The following are BSN’s top five Colorado wide receivers of all-time, listed in alphabetical order. Follow the link at the bottom of the page to a poll where you can vote your No. 1 and/or make a case for a player left off the list.
5-11, 190, Sacramento (Valley), Calif.
Speedy receiver could stretch defenses and had back-to-back 1,000-yard receiving seasons in 1995-96. Named first-team All-American in 1996 by The Sporting News and was first-team all-conference in 1995 and ’96. No. 2 all-time receiving yards (2,530) and No. 4 in receptions (135). Only Derek McCoy has had as many receiving touchdowns (20) at Colorado. Picked in the first round of the 1997 NFL Draft (No. 27 overall) by Carolina. Carruth is currently serving a prison term for felony charges in his connection in the attempted murder of his then-fiancée and their unborn child.
Charles E. Johnson
6-1, 185, San Bernadino (Cajon), Calif.
Came to CU when Buffs were an option running team, but began to flourish as a sophomore in 1991 when CU changed to more balanced attack. Adept at making circus catches, Johnson is third all-time in receiving yards (2,447) and sixth in receptions (127) at CU. An second-team All-American as a senior, Johnson is the only wide receiver in Big Eight history to be named league Offensive Player of the Year (‘93). He set 14 school records by the time he left. Picked 17th overall in the 1994 NFL Draft by Pittsburgh, and played nine years in the league.
6-5, 225, Wheat Ridge, Colo.
The two-sport star (football, basketball) left CU in 1975 with 68 career catches for 1,078 yards, second best at the time and still in the top 20. Named first-team All-American by The Sporting News in 1975 and was a preseason Playboy All-American the prior year. Only Buff to be drafted in three sports (Kansas City Kings, NBA; Cincinnati Reds, MLB), he went with football after the Cleveland Browns picked him in the 1976 draft. He played nine seasons in the NFL, mostly with Cleveland, and grabbed 263 passes and 24 touchdowns. Legendary high school football coach in Colorado, he now coaches at Mullen. Also play-by-play man for Denver Broncos radio broadcast.
5-11, 180, Las Vegas (Rancho), Nev.
Despite playing in the Buffs’ option-oriented offense, Pritchard earned first-team all-conference honors as a receiver in 1990. That season, Pritchard showed a knack for the big play when he caught 28 passes, for a remarkable 26.2 yards per catch and six touchdowns. A versatile offensive weapon at flanker, Pritchard also gained 445 yards on 29 rushes (15.3 ypc) and five touchdowns on the ground for the national championship Colorado team. His 26.4 career yards per catch is second all time at Colorado. Pritchard was also a return specialist on the 1990 team, and some called him a poor man’s Rocket Ismail, comparing him to the Notre Dame star who also played receiver and returner. But an inspection of the two players’ statistics that season revealed Pritchard was more productive. Pritchard was drafted in the first round (13th overall) by Atlanta in 1991 and played nine years in the NFL
6-4, 210, Detroit (Chadsey), Mich.
Two-time first-team All-American and All-Big Eight player, Westbrook combined great size, strength and speed. When he finished school in 1994, he was the program’s all-time leader in receptions (167) and receiving yards (2,548). Both marks still stand. Gained national recognition when he was on the receiving end of the famous Hail Mary pass from Kordell Stewart (tipped by fellow receiver Blake Anderson) in the end zone, which beat Michigan in Ann Arbor in 1994. The play earned an ESPY for national play of the year. Named MVP of the 1995 East-West Shrine game before being picked No. 4 overall in the ’95 NFL Draft by Washington. Played seven seasons with the Redskins.
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