clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Michael Crabtree - The Best Ever

New, 10 comments

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:

Games Rec. Yards Avg. TD Rec./Game Yards/Game
13 134 1,962 14.64 22 10.3 150.9

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:

Years Games Rec. Yards Avg. TD Rec./Game Yards/Game
2002 12 69 1,005 14.6 12 5.75 83.75
2003 13 92 1,692 18.2 22 7.07 130.15

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:

Player, Team Year Games Rec. Yards TD
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:

Player, Team Year G TD
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.