we force fed Rondale, which is fine - he was a top 60 pick.

But, David could be a top 30 pick. He was on pace to get nearly 900 yards in an abbreviated season. His freshman season he had 86 catches for 1,035 yards. Last year in 6 games, he had 53 catches for 625 yards. In a normal 12 game season, we could pencil him for nearly 100 catches and 1200 yards.

David will be first team all Big Ten preseason and postseason. Don’t be surprised if he goes pro early and is a first round pick if he produces like he did in 2019 and 2020. He is one of the smoothest route runners in college football.

Should be a Starter:

Milton Wright, Junior, 6-3, 200 Pounds - Milton Wright is the other most experienced player to play on the outside. He has logged 16 career games and 42 career catches being the third option in the pass game since 2019. His average yards per catch in 2020 was 16 YPC, which is wild.

He pulled down 24 catches for 305 yards and two touchdowns in 6 games last season. He also started in 2019 after Sparks was pulled in the early season for a serious case of the drops.

Milton probably can be locked in on the outside, his wide frame provides a nice target for whoever will play quarterback and has been through 16 games with Coach Jeff Brohm.

Others to Consider on the outside:

Abdur-Rahmaan Yaseen - RS Freshman, 6-2, 200 Pounds - He is the probably the closest thing we have to David Bell 2.0 on the roster. Yaseen isn’t the fastest guy on the roster, similar to David, but he is as smooth as it gets on routes. He could play inside or outside and be productive. During the Covid season, he opted out late, but there are high hopes for the former 4 star recruit.

Mershawn Rice - Sophomore, 6-2, 200 Pounds - Mershawn seems like a guy that is often talked over. Rice, a former 4 star as well, was recruited as an athlete, he landed in the loaded wide receiver group. But, there is no question of ability for Rice. He can play with the best of them and I see him as a guy that will play plenty this year as Coach Shep likes to rotate his guys to keep them fresh.

Slot Receiver:

Jackson Anthrop, 5-11, 190 Pounds, 5th Year (or 6th idk) - Jackson is easily the most experienced player on the Purdue Football Roster. When Coach Brohm came to town in 2017, Jackson exploded onto the scene with his assuring hands and route running. Pulling in 47 catches for 423 yards and 5 touchdowns from the slot. Then, well, Rondale Moore.

When Rondale was hurt in 2019, Jackson filled backed in again, having 37 catches for 340 yards. Last year, he fought an injury and came back to play late in season. With the new COVID rule, he has the ability to come back again, I like Jackson as the starter in the slot for 2021. His experience will overrule most.


T.J. Sheffield, 5-11, 185 Pounds, Sophomore - The one time Notre Dame Commit made more of an impact on special teams in 2020 than anything. This year, with the departure of Rondale Moore from the slot, he will look to take the starting role over, Jackson Anthrop stands in his way.

Sheffield is probably one of our more explosive guys and his fast. But, there has always been someone with experience or skill in front of him. He has 4 career catches thus far. If he doesn’t start, expect him to still play a bit this fall and have a more expanded role in the offense.

Others to consider in the slot:

Marcellus Moore, 5-8, 170 Pounds, RS Freshman - One of the fastest humans in the country, Moore could find his way more in the field with special teams, but will make a run as a gadget player in the Jeff Brohm offense. Look at how the Colts use Nyheim Hines.