Hey, remember watch lists? Those are those half-news items that come out in the summer when nothing is going on, in a strangely well-coordinated fashion, and they typically include so many names at a given position that the honor sort of gets lost. Watch lists are released and watch lists are forgotten as they’re narrowed down. This is the circle of summer football news.
But occasionally there are exceptions. Sometimes a player who was “unwatched” in the summer plays well enough (or puts up big enough numbers) to get added to the list. Nebraska wide receiver Stanley Morgan Jr. is one of those players as he was added to the Biletnikoff Award list on Wednesday morning.
Morgan leads the Big Ten in total receiving yards (510) despite missing the Rutgers game. He is also the only Big Ten receiver averaging more than 100 yards per game (102) and leads the conference with five touchdown catches and three 100-yard games. Morgan’s 17 yards per catch is the best average of any Big Ten receiver with at least 20 catches.
His numbers stack up well nationally, too. Morgan ranks 16th in yards per game, 12th in receiving touchdowns and 21st in total yards. Not bad considering his 30 receptions are a comparatively pedestrian 44th.
Only Johnny Rodgers in 1972, his Heisman-winning season, had more receiving yards after six games than Morgan has this season.
The Biletnikoff Award, as you may have guessed, is presented to the top receiver (regardless of position) in college football by the Tallahassee Quarterback Club.
I still don’t know how much of a “thing” the weekly Pro Football Focus teams are, but they seem complicated and different from the traditional narrative so I always at least look at them. And occasionally they offer up some surprises with their weekly grades.
Not a surprise: Seeing Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor on the offensive team this week after he rushed for 249 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries against Nebraska.
PFF Week 6 – B1G Team of the Week – Offense pic.twitter.com/HfF7dP6Qc7
— PFF College (@PFF_College) October 10, 2017
Mild surprise: Seeing Devine Ozigbo listed as the second back after rushing for 112 yards on 23 carries. It’s not the eye-popping stat line Taylor put up, obviously, but here’s one where PFF’s grading system offers some additional encouragement for Husker fans.
Ozigbo has played some really solid football since the coaches were given basically no choice (due to injuries elsewhere) but to use him. After getting two carries against Northern Illinois, the junior has rushed for more than 100 yards in the three games since, increasing his rushing total each week (101, 106, 121).
Sort of begs the question of why he couldn’t find the field earlier.
Nebraska did not have anyone make the defensive team.
The Grab Bag
- ICYMI: Lauren Cook breaks down blocking, Jacob Padilla breaks down Wisconsin's big running plays, Mike Babcock breaks down the 1973 UCLA game and Bob Diaco breaks down the Ohio State offense.
- This is good: Rejected Florida uniform concepts.
- Speaking of uniforms Central Florida also unveiled a new alternate and it's outta this world! (In reality, it's just solid but that doesn't make for a very good pun.)
- ESPN projects how the second half of the football season will play out.
Today's Song of Today
Brandon is the Managing Editor for Hail Varsity and has covered Nebraska athletics for the magazine and web since 2012, Hail Varsity’s first season on the scene. His sports writing has also been featured by Fox Sports, The Guardian and CBS Sports.