I have to admit, when I began taking a look at the all-time receiving stats for WSU (data from Sports Reference), I was working off a bit of confirmation bias. Watching Jason Hill, Brandon Gibson and Michael Bumpus tear up Pac-10 defenses had me thinking there was no way anyone other than Hill or Gibson could go down as the best ever wide out at WSU.
After a closer look, I think the question is a lot harder to answer than the other position groups we’ve looked at. Who the best receiver is may not even be the right question; could it instead be who was the best receiving group?
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find yards per target data for the whole data set, so we’re working off of yards per reception (y axis) and touchdown percentage (of a player’s receptions, what percent were touchdowns) (x axis). The color of each mark is the amount of career receptions the player has, the size of each mark represents their number of career touchdowns.
The filters on the right let you search for a player and adjust the career minimum receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. If you select a player or a group of players by lassoing, the table below will update with all of their stats.
Hill scored a ridiculous amount of touchdowns (32, tied for 2nd all-time in the Pac-12), while splitting catches with WSU’s 2nd all-time pass catcher and yard gainer (Bumpus and Gibson respectively).
Nipping at his heels though, is Chris Jackson (putting this here because I can), who was every bit as explosive per catch and you could expect him to score as often as Hill. His career touchdown numbers are lower because he had fewer snaps (only played two seasons, to Hill’s four).
Plus, he had to split catches with four other stud receivers. (Hello, Fab 5).
Even 2002’s group of Jerome Riley, Devard Darling and Mike Bush could be in the conversation.
Of course, we cannot leave out Marquess Wilson, who -- had he completed his junior season -- would own WSU’s receptions record to go along with career yardage, and he could have made a run at Hill’s all-time touchdown mark if he stayed for his senior year.
The last view of the dashboard reduces the minimum receptions to 30 so we could include Sammy Moore and gaze at his explosive glory (25 yards per catch and 23% touchdown %!).
This has been WSU’s most even position group so far, which makes sense given our history of chucking the rock. What do you think, does WSU have a "best receiver ever," or is better to look at them as the amazing groups they were?