Although it might be the year of the running back, seven of last year's top ten leading receivers return. Here's how we rank the receiving corps in the Mid-American Conference this year.
13. Eastern Michigan (Last Year: 10) - Donald Scott is the Eagles most experienced target. He caught 19 passes in 2012 for only 255 yards. Eastern will mainly look to attack on the ground when on offense this year with Bronson Hill returning in the backfield.
12. Massachusetts (Last Year: 13) - How "UMass" is the name Rob Blanchflower? The Minutemen's tight end will be their top target in 2012 with the graduation of Deion Walker. Blanchflower hauled in 43 passes in 2012 for 464 touchdowns and two scores last year. At wide out, Massachusetts will be looking to guys like Tajae Sharpe and Marken Michel (Ed. note: it appears Michel is no longer apart of the UMass program).
11. Kent State (Last Year: 11) - Dri Archer is listed as a running back and wide receiver on Kent State's website. Therefore he can be included in both of our rankings. Archer led the Flashes with 561 yards receiving in 2012. Josh Boyle looks to grow into a better target for Kent after a 338-yard freshman season.
10. Miami (Last Year: 3) - Nick Harwell's dismissal and subsequent transfer to Kansas and Andy Cruse graduating means Austin Boucher has only Dawan Scott returning as a dangerous threat in the passing game. Scott finished eighth in the conference in receiving last year with 851 yards and seven touchdowns.
9. Northern Illinois (Last Year: 1) - No more Martel Moore, but the Huskies will look to Tommylee Lewis to replace Moore's 75 receptions and 1,083 yards. Lewis had 48 grabs for 539 yards and five touchdowns in 2012.
8. Buffalo (Last Year: 8) - Consistency in the eight-spot for Buffalo who has the talents of Alex Neutz to tout in their receiving corps. Neutz is the third-leading returning wide receiver in the conference for 2013 after 1,015 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2012. Jimmy Gordon can be a valuable tight end for the Bulls looking to expand off his two touchdown grabs last year.
7. Central Michigan (Last Year: 2) - Cody Wilson has graduated but his partner in crime, Titus Davis is back for his junior season after his 43 receptions and 860 yards as a junior. The Chips will be looking for big things from Andrew Flory in his sophomore season, who exploded for two touchdowns in Central's win in the Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl.
6. Ohio (Last Year: 6) - Donte Foster will be Tyler Tettleton's favorite connection again in 2013 after a campaign where he hauled in 59 passes for 659 yards and eight scores. Ohio also bring back Landon Smith, Matt Waters, Chase Cochran and tight end Troy Hill. The 'Cats also have slot option Mario Dovell returning from injury to round out a pretty solid squad.
5. Akron (Last Year: 9) - Despite losing Marquelo Suel, their leading receiver in 2012, the Zips return their next 10 best receivers to help Kyle Pohl (or whoever Terry Bowden decides to go with at quarterback) be successful. L.T. Smith, Dee Frieson and Keith Sconiers all look to make Akron's offense more explosive in 2013.
4. Bowling Green (Last Year: 12) - The Falcons get a combined 1,359 and 10 touchdowns coming back from their top two receivers in 2012, Chris Gallon and Shaun Joplin. BG also returns Mackey Award caliber tight end Alex Bayer who caught 36 passes in 2012 for 410 yards and three touchdowns.
3. Western Michigan (Last Year: 7) - The Broncos have lost senior wide out Justin Collins for the season but still manage to return one of the strongest receiving corps in the MAC. Last year's Freshman of the Year, Jaime Wilson will step into a bigger role after a 67 reception, 792 yard season where he led the team in all receiving categories. Behind Wilson, Western's next top receiver from 2012 comes back in Josh Schaffer looking to make TVT successful in his first year fully under center.
2. Ball State (Last Year: 5) - Willie Snead, who led the MAC in receiving in 2012 with 1,148 yards, returns to one of the conference's strongest passing games led by Keith Wenning. Ball State also returns Jamill Smith and tight end Zane Fakes, who is on the Mackey Award Watch List for the country's best tight end.
1. Toledo (Last Year: 4) - The Rockets return their top six leading receivers from 2012 including two Biletnikoff Award Watch Listers. Bernard Reedy (1,113 yards and six touchdowns) and Alonzo Russell (960 yards and five) are coming off stellar seasons looking to give Terrance Owens the best shot at making big throws. Also, the Rockets snagged four star recruit Corey Jones, who could be a stud for years to come.
Top Risers: Bowling Green (+8,) Central Michigan (+5,) Western Michigan (+4,) Akron (+4)
Top Fallers: Northern Illinois (-8,) Miami (-7)