UNC Football: Josh Downs rated top five returning wide receiver by PFF

The sensational UNC football receiver is among the nation’s most anticipated returning players in 2022.

A few days ago, Anthony Treash of Pro Football Focus discussed his top wide receivers returning to college football for the 2022 season. Treash ranked North Carolina’s Josh Downs as the fifth-best college football wide receiver who will suit up in the fall behind Xavier Worthy (Texas Longhorns), Kayshon Boutte (LSU Tigers), Jordan Addison (Pittsburgh Panthers) and Jaxon Smith-Njigba (Ohio State Buckeyes).

Next season will be an interesting one for Downs since he will have a new signal-caller. Junior quarterback Sam Howell started off the new year by declaring for the NFL Draft. Although no starting quarterback has been named for UNC yet, Downs will undoubtedly be one of the team’s top targets.

Within the ACC, Downs was second only to Addison in yards and touchdowns, despite playing one less game and having one more reception. Downs finished the 2021 season with 101 receptions for 1,335 yards with eight touchdowns.

In comparison to the NCAA as a whole, Downs ranked 43rd in receiving touchdowns (8), 10th in yards (1,335), 11th in receiving yards per game (102.7) and sixth in receptions per game (7.8) during the 2021 season. Clearly, statistics support the fact that Downs was one of the top receivers this past season. Plus, he was a finalist for the Fred Biletnikoff Award the nation’s top wide receiver.

PFF gave Downs a receiving grade of 83.4. In addition to that, PFF reported that Downs is better than 97 percent of all college football receivers in regards to his ability to separate from the defender. Coupling these statistics with PFF’s research results in a fair assessment of what Downs projects to accomplish in the 2022 season.

During the 2021 season, Downs positioned himself as a reliable target capable of big plays any given moment. Downs is an electric wide receiver who will be called on to lead this team next year with a new quarterback at the helm. He is projected to be one of the best college football wide receivers in 2022.

For more on Josh Downs and other UNC football news, please check back with Keeping It Heel.