Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

19 Apr 2012

2005-11 College Football Receiver Data (Targets and Catches)

At Football Study Hall today, I posted a link to full 2005-11 college football targets-and-catches data. Measures like Catch Rate and Yards Per Target are so much more informative than simple yards and yards per catch, so hopefully people enjoy it. There is a likely essay about the data and its predictive and evaluative potential coming in the Football Outsiders Almanac 2012, but for now, here is all the raw data you can stomach.

And yes, the Big 12 has had some ridiculously prolific passing offenses. Who knew?

Posted by: Bill Connelly on 19 Apr 2012

19 comments, Last at 22 Apr 2012, 3:39pm by Bill Connelly

Comments

1
by Dan :: Thu, 04/19/2012 - 4:09pm

This is amazing. Thanks for sharing!

2
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Thu, 04/19/2012 - 5:37pm

It's odd how many of the really high catch-rate guys busted, and how many guys with underwhelming catch rates succeeded in a big way.

3
by tuluse :: Thu, 04/19/2012 - 5:47pm

Big 12 doesn't play defense, which apparently doesn't prepare receivers for the NFL.

4
by Lance :: Fri, 04/20/2012 - 9:17am

That's the meme on sports radio, but FEI put OSU at #3, Texas at #9, OU at #12, Kansas State at #19, and A&M at #27 overall in defense in 2012. Iowa State came in at #37, and Missouri at #46. If we assume (and most FO regulars do) that conventional stats (yards against, points against, etc.) aren't always great measures of how good a team's defense is, and that more comprehensive (and thus complicated) metrics are a better indicator, then it's tempting to say that the Big XII actually does feature pretty good defense. Not SEC-good, of course, and yes, some Big XII teams were bad-- Baylor ranked #89, and Tech was a horrible #116. But the notion often echoed by guys like Cowherd that the Big XII's defense was horrible (often said with affect) is, perhaps, not reflective of reality.

5
by Bill Connelly :: Fri, 04/20/2012 - 10:35am

I would have used "to say the least" instead of that final "perhaps." :-)

6
by tuluse :: Fri, 04/20/2012 - 10:48am

That's last year, I would be surprised if these numbers held up over time frame of the receivers who have busted.

7
by Lance :: Fri, 04/20/2012 - 12:08pm

Maybe. I don't have the time to go through for the past few years, but for 2010, we have:

Oklahoma #4
Nebraska #5
Missouri #10
A&M #19
Oklahoma State #23
Texas #30
Tech #58

There were bad teams there, too, but the Big XII certainly featured some pretty good defenses here, too. In 2009:

Oklahoma #4
Nebraska #7
Texas #9
Oklahoma State #21
Tech #32
Kansas #50

Not as good, and there starts to be a bigger drop off, but still a number of pretty good defenses. So I don't know. I'm not going to argue that the Big XII is crazy defense awesome. But I disagree with the notion (fueled by basic stats and the fact that so many Big XII offenses are so prolific) that really bad defense is being played there.

11
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Fri, 04/20/2012 - 4:25pm

When the #3 team and the #19 team have a 52-45 game, in regulation, whereas the SEC's #1 and #2 teams had a 9-6 OT game, perhaps there's something to be had by looking at conventional stats. =)

16
by Lance :: Sat, 04/21/2012 - 12:13pm

That wouldn't have anything to do with the pathetic OFFENSE of said SEC teams, would it?

8
by AnonymousBoob (not verified) :: Fri, 04/20/2012 - 2:00pm

Inaccurate. The spread offenses breed high catch rates even if they aren't all that effective (and those in the Big XII are).

13
by markus (not verified) :: Fri, 04/20/2012 - 4:47pm

Very true.

17
by Lance :: Sat, 04/21/2012 - 12:14pm

But that wasn't the argument. The argument was that Big XII receivers have inflated stats because they mostly play bad Big XII defenses. I was simply suggesting that the notion that the Big XII plays bad defense (at least among the teams in the top half) should be re-evaluated.

9
by Bill Connelly :: Fri, 04/20/2012 - 2:25pm

For anyone interested in a follow-up, I posted my take on the best receiver seasons from 2005-11 today...

http://www.footballstudyhall.com/2012/4/20/2962722/college-football-rece...

10
by tuluse :: Fri, 04/20/2012 - 3:04pm

Holy cow Dez Bryant getting the Randy ratio.

12
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Fri, 04/20/2012 - 4:28pm

"3. Must have at least a 55 percent catch rate."

That one also catches Calvin Johnson.

15
by Dan :: Fri, 04/20/2012 - 9:38pm

Here's the leaderboard for yards per play (yards divided by team's passing attempts, which is yards per target times target rate):

year.. player......... team........... ypp (yds / plays)
2009 Demaryius Thomas Georgia Tech 7.42 (1120 / 151)
2011 Stephen Hill Georgia Tech 5.66 (820 / 145)
2008 Tyree Barnes Navy 4.94 (400 / 81)
2008 Dez Bryant Oklahoma State 4.81 (1480 / 308)
2010 Greg Jones Navy 4.80 (662 / 138)
2008 Demaryius Thomas Georgia Tech 4.42 (627 / 142)
2008 Hakeem Nicks North Carolina 4.21 (1222 / 290)
2006 Adarius Bowman Oklahoma State 4.17 (1181 / 283)
2010 Alshon Jeffery South Carolina 4.14 (1517 / 366)
2009 Danario Alexander Missouri 4.05 (1781 / 440)
2011 Kendall Wright Baylor 4.02 (1672 / 416)
2005 D'Juan Woods Oklahoma State 3.92 (879 / 224)
2009 Tim Brown Rutgers 3.91 (1150 / 294)
2011 A.J. Jenkins Illinois 3.73 (1276 / 342)
2011 Nelson Rosario UCLA 3.67 (1161 / 316)
2005 Hank Baskett New Mexico 3.67 (1071 / 292)
2006 Earl Bennett Vanderbilt 3.63 (1146 / 316)
2005 Jason Tomlinson Navy 3.62 (445 / 123)
2011 Jordan White Western Michigan 3.61 (1911 / 529)
2005 Mike Hass Oregon State 3.60 (1532 / 425)

Yes, Demaryius Thomas gained an average of 7.4 yards each time Georgia Tech threw the ball in 2009. This measure is obviously too kind to receivers on teams like GT & Navy that rarely pass, but it identifies a lot of the same top seasons.

18
by Joseph :: Sun, 04/22/2012 - 12:45am

Interesting that you think Bryant's 2008 is better than Blackmon's 2010.

19
by Bill Connelly :: Sun, 04/22/2012 - 3:39pm

Total judgment call, obviously. They were both great. Bryant's target rate was so ridiculously high, and he still had numbers that good, so he got the nod.

14
by Dan :: Fri, 04/20/2012 - 9:19pm

Do you have data on other receiving stats, like TDs and 40+ yard receptions? TDs are a big part of Playmaker Score, and my hunch is that number of long receptions is a good measure of playmaking ability.

In other words, this free ice cream with hot fudge and sprinkles is great, but could you add some of those crumbled up cookie things?