Whether you like the lightning-quick deep-ball threat receiver or the over-the-middle Mr. Dependable first-down-machine guy, there are plenty of good ones to choose from in pass-happy Ohio Valley Conference football. This highlight-reel conference is full of fantastic athletes from all over the southeast and beyond, and they make things happen.
But which OVC pass-catcher is having the best season so far, in your opinion? The five we've listed below could win the argument in different ways, but who do you think beats them all? Give it a vote and let's see what you, the experts, think.
The poll will close Friday at 2:00 PM Pacific, so be sure to get your vote in on time.
Here are our five nominees…[divider]
Jared Beard, Austin Peay
WHY?: Beard has been a mainstay in the Austin Peay lineup since his freshman season of 2014. As a freshman, the 6-foot, 205-pound junior out of Murfreesboro, Tenn. led the Governors in touchdown receptions. As a sophomore he led all APSU receivers in receiving, and he currently leads the Ohio Valley Conference in both receptions per game and receiving yardage per game. He's a productive, reliable pass catcher who went over 1,000 career receiving yards just this past week, 12 career TDs and more than a year and a half of career to go. [divider]
Devin Borders, Eastern Kentucky
WHY? Borders, a 6-foot-6 wide receiver out of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., has been a contributor for the Colonels since 2013 when he caught 34 balls for 509 yards and 6 TDs. He looks primed to go over 2,000 career receiving yards and 20 career touchdowns before he leaves EKU and he'll have played in nearly 50 games by the time that happens. His ability to get up in the air and come down with the jump ball is one of his obvious strengths. [divider]
Jordon Gandy, Murray State
WHY? Gandy, a 6-foot-4 junior out of Athens, Ga., is having the breakout year he always dreamed of. Though he played a lot during his first two seasons with the Racers, this year he has proven he can be a big-time producer–catching six touchdowns so far to lead the Ohio Valley Conference in that category. After opening the season with two receptions against Illinois, he has posted 100-plus receiving yard games against Missouri State, Southern Illinois and Austin Peay–catching all six of his TDs in those three games. He's been able to break loose for long completions and will continue to be one of K.D. Humphries' top targets. [divider]
Patrick Smith, Tennessee State
WHY? Smith, a 6-foot, 190-pound redshirt sophomore out of Memphis, Tenn. was named to the Ohio Valley Conference first-team last year as a freshman, ranking seventh nationally with 99.6 yards per game. He caught 54 passes and 10 touchdowns and is following up his stellar 2015 season with another incredible year. He and big-play threat Newbold (below) make for one of the top receiving tandems in the entire FCS. [divider]
Steven Newbold, Tennessee State
WHY?: Newbold, a freshman who was a high school three-star prospect from Miami powerhouse Carol City before signing this February, has made an instant impact for the Tigers. Arkansas Pine Bluff, Jackson State, Bethune Cookman et al have been lit up by this young man, and he's just starting to hit his stride. He is a big-play just waiting to happen at every turn, and one can be sure he will light up the OVC all year.[divider]