This season, a Conference USA quarterback who finished first in the nation in passing yards is returning, and the league is filled with other exceptional quarterbacks. For the conference's wide receivers, this should be quite positive.
Here is a list of the top wide receivers in C-USA.
No. #1. Malachi Corley, Western Kentucky
The top spot on this list should go to the best receiver on one of the best passing offenses in the nation.
Corley steadily advanced to his current position. As per NFL playoff betting predictions, Malachi caught six catches for 65 yards in 2020, which was his true freshman year. He caught 73 catches for 691 yards and seven touchdowns the next year.
Then the 5-foot-11, 210-pound incoming junior had a breakout season and was named to the first team of Conference USA. With 1,293 yards, 101 receptions, and 11 touchdowns, he ranked first in the league and fourth nationally. His 11 touchdown receptions were also among the top 10 in the country.
The offense of Western Kentucky should only continue to use Corley as a go-to receiver.
No. #2. Smoke Harris, Louisiana Tech
Harris is a talented athlete who will benefit Louisiana Tech in a variety of ways.
Over the previous five seasons, Harris has amassed 2,112 receiving yards, 225 receptions, and 19 touchdowns through the air in addition to 94 yards and two touchdowns on 26 rushing attempts. He hauled in 66 catches for 640 yards and five scores last season.
On special teams, the 5-7, 188-pound senior sticks out. He led the league and was seventh in the nation with 12.4 yards per punt return in 2022, earning him a spot on the first team of the conference for his position. His kick return average of 27.2 yards ranked him first in the league and ninth overall in the country.
In 2023, opponents will undoubtedly need to take Harris into account.
No. #3. Michael Mathison, Western Kentucky
Western Kentucky's offense inevitably produced numerous receivers on this list for the Hilltoppers.
At Akron, Mathison started his college career. In 25 games there, he accrued 1,060 yards and five touchdowns, and in 2021, he had 706 yards and three scores.
After transferring to WKU, the 5-10, 180-pound senior maintained a high level of play. He caught 52 passes for 615 yards and three touchdowns and returned 21 kickoffs for an additional 463 yards.
Mathison should have another great year in a season with quarterback Austin Reed, who ranked first in the nation in passing yards in 2022.
No. #4. Cyrus Allen, Louisiana Tech
The Bulldogs, like Western Kentucky, have a strong passing offense thanks to their talented wide receivers.
Coming out of high school, Allen was a three-star recruit with many Division I offers. But he decided to enrol in Louisiana Tech, where he quickly found success.
Allen hauled in 22 catches for 500 yards and four scores as a freshman the previous season. He finished sixth among true freshmen in receiving yards and second in the nation with a 22.73 yards per grab average.
The sophomore, who stands 6 feet and weighs 177 pounds, is poised for an even better year.
No. #5. Ife Adeyi, Sam Houston
Adeyi had a successful career at Sam Houston despite just participating in four games last season.
In the previous two seasons, the 5-10, 170 lb. senior was named to the second team of the conference. With 13 seconds left, he caught the game-winning touchdown pass to help the Bearkats win the FCS national championship in 2020–21.
Adeyi had his greatest season in 2021, hauling in 54 passes for 742 yards and 10 touchdowns. In his collegiate career, he has accumulated 230 yards and three scores on the ground in addition to 1,967 yards, 127 receptions, and 18 touchdowns in the air.
It should be simple for Adeyi to adapt to the FBS level.