Where I Try To Convince You These WR Numbers Aren't Fake

Steroids : Home Runs :: Connor Halliday : Yards Per Target

Against Cal, the wide receivers combined for their lowest yards per target of the season, a paltry 4.29. Their season YPT and catch rate dropped below NCAA average for the first time. Things were not looking good. Enter Connor Halliday and the result was a ridiculous 14.70 YPT. Think about that for a second, 14.70 YPT. On average, every time Halliday threw the ball to a wide receiver, they gained nearly 15 yards. 

It's only the second time the group has averaged double digit YPT this season. Against UNLV, they put up a 12.88 YPT, albeit against inferior competition. I had to run the numbers against ASU twice just to believe them and I still don't. The highest YPT of the season, second highest catch rate, third lowest drop percentage, second highest first down percentage. All of this against a Pac-12 school.

I could go on and on about how absurd some of the numbers from ASU are, but instead, let's have a little fun with small sample sizes before we jump ahead to individual performances.

Attempts YPT Catch Rate Drop % 1st Down %
Lobbestael 254 7.81 59.06 9.06 36.61
Tuel 40 6.15 60.00 15.00 22.50
Halliday 45 13.27 66.67 2.20 48.90

Those numbers are obviously sustainable and should lead to at three Heisman Trophies for the display case in Bohler Gym.  

Player Targets Catches Yards Drops 1st Downs YPT Catch% Drop% 1st Down%
Isiah Barton 9 7 155 0 5 17.22 77.78 0.00 55.56
Bennett Bontemps 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Henry Eaddy 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Jared Karstetter 10 6 63 1 4 6.30 60.00 10.00 40.00
Isiah Myers 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Bobby Ratliff 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Gino Simone 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Kristoff Williams 1 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Marquess Wilson 10 8 223 1 6 22.30 80.00 10.00 60.00
WR Totals 30 21 441 2 15 14.70 70.00 6.67 50.00

I almost feel bad for Isiah Barton. He put's up the best game of his career and one of the best of any WSU receiver this season and he is overshadowed by Wilson's even better day. Barton's YPT was the sixth highest of any WSU receiver in 2011, combine that with a great catch rate and no drops and you have one heck of a performance.

Karstetter's YPT seems amateurish compared to the other two wide receivers, but his four first down catches proved to be huge. Halliday's stronger arm may open up the shorter routes Karstetter is so effective at running. I'm interested to see how his numbers change, if at all, with Halliday quarterbacking.

Which brings us to Wilson. Just when I think we've seen his best, he goes and does something like this. The highest YPT of any WSU wide receiver in 2011, the second  highest catch rate with at least six targets. The crazy thing about it, these numbers could be even better. Wilson's one drop came on an under-thrown ball on the second possession on the game. Wilson got behind the defense, but Lobbestael's pass didn't have enough air under it, was deflected and then dropped. Just for fun, let's say Wilson catches it for a 73-yard touchdown. In that case he ends up with a 29.6 YPT and 90 percent catch rate. 

Player Targets Catches Yards Drops 1st Downs YPT Catch% Drop% 1st Down%
Isiah Barton 82 49 638 10 27 7.78 59.76 12.20 32.93
Bennett Bontemps 2 1 10 0 1 5.00 50.00 0.00 50.00
Henry Eaddy 9 4 35 0 1 3.89 44.44 0.00 11.11
Jared Karstetter 81 45 507 9 29 6.26 55.56 11.11 35.80
Isiah Myers 13 7 76 0 3 5.85 53.85 0.00 23.08
Bobby Ratliff 32 21 213 1 14 6.66 65.63 3.13 43.75
Gino Simone 7 3 37 0 2 5.29 42.86 0.00 28.57
Kristoff Williams 11 7 113 1 4 10.27 63.64 9.09 36.36
Marquess Wilson 103 67 1197 9 43 11.62 65.05 8.74 41.75
WR Totals 340 204 2826 30 124 8.31 60.00 8.82 36.47

The yards per target climb back above NCAA average. Barton's season numbers get a nice boost while Wilson climbs back up into some rarefied air. A catch rate of at least 65 percent with 11.5 YPT and at least 100 targets is an elite group. In 2010, three players accomplished the feat. Justin Blackmon, Greg Salas and Alshon Jeffery. That's it, that's the list.

As good as Wilson was as a freshman, he is much improved this season. Not only has he managed to increase his catch rate nearly eight percent (57.9 - 65.1) but he has done it while improving his YPT (10.59 - 11.62). And he's done it all with an increase in targets per game, three different quarterbacks and plenty of attention from opposing defenses. 

Who knows what he will do next year with another year of development and hopefully more consistent quarterback play. Larry Fitzgerald at Pittsburgh is basically the ceiling for college wide receivers (92-1672-22), at this rate it wouldn't shock me if Wilson approached those kind of numbers as soon as next season.

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