Can Mr. Crabtree repeat his incredible feats from a year ago? it's a question we've all been asking ourselves, but haven't had the time or inclination to figure out if, statistically, what Crabtree has done, and whether or not it can be repeated.
For me the most difficult part to wrap my tiny brain around is that what Mr. Crabtree did at as a freshman is unprecedented, so there's no real comparison. As a redshirt freshman Mr. Crabtree essentially changed the game. Just to remind you, here's Mr. Crabtree's numbers:
I'm sure that arguments can be made that Mr. Crabtree's impressive freshman season, is perhaps not the best in NCAA history, but impressive receiving season ever, in the history of ever, but the best season by a receiver in a given year where, but looking at Crabtree's contemporaries, I think a really good argument can be made. For instance, Manny Hazard still holds the single-season record of receptions in a year with 142. The most touchdowns in a season is 27, set by the great Jerry Rice and Troy Edwards.
Perhaps the most impressive freshman and sophomore seasons were from Larry Fitzgerald, who had the following stats in 2002 and in 2003 at Pittsburgh:
One could reasonably extrapolate Fitzgerald's numbers from Fitzgerald's freshman season to the numbers that he provided in his sophomore season and it makes sense. The problem with Crabtree is that his numbers are so ridiculously good that it's almost impossible to determine how well Mr. Crabtree will perform in his sophomore season. Keep in mind one other thing about Fitzgerald. In 2003, Fitzgerald came in 2nd in Heisman voting with those numbers. Just something to think about.
The most remarkable receiving seasons in NCAA history are rarely ever really repeated by a player. Let's take a look at the record book for most receptions in a season:
|Manny Hazard, Houston||1989||11||142||1,689||22|
|*Troy Edwards, Louisiana Tech||1998||12||140||1,996||*27|
|Nate Burleson, Nevada||2002||12||138||1,629||12|
|Howard Twilley, Tulsa||1965||10||134||1,779||16|
|Trevor Insley, Nevada||1999||11||134||*2,060||13|
|Alex Van Dyke, Nevada||1995||11||129||1,854||16|
|J.R. Tolver, San Diego St.||2002||13||128||1,785||13|
|Damond Wilkins, Nevada||1996||11||114||1,121||4|
|Marcus Harris, Wyoming||1996||12||109||1,650||13|
|Chris Daniels, Purdue||1999||11||109||1,133||5|
|James Jordan, Louisiana Tech||2000||12||109||1,003||4|
|Jason Phillips, Houston||1988||11||108||1,444||15|
|Kassim Osgood, San Diego St.||2002||13||108||1,552||8|
|Rashaun Woods, Oklahoma St.||2002||13||107||1,695||17|
|Fred Gilbert, Houston||1991||11||106||957||7|
|Chris Penn, Tulsa||1993||11||105||1,578||12|
|Dante Ridgeway, Ball St.||2004||11||105||1,399||8|
|Sherman Smith, Houston||1992||11||103||923||6|
|Eugene Baker, Kent St.||1997||11||103||1,549||18|
|Lance Moore, Toledo||2003||12||103||1,194||9|
|James Dixon, Houston||1988||11||102||1,103||11|
|*Troy Edwards, Louisiana Tech||1997||11||102||1,707||13|
|Chad Owens, Hawaii||2004||13||102||1,290||17|
|David Williams, Illinois||1984||11||101||1,278||8|
|Arnold Jackson, Louisville||1999||11||101||1,209||9|
|Jay Miller, BYU||1973||11||100||1,181||8|
|Dameane Douglas, California||1998||11||100||1,150||4|
|Kwame Cavil, Texas||1999||13||100||1,188||6|
|Kevin Curtis, Utah St.||2001||11||100||1,531||10|
So of this group only Troy Edwards was able to crack the top 30 seasons in terms of receptions two years in a row. I know, you're probably asking yourselves about touchdowns. Well, I've done that too:
|Troy Edwards, Louisiana Tech||1998||12||27|
|Randy Moss, Marshall||1997||12||25|
|Manny Hazard, Houston||1989||11||22|
|Larry Fitzgerald, Pittsburgh||2003||13||22|
|Jarett Dillard, Rice||2006||13||21|
|Desmond Howard, Michigan||1991||11||19|
|Ashley Lelie, Hawaii||2001||12||19|
|Tom Reynolds, San Diego St.||1971||10||18|
|Dennis Smith, Utah||1989||12||18|
|Aaron Turner, Pacific||1991||11||18|
|Reidel Anthony, Florida||1996||12||18|
|Eugene Baker, Kent St.||1997||11||18|
|Darius Watts, Marshall||2001||12||18|
|Clarkston Hines, Duke||1989||11||17|
|Mario Bailey, Washington||1991||11||17|
|Bryan Reeves, Nevada||1993||10||17|
|J.J. Stokes, UCLA||1993||11||17|
|Terry Glenn, Ohio St.||1995||11||17|
|Chris Doering, Florida||1995||12||17|
|Rashaun Woods, Oklahoma St.||2002||13||17|
|Chad Owens, Hawaii||2004||13||17|
Pretty much one-and-done for these guys. The only caveat to this group is that Jarrett Dillard did grab 14 touchdowns last year, but as you will note, you need at the very least 17 to be on this list.
So what can we gather from these lists of tremendous collegiate receivers (who by the way, for the most part have not had stellar NFL careers, sans Moss, Fitzgerald, Glenn, and maybe Howard)? That it's tough to be a great receiver in the NCAA's, but more than that it's almost impossible to be successful for two years in a row. The icing on the cake is that it is ludicrous to then consider what Mr. Crabtree did during his redshirt freshman season.
One and done.
It typically takes at least 3, but usually 4 years to be a successful receiver in the NCAA.
Mr. Crabtree shattered records in one.
Take note that Troy Edwards is the only guy to appear on both lists - appearing on the season receptions list twice and the touchdown list once.
It's difficult for me to put into words what Mr. Crabtree's season meant to the record books. It's not so much that he came dangerously close to breaking every receiving record, but his 134 receptions ties Mr. Crabtree for 4th and the 22 touchdowns ties Mr. Crabtree for 3rd, both all-time . . . as a FRESHMAN.
According to the numbers, Troy Edwards has been the most productive receiver in football college history and if we take a look at his two seasons in the NCAA record book, 1998 and 1997, Edwards had 242 receptions, 3,703 yards, and 40 touchdowns. I realize that Edwards had more receptions and more yards, but for now, we're just going to take into account Edwards' record breaking years. Now, those are some impressive numbers, especially the 27 touchdowns in one season, but if Mr. Crabtree wants to be considered the best ever, and I know that it sounds strange to call Troy "Freaking" Edwards the best receiver ever, but statistically, he certainly has an argument. Mr. Crabtree needs 108 receptions, 1,741 yards and 18 touchdowns just to equal Edwards' numbers. Keep in mind that Edwards accumulated those numbers his junior and senior seasons, while Mr. Crabtree gets this done his redshirt freshman and sophomore years in college.
Get those numbers and there is no question that Mr. Crabtree is hands down, the most dominant receiver in NCAA history.
Surpass those numbers, and you'll start calling him Mr. Crabtree too.