Where the retiring Rishard Matthews ranks among all-time Nevada receivers

Rishard Matthews
Rishard Matthews had a pair of outstanding seasons with the Tennessee Titans. (James Kenney/AP file)

Former Nevada wide receiver Rishard Matthews retired Monday to cap a seven-year NFL career. Matthews is undoubetfly one of the best receivers in Wolf Pack history, but where exactly does he rank? Here's my list of the top 10 receivers in Nevada history, with equal weight being put on college and pro careers.

1. Nate Burleson

Burleson only played three seasons at Nevada, but he ranks fourth in catches (248) and receiving yards (3,287) and sixth in touchdowns (22) in program history. His 2002 season -- 138 catches for 1,629 yards and 12 touchdowns -- was one of the greatest season in Wolf Pack history. Burleson also holds program records in single-game catches (19) and yards (326) and had, by far, the best NFL career of any Wolf Pack receiver: 457 catches for 5,630 yards and 39 touchdowns in 12 seasons.

2. Trevor Insley

Insley, who played at Nevada from 1996-99, held nearly a dozen NCAA records upon graduating, including single-season receiving yards (2,060), career receiving yards (5,005), career 100-yard games (26) and career 200-yard games (six). He's still second in career receiving yards and his 298 catches are 16th in NCAA history. Insley's 35 touchdown catches is a Wolf Pack record. An undrafted free agent, Insley played with the Colts in 2001 and caught a touchdown pass from Peyton Manning before an ankle injury ended his career. He's one of college football's great receivers.

3. Rishard Matthews

Matthews was originally an Oregon commit but had to go to junior college before landing at Nevada, where he played two seasons (2010-11). Matthews played in the Pistol era when Nevada didn't throw a lot, but he still put up big numbers (147 catches, 2,243 yards, 13 TDs). He was the key player in Nevada's 2010 win over No. 3 Boise State and almost single-handedly won the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. Aside from Burleson, Matthews is the only Nevada alum to forge much of an NFL career as a receiver. In sevens seasons, he caught 230 passes for 3,160 yards and 21 touchdowns.

4. Alex Van Dyke

Van Dyke spent just two seasons at Nevada but put up ridiculous stats. In 1994, he had 98 catches for 1,246 yards and 10 touchdowns. In 1995, it was 126 catches for 1,854 yards and 16 scores. He's in the top six in program history in catches, receiving yards and receiving score despite playing just two years. He's first in NCAA history in receiving yards per game and second in receptions per game while ranking between O.J. Simpson and Christian McCaffrey in total yards per game (seventh in NCAA history). Van Dyke is the highest modern NFL draft pick in Nevada history (31st), although he caught only 26 passes in five seasons. Chris Ault once said Van Dyke was Nevada's best receiver ever from a pure physical perspective.

5. Geoff Noisy

Noisy's career overlapped that of Insley and Van Dyke, so he might have been overshadowing a little but he also put up huge numbers. Noisy is second in program history in catches (295, just three behind Insley) and receiving yards (4,249) and ninth in touchdowns (21). He caught 18 passes in two different games and has three of Nevada's top-10 single-season receiving yards seasons. Over his final three seasons in Reno, Noisy averaged 93 receptions and 1,341 yards per contest (in 11-game seasons). He didn't make it in the NFL, but he did graduate with a degree in chemical engineering.

6. Bryan Reeves

Another two-year player, Reeves ranks eighth in NCAA history in catches per game (8.19) and seventh in receiving yards per game (117.9). (Sidenote: Nevada has four of the top 20 in career receptions per game and four of the top 15 in career yards per game). Reeves caught 81 passes for 1,115 yards and 10 touchdowns in 1992 and put up 91 for 1,362 yards and 17 TDs in 1993. Reeves played two seasons in the NFL and was "mentally the toughest we ever had at the position" Ault once said.

7. Brandon Wimberly

Nothing could stop Wimberly, not even a bullet to the stomach that almost took his life and cost him an entire season of football. Playing at Nevada from 2009-10 and 2012-13, Wimberly is third in program history in catches (261), sixth in receiving yards (3,049) and 11th in touchdowns (18). He's one of five players in program history to lead Nevada in receiving yards in three separate seasons and was an excellent blocker, which is often overlooked when comparing receivers. He made training camp with the Jaguars but never made an active NFL roster.

8. Jeff Wright

Playing at Nevada from 1976-79, Wright was Nevada's first great receiver. When he left the school, he held virtually every pass-catching record in program history. He's now 10th in catches (175), seventh in yards (3,034) and tied for third in touchdowns (27). Wright, who also is second in program history in punt return yards, averaged 17.3 yards per reception, which is second in program history.

9. Marko Mitchell

Mitchell had great size (6-foot-4), great speed and was the best long-ball threat Nevada has ever had. Playing at Nevada from 2006-08, Mitchell caught 153 passes for 2,763 yards, an average of 18.1 yards per catch, the best mark in Nevada history. He's one of six Wolf Pack players with multiple 1,000-yard seasons and his 22 touchdowns rank tied for sixth all-time. He caught four passes in the NFL while playing 10 games for the Washington Redskins in 2009.

10. Treamelle Taylor

It's a tough call for the last spot as a case can be made for Wyatt Demps, Tony Logan, Bryan Calder and Nichiren Flowers, among others, but we'll give this spot to Taylor. Among the options listed here, he is the only player in Nevada's Hall of Fame. He had a two-year career at Nevada (1989-90) and was a first-team All-American in 1989 when he caught a then-program-record 64 passes for 1,033 yards, becoming the second 1,000-yard receiver in program history (after Wright). Taylor also is the best kick/punt returner in Wolf Pack history and had a stint with the CFL's Ottawa Rough Riders after being drafted by the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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