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Dezmon Patmon is now a really darn good wide receiver

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His statistical profile is much better than you probably realize. That, plus your daily links.

NCAA Football: Utah at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

If I asked you who the Washington State Cougars’ best receiver is, I’m honestly not sure how many of you would reflexively say Dezmon Patmon. After all, Patmon wasn’t even the starter at “Z” to begin the season — that honor belonged to Easop Winston Jr. And through the first third of the season, he very clearly was the third option outside, behind both Winston and Tay Martin, the starter at “X.”

But Patmon has steadily become a more important cog to the offense, to the point where it might be time to call the big man WSU’s best receiver.

This isn’t just recency bias given his monster game on Saturday against Stanford (10 catches, 127 yards); he took over the team lead in receiving yards after the Oregon game, and now sits exactly 100 yards clear of Martin, despite having 10 fewer receptions.

Additionally, there are other efficiency stats that point to Patmon having a tremendous season: yards per target, catch rate (percentage of targets caught) and yards per catch. He’s leading WSU’s receivers in each category — and by a long shot in yards per target, generally the best measure of a receiver’s overall explosiveness:

WSU Receiving Stats 2018

Player Pos. Ht, Wt Year Targets Catches Yards TD Catch Rate Yds/Catch Yds/Target Target Rate
Player Pos. Ht, Wt Year Targets Catches Yards TD Catch Rate Yds/Catch Yds/Target Target Rate
Davontavean Martin WR 6'3, 185 SO 72 51 478 7 71% 9.4 6.6 17.7%
Easop Winston Jr. WR 5'11, 190 JR 53 35 463 6 66% 13.2 8.7 13.0%
James Williams RB 6'0, 205 JR 53 48 404 3 91% 8.4 7.6 13.0%
Dezmon Patmon WR 6'4, 220 JR 50 41 578 3 82% 14.1 11.6 12.3%
Jamire Calvin WR 5'10, 160 SO 43 28 372 0 65% 13.3 8.7 10.6%
Max Borghi RB 5'10, 195 FR 37 28 171 3 76% 6.1 4.6 9.1%
Kyle Sweet WR 6'0, 190 SR 34 23 259 0 68% 11.3 7.6 8.4%
Travell Harris WR 5'9, 180 FR 28 18 213 1 64% 11.8 7.6 6.9%
Renard Bell WR 5'8, 162 SO 20 13 159 3 65% 12.2 8.0 4.9%
Calvin Jackson Jr. WR 5'10, 170 JR 11 8 90 0 73% 11.3 8.2 2.7%
Keith Harrington RB 5'8, 200 SR 6 6 38 0 100% 6.3 6.3 1.5%
Data Courtesy of Bill Connelly SB Nation

If anything, this table suggests that Gardner Minshew II isn’t throwing to Patmon enough. And if you’re curious how Patmon’s efficiency stats stack up to some of the other premier receivers in the Pac-12 (I was!), here you go:

Pac-12’s Leading Receivers 2018

Player Ht, Wt Year Targets Catches Yards TD Catch Rate Yds/Catch Yds/Target
Player Ht, Wt Year Targets Catches Yards TD Catch Rate Yds/Catch Yds/Target
N'Keal Harry 6'4, 213 JR 74 46 667 6 62% 14.5 9.0
Laviska Shenault Jr. 6'2, 220 SO 73 60 780 6 82% 13.0 10.7
JJ Arcega-Whiteside 6'3, 225 SR 67 47 743 11 70% 15.8 11.1
Dezmon Patmon 6'4, 220 JR 50 41 578 3 82% 14.1 11.6
Data courtesy Bill Connelly SB Nation

He doesn’t stack up in terms of the traditional numbers, but yards per target, catch rate, etc. are all right there with each of these other three guys. It’s obviously tough to say whether Patmon would continue to produce at this clip under a heavier workload, but it’s fun to consider whether he could keep this up with an increase in balls coming his way.

Lastly, if you’re curious how his production this season stacks up with the top few WSU receivers from each year since Bill Connelly started publishing this stuff in 2015 (I was!), here you go:

WSU Receiving Stats 2014-2018

Player Year Ht, Wt Year Targets Catches Yards TD Target% Catch Rate Yds/Catch Yds/Target
Player Year Ht, Wt Year Targets Catches Yards TD Target% Catch Rate Yds/Catch Yds/Target
Dezmon Patmon 2018 6'4, 220 JR 50 41 578 3 12% 82% 14.1 11.6
Davontavean Martin 2018 6'3, 185 SO 72 51 478 7 18% 71% 9.4 6.6
Easop Winston Jr. 2018 5'11, 190 JR 53 35 463 6 13% 66% 13.2 8.7
Tavares Martin Jr. 2017 6'1, 183 JR 101 70 831 9 15% 69% 11.9 8.2
Isaiah Johnson-Mack 2017 6'3, 216 SO 90 60 555 5 13% 67% 9.3 6.2
Gabe Marks 2016 6'0, 190 SR 132 89 894 13 21% 67% 10.0 6.8
Tavares Martin Jr. 2016 6'1, 185 SO 95 64 728 7 15% 67% 11.4 7.7
River Cracraft 2016 6'0, 200 SR 73 53 701 5 11% 73% 13.2 9.6
Gabe Marks 2015 6'0, 190 JR 149 104 1192 15 21% 70% 11.5 8.0
Dom Williams 2015 6'2, 200 SR 130 75 1040 11 18% 58% 13.9 8.0
River Cracraft 2015 6'0, 200 JR 78 53 609 4 11% 68% 11.5 7.8
Data courtesy Bill Connelly, SB Nation 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015

I think Mike Leach put it well when describing Patmon’s development — which had been a lot slower than all of us would have liked over his first two years — via Theo Lawson’s story on Patmon earlier this week in the Spokesman-Review:

“He has been impressive lately and I think he continues to improve and I think that sometimes what he does physically – because he does have a unique strength to him – I don’t think it surprises anyone but him,” Leach said. “I think everybody looks and says, ‘Yeah, well of course,’ and then the only guy surprised is Dez.”

Sometimes, it just takes guys a little longer to figure it out. We’ve been waiting for this.

Football Links

‘All Gas’ mantra fueling Washington State’s highly productive backfield this season | The Spokesman-Review
Following a season in which they had more negative rushing plays than rushing touchdowns, Washington State’s tailbacks have crossed the goal line 13 times in eight games and they’ve lost yardage on only eight plays.

New No. 3 in Heisman hunt | Colleges | The Journal Gazette
Minshew has already had a terrific season, especially in his first year as the Washington State starter, but he'll ascend to the Pac-12 Pantheon if he can lead the Cougars to five more wins and a spot in the CFP. He's still something of a fringe Heisman candidate right now, a tier below Tagovailoa and Murray, but there's plenty of season left.

For some, every day is Dad's Day | Sports | dnews.com
Sure, the Washington State Cougars are 10th in the Associated Press poll and eighth in the College Football Playoff rankings. But they rate even higher in a slightly more obscure pecking order: the generational suffix list. Since it's Dad's Day in Wazzu football this week, let's call it the Honoring Dad and Grandpa List.

Cougar bowl projections | Sports | lmtribune.com
Bowl prognosticators aren't expecting WSU to crack the CFP, but several are guessing the Cougs will make the Rose Bowl (how's that for a consolation prize?).

Washington St. vs California Predictions: Odds, Previews, Game Time, TV, Spread 11-03-18 | College Football Predictions - HERO Sports
Here’s everything you need to know for the Washington St. vs California game, including real-time predictions, previews, odds, game times, TV times & the point spread.

Washington State Preview: Cougars Are the Pac-12's biggest surprise | Bear Insider
Since the Pac-12 football schedule was released in March, Cal knew it would be heading to the Palouse in early November. What the Bears did not know, nor could they have envisioned, is that they would be facing the conference’s highest-rated team (10th in AP poll) and it’s best, albeit faint, hope to reach the College Football Playoff.

Improved defense has Cal on verge of bowl eligibility - SFChronicle.com
Cal defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter has noticed a pattern in his Sunday chats with buddies from the coaching fraternity this season. During every conversation, there are complimentary remarks about how hard the Bears’ defense plays — a remarkable achievement considering how the unit was perceived when DeRuyter and head coach Justin Wilcox arrived in Berkeley 21 months ago.

Washington State is the PAC-12's Only National Title Hope (It's a Slim Hope) | SBD
With the College Football Playoff Committee’s new rankings out, we’re edging into the part of the season where the national title race has taken shape. Alabama, Clemson, and Notre Dame will have to lose a bad game or run over a committee member’s dog to miss out. Also: can Washington State make it?

Yogi Roth: Football gods divined union of Gardner Minshew & WSU - Cougfan.com
“I really think Gardner Minshew is one of the few people who could come into the situation (following Tyler Hilinski’s death), a complete stranger, and make it work,” Roth, an analyst with the Pac-12 Networks, told Cougfan the day ESPN’s GameDay trucks rolled into Pullman. “I believe in the football gods — I think he was supposed to play here, destined to be here.”

Cal Football: Washington State Writer Answers Five Questions About the Cougars - Cal Bears Maven
Theo Lawson covers Washington State for the Spokane Spokesman-Review, and he was kind enough to answer our five questions about the eighth-ranked Cougars, who play Cal on Saturday night in Pullman, Wash.

California Golden Bears vs. Washington State Cougars Odds, Betting Pick | Bleacher Report | Latest News, Videos and Highlights
California owns the recent rivalry with Washington State, winning 11 of the last 13 meetings straight up, including a shocking upset last season. But the Cougars are 2-3 SU and 3-2 against the spread over the last five meetings. Washington State shoots for revenge on Cal on Saturday night in Pullman.

WSU Cougars have a real shot at national title | Editorials | union-bulletin.com
No Joke! Washington State University is in the hunt for the national championship of college football.

Know Your Opponent: Previewing the Washington State Cougars offense - California Golden Blogs
The task for the Cal defense doesn’t get any easier.

Washington State Cougars football: Mike Leach on Halloween | Fort Worth Star-Telegram
No. 8 Washington State and Cougars coach Mike Leach are gearing up for a Pac 12 title and CFB Playoff runs. But the ex-Texas Tech Red Raiders coach also has some funny thoughts on Halloween and strippers.

Chase Garbers emerges from pack as Cal’s quarterback; now comes Cougars - SFChronicle.com
Cal’s quarterback carousel appears to have stopped spinning. In Saturday’s 12-10 upset of then-No. 15 Washington, Chase Garbers seemingly cemented himself as the Bears’ guy.

Video: Washington State coach Mike Leach post practice Oct. 31 - The Spokesman-Review - Oct. 31, 2018
Serving the Inland Northwest since 1883. Spokesman.com provides breaking and in-depth coverage of Spokane area news, sports and community.

Video: Washington State inside receivers coach Dave Nichol post practice Nov. 1 - The Spokesman-Review - Nov. 1, 2018
Serving the Inland Northwest since 1883. Spokesman.com provides breaking and in-depth coverage of Spokane area news, sports and community.

Mike Leach's best-ever coaching job points to looming intrigue - Cougfan.com
GARDNER MINSHEW IS in the Heisman Trophy chase with some formidable competition but the Cougar who appears to be on the glide path for the top honor in his arena is Mike Leach. If the Cougars continue apace, or even close to apace, it’s hard to see anyone holding a legitimate candle to him for the Eddie Robinson Award and a slew of other coaching honors. At age 57, 17 seasons into his head coaching career, Leach is doing his best work.

National Cougar notebook: Playoff ranking has WSU in control - Cougfan.com
WASHINGTON STATE checking in at No. 8 in the first College Football Playoff rankings is great news for both Cougar and Pac-12 fans, says Sporting News' Bill Bender. ESPN's Heather Dinich has a similar take. Rick Neuheisel has some strong words for the Cougs' playoff ranking plus a ton more nuggets in this notebook, including what a projection model revealed after simulating this Saturday's WSU-Cal game 10,000 times.

Cal Week 10 2018 Defensive Preview: #8 Washington State (7–1) - California Golden Blogs
Cal faces a top Pac-12 defense for the second week in a row

Washington State is No. 1, Utah No. 2, then a mess: My ballot for the Pac-12 Power Rankings | OregonLive.com
Putting Washington State No. 1 and Utah No. 2 was an easy call for me this week. I can't believe I'm typing this, but coach Mike Leach's Cougars look like the class of the conference.

WSU Athletics Links

Chandler Teigen Earns First Team All-Pac-12 Selection - Washington State University

Weaver, Thompson Earn Top Pac-12 Weekly Honors - Washington State University

WSU Academic Services Announces October Student-Athletes of the Month - Washington State University

Soccer's Regular Season Closes Friday With the Boeing Apple Cup Series - Washington State University

Volleyball Returns to Bohler to Face No. 21 Arizona, Arizona State - Washington State University

Rowing Will Close Fall Season Saturday - Washington State University

Women's Basketball Game Time Change - Washington State University

Cougars Welcome Northern Arizona and No. 5 California to Gibb Pool - Washington State University

Saint Mary’s Intercollegiate up Next for the Men's Golf - Washington State University

Cougar basketball: Defense rises in closed scrimmage with Griz - Cougfan.com
Length!