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ANALYSIS: NC State’s Greatest Wide Receivers of All-Time

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With the 2018 football season right around the corner, it’s time for me to help you catch up on your NC State history before the Wolfpack hits the field. In this piece I will be breaking down the best wide receivers in school history. Future breakdowns by position will be coming in the near future.

The below rankings are my own. In looking at all of the data supplied below (collegiate achievements only), these were my conclusions.

  1. Torry Holt – There is no debate. Holt is the best wide receiver in NC State history. He is the only player at the position to be a Consensus 1st-Team All-American. The only player at his position to win the ACC Player of the Year. The only player at his position to have his jersey retired. Holt is the career leader in receiving yards and touchdown receptions, and ranks 3rd in career receptions. He also made the 1st Team All-ACC twice.
  2. Jerricho Cotchery – Like Holt, Cotchery made the 1st Team All-ACC twice. He ranks 2nd all-time in receptions, receiving yards and touchdown receptions. In fact, he had been the career leader in receptions for the past 14 seasons, until Jaylen Samuels finished his career with one more reception this past season.
  3. Koren Robinson – Robinson doesn’t rank in the Top-5 in NC State history in receiving yards, receptions, or touchdown receptions, but I can’t deny him a spot in a list of the Top-5 wide receivers in school history. The only reason he isn’t near or at the top of each of those statistical categories is due to the fact he only played two seasons. He is the only wide receiver in Wolfpack history to win the ACC Freshman of the Year award. He holds the school record for the most 100-yard games in a single season (9), and is tied for 2nd most 100-yard games in a career (14). As a Sophomore, Robinson was 1st Team All-ACC, and earned 2nd and 3rd Team All-American honors. He holds the record for the most receiving yards in school history as a Freshman (854) and as a Sophomore (1,061).
  4. Eddie Goines – Only one NC State wide receiver was named to 3 All-ACC Teams: Eddie Goines (1st Team 1993-93 & 2nd Team 1992). He ranks 4th all-time in receptions, 4th in yards, and 5th in touchdown receptions.
  5. Nasrallah Worthen – While he only ranks in the Top-5 in receiving yards, I think Worthen belongs in this spot because he is the only NC State receiver to earn All-American honors in two separate seasons: 3rd Team in 1986 and 2nd Team in 1988. He was also 1st Team All-ACC in both of those seasons as well. Worthen ranks 5th in receiving yards, 7th in receptions, and 9th in touchdown receptions.

Honorable Mentions

Jaylen Samuels – There is no denying the fact that Jay Sam is one of the Top-5 greatest receivers in NC State history. He’s the all-time leader in receptions, and ranks 4th all-time in touchdown receptions. The question boils down to whether or not Samuels was a “wide receiver” or not. At the NFL Combine, he was put in the group with the tight ends, but was Samuels really a “tight end?” Well, he earned All-ACC honors as a tight end in 2015 (1st) and 2016 (3rd). Samuels also earned 3rd Team AP All-American honors as a tight end this past season. He also ranks 6th all-time in school history in rushing touchdowns, but was he really a “running back?” Last season, Samuels was 1st Team All-ACC at the “all-purpose” position, which is about the best way to define him. With all that being said, he took more snaps as a slot receiver in 2017 than anywhere else, so if you want to consider him one of the greatest “wide receivers” of all-time at NC State, you’d be within your right.

Don Buckey – Buckey played in a rush heavy Lou Holtz offense, but that didn’t stop him from leaving NC State as the all-time leader in receptions and receiving yards. He and his twin brother quarterback, Dave Buckey, were completely in sync. Besides Torry Holt, Buckey is the only other wide receiver to earn 1st team All-American honors.

Haywood Jeffires – Erik Kramer loved throwing the ball to Jeffires, but he also loved throwing the rock to Nasrallah Worthen and Phil Brothers. With that being said, Jeffires unbelievable talent didn’t go unrecognized, being taken in the 1st round with the 20th overall pick in 1987. He went on to earn 3 All-Pro selections and 3 Pro-Bowl selections.

Mike Quick – Quick was one of the best receivers ever at NC State, but unfortunately he was in a Wolfpack offensive scheme that didn’t sling the pigskin around too much. During Quick’s era, if the ball was thrown, it was his to catch. Quick ranks 6th all-time in receiving yards at NC State. In his Sophomore campaign, Quick helped lead NC State to their last ACC Championship in 1979. Like Jeffiries, he didn’t get the accolades, but the NFL loved his tape. He was drafted in the 1st round with the 20th overall pick, and went on 5 Pro Bowls and 4 All-Pro selections.

NC State Wide Receivers who made an All-ACC Team

1st Team
Jerricho Cotchery – 2002-03
Koren Robinson – 2000
Torry Holt – 1997-98
Eddie Goines – 1993-94
Charles Davenport – 1999
Nasrallah Worthen – 1986 & 88
Don Buckey – 1975
Pat Kenney – 1972
Harry Martell – 1967
Gary Rowe – 1966

2nd Team
Kelvin Harmon – 2017
Owen Spencer  – 2010
Eddie Goines – 1992
Mike Kavulic  – 1989

NC State Wide Receivers who won ACC Offensive Player of the Year

Torry Holt – 1998

NC State Wide Receivers who won ACC Freshman of the Year

Koren Robinson – 1999

NC State Wide Receivers who won ACC Player of the Year

Torry Holt – 1998

NC State Wide Receivers who earned All-American Honors

Koren Robinson – 2000 – 2nd Team (Football News) & 3rd Team (AP)
Torry Holt – 1998 – Consensus 1st Team ( Associated Press, The Sporting News, AFCA, Football Writers, Football News)
Nasrallah Worthen – 1986 – 3rd Team (Football News); 1988 – 2nd Team (Sporting News)
Don Buckey – 1975 – 1st Team (Football Writers)

NC State Wide Receivers who have had their Jersey Retired

Torry Holt

NC State’s Career Reception Leaders 

1. Jaylen Samuels – 2014-17 – 201
2. Jerricho Cothcery – 2000-03 – 200
3. Torry Holt – 1995-98 – 191
4. Eddie Goines – 1991-94 – 147
5. Bryan Peterson – 1999-02 – 139
6. Jarvis Williams – 2007-10 – 133
7. Nasrallah Worthen – 1984-88 – 131
8. Owen Spencer – 2007-10 – 126
8. George Bryan – 2008-11 – 126
10.. Tramain Hall – 2002-05 – 121

NC State’s Career Receiving Yards Leaders

1. Torry Holt – 1995-98 – 3,379
2. Jerricho Cotchery – 2000-03 – 3,119
3. Owen Spencer – 2007-10 – 2,441
4. Eddie Goines – 1991-94 – 2,351
5. Nasrallah Worthen – 1984-88 – 2,247
6. Mike Quick – 1978-81 – 1,934
7. T .J . Williams – 2002-05 – 1,916
8. Koren Robinson – 1999-00 – 1,914
9. Chris Coleman – 1996-99 – 1,909
10. Bryan Peterson – 1999-02 – 1,894

NC State’s Career Touchdown Receptions Leaders
1. Torry Holt – 1995-98 – 31
2. Jerricho Cotchery – 2000-03 – 21
3. Jarvis Williams – 2007-10 – 20
4. Jaylen Samuels – 2014-17 – 19
5. Eddie Goines – 1991-94 – 17
5. George Bryan – 2008-11 – 17
7. Owen Spencer – 2007-10 – 15
7. Koren Robinson – 1999-00 – 15
9. Nasrallah Worthen – 1984-88 – 14
9. Haywood Jeffires – 1983-86 – 14

NC State Wide Receivers: NFL 1st Round Picks
#6 – Torry Holt – 1999
#9 – Koren Robinson – 2001
#20 – Haywood Jeffires – 1987
#20 – Mike Quick – 1982

NC State Wide Receivers: Pro Bowl Selections
Torry Holt – 7
Mike Quick – 5
Haywood Jeffires – 3

NC State Wide Receivers: All-Pro Selections 
Mike Quick – 4
Haywood Jeffires – 3
Torry Holt – 1

NC State Wide Receivers: NFL Receiving Yards
1) Torry Holt – 13,382
2) Jerricho Cothcery – 6,623
3) Mike Quick – 6,464
4) Haywood Jeffires – 6,634
5) Koren Robinson – 4,344

NC State Wide Receivers: NFL Receptions
1) Torry Holt – 920
2) Haywood Jeffires – 535
3) Jerricho Cotchery – 524
4) Mike Quick – 363
5) Ted Brown – 339

NC State Wide Receivers: NFL Touchdowns
1) Torry Holt – 71
2) Mike Quick – 64
3) Haywood Jeffires – 51
4) Jerricho Cotchery – 34
5) Alex Webster (RB) – 16

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