VN: The 2014 College Receiver Crop

VN: The 2014 College Receiver Crop
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

by Bill Connelly

A couple of columns ago, I took a look at some updated rushing numbers for the 2014 college football season. On the eve of Championship Weekend -- when players like Alabama's Amari Cooper, Oregon's Byron Marshall, Ohio State's Devin Smith, and even Kansas State's Tyler Lockett could play a direct role in deciding which teams reach the first College Football Playoff -- I thought now would be a good time to look at the pass catchers.

We'll go about this with about the same approach that we used for runners: share the top names below, and share an Excel file with full information.

But first, let's quickly revisit an old concept: RYPR.

Below, you will find a measure that attempts to answer the following questions about a given pass-catcher:

1) How much do you produce?
2) How important are you to your team's passing game?
3) How good is the passing game to which you are important?
4) And how much is the forward pass featured in your team's offense?

The idea was to simply multiply the following four factors together: a player's Yards Per Target, his Target Rate, his team's Passing S&P+, and his team's pass rate. Target Rate x Yards Per Target x Passing S&P+ x Pass Rate = RYPR.

Simplified, it's basically this:

RYPR = (receiving yards / total team plays) * Passing S&P+

Again, it's not bad. It gives a single player too much credit for his team's Passing S&P+ overall, but the initial goal here isn't to produce the perfect receiver measure -- it's simply to answer the four questions listed above. As soon as I give myself the time, we'll take this further.

I've been working with some students on different ways to look at receiver data, but let's ride the RYPR one more time before, like everything else this offseason, the ideas get refined a bit.

Here's a link to a file with all players who have been targeted at least 10 times this season.

Here are the top 100 wide receivers, ranked in order of their RYPR score. Below, we'll look at the top 25 tight ends and running backs, too.

 Top 100 college wide receivers according to RYPR Team Player Year Targets Catches Yards CatchRate Yds PerTarget TargetRate TargetNo. PassingS&P+ PassRate RYPR WR Rk Alabama Amari Cooper JR 146 103 1573 70.5% 10.8 38.7% 1 150.4 47.8% 300.1 1 Colorado State Rashard Higgins SO 121 89 1640 73.6% 13.6 30.6% 1 122.1 53.9% 273.5 2 Kansas State Tyler Lockett SR 113 79 1193 69.9% 10.6 34.8% 1 120.6 52.7% 233.6 3 Florida State Rashad Greene SR 123 86 1183 69.9% 9.6 29.8% 1 140.8 56.9% 229.5 4 Western Michigan Corey Davis SO 99 70 1232 70.7% 12.4 31.3% 1 118.0 47.5% 218.5 5 Michigan State Tony Lippett SR 98 60 1124 61.2% 11.5 28.1% 1 144.4 45.9% 213.3 6 Pittsburgh Tyler Boyd SO 104 69 1149 66.3% 11.1 40.2% 1 123.1 37.6% 205.2 7 USC Nelson Agholor JR 125 97 1223 77.6% 9.8 30.6% 1 127.8 52.4% 200.3 8 Rutgers Leonte Carroo JR 90 53 1043 58.9% 11.6 28.3% 1 135.0 44.4% 196.7 9 Kansas State Curry Sexton SR 90 67 940 74.4% 10.4 27.7% 2 120.6 52.7% 184.0 10 Oklahoma Sterling Shepard JR 78 50 957 64.1% 12.3 25.6% 1 133.1 43.2% 180.4 11 Notre Dame William Fuller SO 106 71 1037 67.0% 9.8 26.0% 1 126.5 54.0% 174.0 12 West Virginia Kevin White SR 144 102 1318 70.8% 9.2 30.4% 1 120.0 51.9% 173.5 13 Washington State Vince Mayle SR 163 106 1483 65.0% 9.1 21.8% 1 111.7 78.4% 173.5 14 Georgia Tech DeAndre Smelter SR 62 35 715 56.5% 11.5 38.8% 1 144.0 25.2% 161.9 15 Western Michigan Daniel Braverman SO 97 79 911 81.4% 9.4 30.7% 2 118.0 47.5% 161.6 16 Miami-FL Phillip Dorsett SR 64 31 826 48.4% 12.9 18.7% 1 126.3 52.4% 159.8 17 Massachusetts Tajae Sharpe JR 135 85 1281 63.0% 9.5 29.3% 1 92.3 62.0% 159.0 18 Arizona State Jaelen Strong JR 138 75 1062 54.3% 7.7 33.4% 1 113.1 54.2% 157.8 19 South Carolina Pharoh Cooper SO 89 61 982 68.5% 11.0 21.3% 1 126.3 52.7% 156.6 20 East Carolina Justin Hardy SR 138 98 1194 71.0% 8.7 27.7% 1 101.6 63.2% 153.9 21 Old Dominion Antonio Vaughan SR 94 63 1019 67.0% 10.8 21.9% 2 106.9 59.9% 152.0 22 Auburn D'haquille Williams JR 68 45 730 66.2% 10.7 22.6% 2 162.8 37.8% 149.2 23 Auburn Sammie Coates JR 70 30 717 42.9% 10.2 23.3% 1 162.8 37.8% 146.4 24 Ohio State Devin Smith SR 40 26 662 65.0% 16.6 12.8% 2 156.5 43.7% 144.7 25 Team Player Year Targets Catches Yards CatchRate Yds PerTarget TargetRate TargetNo. PassingS&P+ PassRate RYPR WR Rk Baylor Corey Coleman SO 72 53 928 73.6% 12.9 17.5% 3 127.8 48.7% 140.1 26 UCLA Jordan Payton JR 91 63 896 69.2% 9.9 23.0% 1 124.7 49.5% 139.9 27 Colorado Nelson Spruce JR 153 106 1198 69.3% 7.8 29.7% 1 105.0 57.3% 139.9 28 Ohio State Michael Thomas SO 56 40 639 71.4% 11.4 17.9% 1 156.5 43.7% 139.7 29 Illinois Mike Dudek FR 105 69 965 65.7% 9.2 25.5% 1 106.2 56.1% 139.4 30 Idaho Joshua McCain SR 120 76 1162 63.3% 9.7 29.8% 1 90.2 53.0% 137.9 31 Marshall Tommy Shuler SR 99 67 869 67.7% 8.8 27.0% 1 112.9 50.6% 135.2 32 Tulsa Keevan Lucas SO 154 101 1219 65.6% 7.9 33.7% 1 101.2 50.1% 135.1 33 Texas Tech Jakeem Grant JR 110 67 938 60.9% 8.5 20.7% 1 122.0 62.0% 133.8 34 Central Michigan Titus Davis SR 83 54 843 65.1% 10.2 25.9% 1 106.0 47.9% 133.2 35 Oregon Devon Allen FR 58 37 666 63.8% 11.5 16.2% 2 150.6 47.4% 133.0 36 Ole Miss Laquon Treadwell SO 75 48 632 64.0% 8.4 21.4% 1 133.7 53.7% 129.8 37 Central Florida Breshad Perriman JR 73 37 767 50.7% 10.5 24.1% 1 108.9 46.6% 128.4 38 Texas A&M Josh Reynolds SO 73 49 805 67.1% 11.0 15.7% 2 126.2 58.5% 128.1 39 Missouri Bud Sasser SR 106 65 898 61.3% 8.5 31.3% 1 99.0 47.3% 124.1 40 Texas John Harris SR 99 64 1015 64.6% 10.3 26.3% 1 93.3 48.8% 122.8 41 Ole Miss Vince Sanders SR 53 35 594 66.0% 11.2 15.1% 3 133.7 53.7% 122.0 42 Duke Jamison Crowder SR 131 79 983 60.3% 7.5 32.0% 1 95.3 53.0% 121.0 43 Baylor KD Cannon FR 79 47 800 59.5% 10.1 19.2% 2 127.8 48.7% 120.8 44 Miami-OH David Frazier SR 110 59 949 53.6% 8.6 25.5% 1 88.6 61.6% 120.0 45 Clemson Mike Williams SO 80 48 918 60.0% 11.5 20.1% 2 104.3 49.7% 119.6 46 TCU Josh Doctson JR 96 51 812 53.1% 8.5 22.1% 1 115.4 54.8% 118.4 47 Utah State Hunter Sharp JR 96 63 918 65.6% 9.6 26.8% 1 96.4 47.9% 118.4 48 BYU Mitch Mathews JR 96 64 840 66.7% 8.8 23.1% 1 111.5 52.4% 118.0 49 Nebraska Kenny Bell SR 74 40 717 54.1% 9.7 25.5% 1 118.0 40.4% 117.7 50 Team Player Year Targets Catches Yards CatchRate Yds PerTarget TargetRate TargetNo. PassingS&P+ PassRate RYPR WR Rk Texas Tech Bradley Marquez SR 102 65 821 63.7% 8.1 19.2% 2 122.0 62.0% 117.1 51 Western Kentucky Taywan Taylor SO 56 44 739 78.6% 13.2 11.2% 4 127.6 61.9% 117.0 52 West Virginia Mario Alford SR 104 62 888 59.6% 8.5 22.0% 2 120.0 51.9% 117.0 53 Western Kentucky Jared Dangerfield JR 88 64 738 72.7% 8.4 17.6% 1 127.6 61.9% 116.9 54 Cincinnati Mekale McKay JR 65 39 643 60.0% 9.9 16.2% 2 125.3 57.6% 115.7 55 LSU Travin Dural SO 79 37 758 46.8% 9.6 31.9% 1 107.8 35.0% 115.3 56 Washington State Isiah Myers SR 116 78 972 67.2% 8.4 15.5% 2 111.7 78.4% 113.7 57 Air Force Jalen Robinette SO 70 41 763 58.6% 10.9 37.0% 1 117.1 23.9% 112.8 58 Rice Jordan Taylor SR 75 49 781 65.3% 10.4 24.3% 1 112.1 39.7% 112.4 59 Northern Illinois Da'Ron Brown SR 88 48 841 54.5% 9.6 32.5% 1 100.6 35.8% 111.9 60 Boise State Thomas Sperbeck SO 55 38 664 69.1% 12.1 14.7% 2 133.6 46.9% 111.6 61 Oregon Dwayne Stanford SO 52 37 557 71.2% 10.7 14.6% 3 150.6 47.4% 111.3 62 Georgia State Donovan Harden JR 89 60 885 67.4% 9.9 21.5% 2 92.4 56.1% 111.0 63 Michigan Devin Funchess JR 100 62 733 62.0% 7.3 32.5% 1 99.8 46.7% 111.0 64 Clemson Artavis Scott FR 83 68 851 81.9% 10.3 20.9% 1 104.3 49.7% 110.8 65 Old Dominion Zach Pascal SO 104 59 743 56.7% 7.1 24.2% 1 106.9 59.9% 110.8 66 Nebraska Jordan Westerkamp SO 61 41 666 67.2% 10.9 21.0% 2 118.0 40.4% 109.4 67 Louisville DeVante Parker SR 57 35 735 61.4% 12.9 15.4% 3 112.8 48.8% 109.2 68 East Carolina Cam Worthy SR 74 43 846 58.1% 11.4 14.9% 3 101.6 63.2% 109.1 69 USC JuJu Smith FR 77 51 658 66.2% 8.6 18.8% 2 127.8 52.4% 107.9 70 Cincinnati Shaq Washington JR 82 56 598 68.3% 7.3 20.4% 1 125.3 57.6% 107.6 71 Wisconsin Alex Erickson JR 76 44 651 57.9% 8.6 32.1% 1 109.3 35.5% 106.7 72 Georgia Chris Conley SR 48 32 577 66.7% 12.0 16.8% 2 125.4 42.0% 106.3 73 BYU Jordan Leslie SR 93 54 756 58.1% 8.1 22.4% 2 111.5 52.4% 106.2 74 Penn State DaeSean Hamilton FR 127 75 848 59.1% 6.7 29.7% 1 92.8 57.4% 105.7 75 Team Player Year Targets Catches Yards CatchRate Yds PerTarget TargetRate TargetNo. PassingS&P+ PassRate RYPR WR Rk Louisiana Tech Trent Taylor SO 89 61 808 68.5% 9.1 22.6% 1 97.3 52.6% 105.0 76 North Carolina Ryan Switzer SO 80 55 708 68.8% 8.9 18.2% 1 119.8 54.2% 104.6 77 Ole Miss Cody Core JR 52 36 506 69.2% 9.7 14.9% 4 133.7 53.7% 103.9 78 Florida Demarcus Robinson SO 83 47 774 56.6% 9.3 30.0% 1 92.8 39.5% 102.6 79 California Kenny Lawler SO 83 54 701 65.1% 8.5 16.4% 1 123.7 59.5% 102.1 80 Toledo Corey Jones SO 96 66 812 68.8% 8.5 26.9% 1 102.6 43.6% 101.8 81 Arizona Cayleb Jones SO 112 64 841 57.1% 7.5 24.8% 1 99.5 54.6% 101.1 82 Mississippi State De'Runnya Wilson SO 68 38 575 55.9% 8.5 18.8% 1 134.6 47.1% 100.9 83 Maryland Stefon Diggs JR 83 52 654 62.7% 7.9 22.9% 2 102.7 53.6% 99.2 84 UNLV Devonte Boyd FR 100 64 973 64.0% 9.7 21.6% 1 88.5 53.3% 98.9 85 Cincinnati Chris Moore JR 48 24 548 50.0% 11.4 12.0% 4 125.3 57.6% 98.6 86 Buffalo Ron Willoughby JR 84 50 771 59.5% 9.2 24.1% 1 93.6 47.5% 98.6 87 Boise State Shane Williams-Rhodes JR 76 68 585 89.5% 7.7 20.4% 1 133.6 46.9% 98.3 88 Temple Jalen Fitzpatrick SR 81 50 702 61.7% 8.7 24.1% 1 82.7 56.5% 97.7 89 Stanford Ty Montgomery SR 94 61 604 64.9% 6.4 27.3% 1 109.1 50.4% 96.6 90 Fresno State Josh Harper SR 122 76 941 62.3% 7.7 30.4% 1 84.0 48.9% 96.4 91 California Stephen Anderson JR 65 46 661 70.8% 10.2 12.8% 4 123.7 59.5% 96.2 92 Oklahoma Durron Neal JR 74 40 508 54.1% 6.9 24.3% 2 133.1 43.2% 95.7 93 Oregon State Victor Bolden SO 107 72 798 67.3% 7.5 23.2% 1 94.6 58.4% 95.5 94 TCU Kolby Listenbee JR 74 36 653 48.6% 8.8 17.1% 2 115.4 54.8% 95.2 95 UL-Monroe Rashon Ceaser JR 112 77 872 68.8% 7.8 22.3% 2 84.1 64.3% 94.0 96 Baylor Antwan Goodley SR 85 42 621 49.4% 7.3 20.6% 1 127.8 48.7% 93.8 97 UL-Monroe Kenzee Jackson SR 133 79 866 59.4% 6.5 26.5% 1 84.1 64.3% 93.3 98 UL-Monroe Ajalen Holley SO 97 57 863 58.8% 8.9 19.3% 3 84.1 64.3% 93.1 99 Florida Atlantic Lucky Whitehead SR 106 76 709 71.7% 6.7 29.8% 1 96.2 48.4% 92.6 100

Some quick thoughts:

• Amari Cooper has been so good this season that I was worried nothing would pass the eyeball test if it didn't have him atop the list. It has him atop the list.
• That Tyler Lockett, Rashad Greene, Tyler Boyd, Nelson Agholor, Sterling Shepard (despite injury), and Kevin White are also in the top 20 is certainly another nice thing for the eyeball test.
• The worst, or perhaps least successful, 100-target receiver: Hawaii's Quinton Pedroza. The most successful receiver with 50 or fewer targets: Ohio State's Devin Smith.
• Two Western Michigan sophomores in the top 16. WMU's P.J. Fleck is recruiting like crazy considering WMU's stature, and wow, they could be really good over the next couple of seasons.
 Top 100 college tight ends according to RYPR Team Player Year Targets Catches Yards CatchRate Yds PerTarget TargetRate TargetNo. PassingS&P+ PassRate RYPR TE Rk Miami-FL Clive Walford SR 55 44 676 80.0% 12.3 16.1% 2 126.3 52.4% 130.7 1 Ole Miss Evan Engram SO 61 37 633 60.7% 10.4 17.4% 2 133.7 53.7% 130.0 2 Florida State Nick O'Leary SR 69 44 517 63.8% 7.5 16.7% 2 140.8 56.9% 100.3 3 Oregon Pharaoh Brown JR 33 25 420 75.8% 12.7 9.2% 6 150.6 47.4% 83.9 4 Kent State Casey Pierce SR 94 61 658 64.9% 7.0 22.6% 1 84.7 62.3% 83.4 5 Massachusetts Jean Sifrin JR 72 41 637 56.9% 8.9 15.6% 2 92.3 62.0% 79.1 6 Minnesota Maxx Williams SO 54 29 471 53.7% 8.7 26.0% 1 106.5 32.3% 77.9 7 Arkansas Hunter Henry SO 56 36 495 64.3% 8.8 17.3% 2 121.1 40.9% 75.9 8 Florida International Jonnu Smith SO 84 61 688 72.6% 8.2 27.2% 1 78.9 42.9% 75.4 9 Kansas Jimmay Mundine SR 61 45 584 73.8% 9.6 17.5% 3 92.6 47.8% 74.2 10 Wake Forest Cam Serigne FR 70 49 469 70.0% 6.7 21.9% 2 85.5 56.5% 71.0 11 Western Kentucky Mitchell Henry SR 45 29 442 64.4% 9.8 9.0% 6 127.6 61.9% 69.9 12 Stanford Austin Hooper SO 49 35 428 71.4% 8.7 14.2% 3 109.1 50.4% 68.4 13 Michigan State Josiah Price SO 39 23 355 59.0% 9.1 11.2% 3 144.4 45.9% 67.3 14 Virginia Tech Bucky Hodges FR 67 42 517 62.7% 7.7 17.4% 2 93.9 51.9% 65.6 15 Vanderbilt Steven Scheu JR 60 39 525 65.0% 8.8 18.0% 2 88.4 46.7% 64.8 16 Boise State Jake Roh FR 44 31 377 70.5% 8.6 11.8% 4 133.6 46.9% 63.4 17 Massachusetts Rodney Mills JR 59 30 489 50.8% 8.3 12.8% 3 92.3 62.0% 60.7 18 Marshall Eric Frohnapfel SR 43 33 389 76.7% 9.1 11.7% 3 112.9 50.6% 60.5 19 Georgia State Joel Ruiz JR 57 39 478 68.4% 8.4 13.8% 4 92.4 56.1% 60.0 20 Mississippi State Malcolm Johnson SR 34 24 339 70.6% 10.0 9.4% 7 134.6 47.1% 59.4 21 Kansas State Zach Trujillo SR 19 16 301 84.2% 15.8 5.8% 5 120.6 52.7% 58.9 22 Central Michigan Deon Butler SR 34 26 355 76.5% 10.4 10.6% 3 106.0 47.9% 56.1 23 NC State David Grinnage SO 35 26 343 74.3% 9.8 10.3% 6 103.2 52.1% 54.4 24 Wisconsin Sam Arneson SR 36 25 331 69.4% 9.2 15.2% 2 109.3 35.5% 54.2 25

Three tight ends would land in the overall RYPR top 100, and they're three damn good ones. Clive Walford and Evan Engram are explosive up-the-seam targets (just ask Mississippi State about Engram), and Nick O'Leary is Jameis Winston's bailout option. And the fact that Oregon hasn't missed injured Pharaoh Brown very much says quite a bit about quarterback Marcus Mariota. Brown was becoming a hell of a weapon for them.

 Top 100 college running backs according to RYPR Team Player Year Targets Catches Yards CatchRate Yds PerTarget TargetRate TargetNo. PassingS&P+ PassRate RYPR RB Rk Oregon Byron Marshall JR 77 56 791 72.7% 10.3 21.6% 1 150.6 47.4% 158.0 1 Arizona State D.J. Foster JR 88 59 646 67.0% 7.3 21.3% 2 113.1 54.2% 95.9 2 Boise State Jay Ajayi JR 50 45 536 90.0% 10.7 13.4% 3 133.6 46.9% 90.1 3 Ohio State Jalin Marshall FR 37 26 356 70.3% 9.6 11.8% 3 156.5 43.7% 77.8 4 USC Javorius Allen JR 52 40 442 76.9% 8.5 12.7% 3 127.8 52.4% 72.4 5 Miami-FL Duke Johnson JR 53 33 370 62.3% 7.0 15.5% 3 126.3 52.4% 71.5 6 Western Kentucky Leon Allen JR 53 46 431 86.8% 8.1 10.6% 5 127.6 61.9% 68.2 7 Ohio State Dontre Wilson SO 34 21 300 61.8% 8.8 10.9% 4 156.5 43.7% 65.5 8 Mississippi State Josh Robinson JR 38 28 370 73.7% 9.7 10.5% 3 134.6 47.1% 64.9 9 Idaho Richard Montgomery Jr. SO 70 50 543 71.4% 7.8 17.4% 2 90.2 53.0% 64.5 10 UL-Lafayette Elijah McGuire SO 50 40 449 80.0% 9.0 16.2% 2 94.8 43.0% 59.4 11 South Carolina Mike Davis JR 38 30 349 78.9% 9.2 9.1% 6 126.3 52.7% 55.7 12 Illinois Josh Ferguson JR 55 44 373 80.0% 6.8 13.3% 3 106.2 56.1% 53.9 13 Washington State Jamal Morrow FR 69 61 460 88.4% 6.7 9.2% 4 111.7 78.4% 53.8 14 California Daniel Lasco JR 41 33 356 80.5% 8.7 8.1% 6 123.7 59.5% 51.8 15 NC State Matt Dayes SO 42 31 303 73.8% 7.2 12.4% 3 103.2 52.1% 48.0 16 Texas Tech DeAndre Washington JR 45 30 328 66.7% 7.3 8.5% 4 122.0 62.0% 46.8 17 Ohio State Ezekiel Elliott SO 28 26 208 92.9% 7.4 8.9% 6 156.5 43.7% 45.5 18 Middle Tennessee Shane Tucker SO 35 25 351 71.4% 10.0 10.9% 4 98.6 42.1% 45.4 19 West Virginia Wendell Smallwood SO 40 30 321 75.0% 8.0 8.5% 5 120.0 51.9% 42.2 20 Northwestern Dan Vitale JR 62 40 402 64.5% 6.5 14.3% 3 84.5 53.6% 41.9 21 Ole Miss Jaylen Walton JR 23 18 201 78.3% 8.7 6.6% 6 133.7 53.7% 41.3 22 Stanford Christian McCaffrey FR 17 16 251 94.1% 14.8 4.9% 6 109.1 50.4% 40.1 23 Florida State Karlos Williams SR 31 24 206 77.4% 6.7 7.5% 5 140.8 56.9% 40.0 24 Louisiana Tech Kenneth Dixon JR 35 26 306 74.3% 8.7 8.9% 6 97.3 52.6% 39.8 25

Football Study Hall's Ian Boyd wrote about Byron Marshall today. Out of necessity, he has basically become Oregon's leading wideout while still carrying the ball 44 times. He barely counts as a running back, but that's how he's listed, so I'll keep him here.

(Meanwhile, holy moly, Jay Ajayi. A 90 percent catch rate and 11.9 yards per catch? A rare combination.)

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2 comments, Last at 05 Dec 2014, 6:11pm

#1 by hoegher // Dec 05, 2014 - 5:01pm

Dan Vitale (jNW) doesn't count. Northwestern just gets cute with their position naming conventions.

Points: 0

#2 by Kal // Dec 05, 2014 - 6:11pm

It's really cool that Marshall would be the 18th best receiver on the list. He's been incredible.

Points: 0

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