doubtaboutit. Enjoyed this. . .
this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
During a wee hours period break of a wee hours Wings game last weekend, I ended up in a conversation about the #1 jersey and who might be the next player to wear it. The guy was really high on Chesson or Drake Harris or some future giant; I was like thatsracist.gif because the best receiver since Braylon is on the roster RIGHT NOW
Unless you’re just categorically against changing numbers for seniors (which I totally understand in all circumstances but this), if we’re truly honoring elite receivers with the 1 jersey it could be time we give it to Jeremy Gallon. The case against: is 5’8, has always been just mediocre at returning punts and kicks, is 5’8, took some time to work his way up the depth chart, would ideally be a slot receiver because he’s 5’8. The case for: is secretly 8 feet tall, among his various Inspector Gadget peripherals is a cloaking device that saved Under the Lights I, and the WAR stat for receivers says he’s the best in the conference by a wide margin.
When I was doing the receivers pages of HTTV last week I went looking for some more advanced stats to put in tables aside from the usual Bentley things like receptions, yards, TDs, games played, and what you can get by dividing those things together. I remembered cfbstats’s Marty Couvillan last year made all of those targeting data available to the public, with an assist from Bill Connelly of Football Study Hall.*
What Marty did is took that play by play ticker information that the NCAA makes available, and through some ninja text-to-columns work, managed to pull out data for when each receiver was targeted. This is groundbreaking work in receiver stats, knowing what happens whenever a ball is thrown in the direction of a player. It still doesn’t say how well it was thrown, how deep if it wasn’t caught, or how many defenders had to be shooed off, but until we have official scorers UFR-ing every game this is about the best we can get. Guys like Bill began building their own stats out of the new data and came up with YRPR, which formula is:
And what it said was…
2012 Big Ten Receivers by YRPR:
|Rk||Name||Targets||Catch Rate||School||Rk (FBS)||YRPR|
|6||Corey Brown||85||70.6%||Ohio State||52||118.22|
|7||Devin Smith||58||51.7%||Ohio State||73||109.21|
I know what you’re thinking: that top five includes three of the receivers I drafted in last year’s Draft o’ Snark, and my fourth is in the Top 10. That and our tiny receiver who looks like Snoop was best in the conference and 14th in the nation. Not “one of the best after Allen Robinson and Kenny Bell and Jared Abbrederis and those Ohio State and Indiana guys,” but best-best.
Nationally Gallon was one spot behind West Virginia’s Tavon Austin, also a 5’8 mite, also the first receiver taken in this year’s NFL Draft. In fact most of the guys above Gallon were drafted this year—only USC’s Marqise Lee, SJ State’s Noel Grigsby, Bama’s Amari Cooper, Vanderbilt’s Jordan Mathews, and Fresno State’s Davante Adams return among those who finished above Jeremy Gallon in this metric.
When Brian gets to the receiver previews later this offseason he will undoubtedly point out that Gallon blew up after Gardner stepped in, projecting to Braylon-like numbers if you extrapolate the Gardner starts across an entire season. Well, the advanced stats guys took his entire year and said he’s Tavon Austin.
* [Where’s LSAClassof2000? Follow those links and stop writing personal diaries.]
[After the jump, how Gallon’s 2012 compared with those of past M receivers, and how the Big Ten has fared against the others]
GALLON: BEST RECEIVER SINCE BRAYLON?
Since the stats go back only to 2005 we don’t have any target stats of #1s to compare Gallon to. But what we do have is all three years from 86 and 16, a senior 8, a couple of 15s, and Junior Hemingway. Gallon’s 2012 was the best of them:
Michigan Receiving Seasons Over YRPR of 50.0, 2005-'12
(hover over the headers for explanation of stats):
|Player||Tar||Cth||Yards||CthRt||YPTar||T%||YPC||RYPR||Rk (Year)||Rk (All)|
Better than any Manningham campaign. Better than Avant’s senior year. Better than Roundtree’s 2010 season. Seeing Tree all over this chart however does give you pause, since we are all consensus’d that while Roy was an effective guy we were quite happy to have, the nature of the offense created a lot of his stats, and putting him on the list with legendary #1s might have been a bit of a stretch. With Roundtree you can see the dip from 2010 to 2011 in catch rate: two thirds of balls thrown in his direction were receptions his last year under Rodriguez, then he caught less than two in five his first year in Borges’s offense. But then Northwestern!
You also might think a guy wearing the 1 jersey would have something like Manningham’s 36% or Avant’s 33%, but I think that’s more a mark of the offense than the player; I would rather there be other targets. Anyway I’m sick of the #1 being de facto retired while we hand out 21 to guys nothing like Desmond Howard. Meanwhile my brain doesn’t need to do backflips to process 10 as 1 (like it did when Roundtree went to 21 and Gardner went to 12, and I was constantly all “when did Roundtree gain 40 lbs and 4 inches?”). And it’s not like people are gonna say “Nice Gallon jersey” if you’re wearing 10 around the stadium, you know?
BONUS: BIG TEHNNN!!!?
While we’re in here I wanted to see how the conference fared, since early last season I wrote a pretty scathing preview of the Big Ten’s receivers in this space. Here’s a comparison by YRPR the Top 30 receivers in each conference last year:
Average YRPR of Top 30 Receivers in Each Conference, 2012 season:
|Conf||Top Ten||11-20th||21-30th||Top 30-All|
Worst of the Big Five conferences by a good margin, and far closer to the Sun Belt, the MtnWest, or the MAC than the ACC or Pac12. Our top group of Gallon, Abbrederis, Bell, A-Rob, Tree, two Bucks and three Hoosiers was a little less productive than the ACC’s equivalent, but then the ACC got nearly the same production from their 25h best guy as the Big Ten got from our 16th most effective guy, who incidentally is Drew Dileo. In a down year for receivers across the country, Big Ten receivers sucked.
This seems to have just been a down year, not a trend. The data go back to 2005, over which period the Big Ten is 2nd to the SEC in this statistic:
Of 2011’s Top 10 players in YRPR, the conference returned the best (Abbrederis) and the 10th (Keenan Davis). Lost were Nick Toon (235.37), Marvin McNutt (196.27), B.J. Cunningham (190.33), Jeremy Ebert (167.16), A.J. Jenkins (161.01), Junior Hemingway (143.81), Da’Jon McKnight (142.24) and Keshawn Martin (113.85), plus everyone at Penn State. Gallon was 11th.
doubtaboutit. Enjoyed this. . .
One of the best I've read on these pages in a while; not because it is more analytical, but because it makes its case very well. You've provided a convincing argument that Jeremy Gallon is something special, and in ways we really haven't noticed. Great job.
Who was the conversation with? Who is the "He's" in that first paragraph? Should the person you are having a conversation with be named and I just missed it, or is this another one of the esoteric Mgoblog references where you don't get it unless you are part of the Mgoblog clubhouse like racist.gif?
No, just a guy I watch Red Wings games with who asked not to be named in person.
Thanks for the clarification, I was very confused for a moment, though that is not all that unusual in my world sadly.
I totally got it (rechecks his mgopoints again) yeah, I got it.
Also, this is the racist.gif Seth was talking about
for the 2013 Biletnikoff award!!!!
I would like to point out that Gallon, the optimum prototype of the Rodriguez offense, the type that no coach in our history aside from Rodriguez would have recruited, has produced the vast majority of his moving-up-the-all-time list numbers in the Al Borges offense. I think that is a nice slap in the face to those who said Rodriguez players were too small for Big Ten football. All I have to say to them is 'rabblerabblerabble'.
Hooray using exceptions to extrapolate grand conclusions!
Drake Harris gets AC's #1.
don't just give #1 out to a Freshman. Also, Gallon will be gone by the time Drake is on campus.
Players who wore No. 1 as Freshmen after Anthony Carter:
Derrick Alexander probably would've worn it as a Freshmen if it didn't overlap with McMurtry's senior year.
This myth that the Number 1 jersey is something a player earns comes from Braylon endlessly petitioning Carr for the number his first two seasons on the team with Carr refusing since Edwards performance didn't merit it. Ergo he got Edwards to work harder and "earn" it.
Before Braylon, it was a recruiting tool we used to sweeten the pot with highly sought WR recruits.
I just don't feel comfortable giving out the number one to a freshman. You never know if that player will turn out to have issues like Stonum, or transfer like McGuffie.
In the span of my Michigan fandom, which luckily started in 1997, I have been lucky that we haven't had any duds get the number one. I just wouldn't want to give it out to someone and have that player fall short of expectations. IMO it would take away from the luster.
Tyrone Butterfield had a pretty lackluster career at Michigan and nobody seems to consider the Number 1 jersey tarnished because of that fact. Truth is we reeled in some highly regarded WR prospects over the years using that number as a carrot. If it's good enough for Bo, Moeller and Lloyd, it should be good enough for Brady and the rest of us.
You've had what, two players wear it over that time?
This is a nice piece that I mostly agree with. I think Gallon is going to blow up this year if we use him properly. He's fast, runs great routes, has great hands, and he's elusive after the catch
The thing I disagree with about the article is about big10 receivers. They might have been bad, but it's impossible to tell because the qb play in the conference has been so bad. (at least in the passing game) The conference has had some good runners playing qb but as a whole the passing has been laughable. How else does our defense get rated as a top pass defense last year?. Miller, Denard, Martinez, Gray, and Kolter were all running qb's. The rest of the conference just had no talented passers.
I love all the fancy numbers and schematics but ultimately I have a hard time saying Gallon is better than manningham based on some data points... (and maybe I should stop here...)
If I were to offer a rebuttal I would say that none of these numbers matter at all until you rate the defenses played, defenders assigned to the reciever, and the results of the recievers performance within each scheme on each play totaled up... I would argue that college football is too inconsistent from game to game, defense to defense, and even if you rate the player within his offense you are still constrained by the defenses faced...
Really, I hope he does well and we will see but don't buy all of the Gallon hype pushed around these parts... and I want to go on record saying that if Gallon doesn't do well this year we will hear that Borges favors big recievers so Borges is the reason Gallon didn't win the heisman...
But nowhere in your rebuttal do you explain why Manningham is quantitatively a better wide receiver than Gallon. Is the jist of it your belief that Manningham faced better competition than Gallon?
...and nobody is saying Gallon is going to the win the Heisman....
unless a reciever plays on the same side for a whole game and the defense plays the same defense for a whole game whoever is in coverage on a reciever changes from play to play at every level of football. gallon had a catch for 70ish yards against alabama and they are pretty solid on defense.
Taking into account the defense needs to take into account the pass rush, time the QB has to throw, how well the QB can throw, then the coverage of the linebackers/safties/corners, the defense called on a given play and what the offense has called and then whether or not the reciever caught the ball, was he able to make a man miss and get extra yards or was the throw right on the sideline so he had to fall out of bounds to make the catch. There are a lot of other variables outside of the recievers control which arent taken into account by this metric but it would be nearly impossible to cram all that information into a stat.
This metric seems pretty solid as it takes into account targets and catch percentage as well as trying to limit yardage by how often the team throws etc. Nobody is saying he is going to win the heisman but this metric does show his value to the team which should be pretty clear to everybody from watching him. And having a more accurate quarterback will help his stats since he is a smaller reciever and doesnt have the catching radius of someone like funchess simply because of his height.
exactly, this metic is decent and better than just targets, catches, yards, etc... that said it still is mediocre to any true metric in that it cannot account for not only the defense but also the defensive players... so, I agree...
and the heisman thing was just a jest...
ps. height and speed are preferred but football history is littered with people who played well above their height. I mean I am probably member number 1 in the Steve Smith is awesome fan club... though I respect him more for hanging out with the punter and punching fools, but I digress...
But isn't that the point with looking at YRPR over the typical stats that we're all familiar with? It digs a little deeper into the nuance of what makes for a good receiver performance. There will never be a perfect metric that takes every relevant variable into account to give us an absolute answer. The point is when we apply a slightly more detailed analysis, Gallon unexpectedly pops up as one of the best, which none of us would expect.
I mean, I see at what you're hinting. In terms of passing the eye test, Manningham is the prototypical wideout. He's tall, he's fast, he's athletic , he has good hands....it's everything you look for in a guy for that position. Gallon is not all those things and he wasn't meant to be when we recruited him, but when he was put in that role he performed as well as any guy we've had prior; most of whom who had better physical tools than him. I think Seth is just suggesting it's time to acknowledge that in some tangible way.
I can agree to that...
debate about the number 1 jersey. However, I would have no qualms whatsover if it were given to Gallon, for his commitment, his play, his work ethic, his class, and the fact that he has been a Wolverine and will graduate from UM. He is an outstanding football player who has 'performed' in a manner commensurate with what I believe qualfies him for #1. Among many other plays, the wheel-route UTL will always flash in my mind as a quinessential Gallon achievement (with Denard of course).
who are you going to give the #21 to? Seems like the Legends' jerseys need or are supposed to be awarded to some player every year, or not?
At this stage of his career it seems like Gallon should be recognized for sure, but with which number? Is there some dynamic re this process?
See, I don't like that. If players have their own numbers they want to hang on to, I have no problem leaving a Legend's jersey in the locker until there's someone worthy of (and willing to) wear it. I don't think these should become a thing that just gets parceled out every year. It's supposd to be a honor. Things stop being special if they're commonplace.
I'm tired of the #1 Jersey talk. Give it to a freshman receiver like Bo did with AC and be done with it.
Braylon's involvement in the number 1 jersey has over complicated it a good deal. Not that M has had anyone really merit worthy to wear it lately; but ultimately, it is a disservice to AC who was the greatest "motor wonder" in a football uniform since Tom Harmon. And he remains so.
The only Michigan player (as far as I know and that's late 50's to present) who scored touchdowns the first AND last time he touched the ball in Michigan Stadium.
Doesn't Braylon's scholarship endowment simply stipulate the the Number 1 jersey go to a WR? He doesn't get a say in whom the coaches award the number beyond that does he?
However, Braylon has an habit of jumping into the discussion whenever the notion is broached it seems. I think that is why no one has received the 1 since. It may be that it has become more trouble than it is worth for the coaches, especially since they now have to award #21 every year or so. Are there 2 WR that are merit worthy every year? Maybe not.
I thought he came out publicly a couple of years ago though and gave Hoke his blessing to award the jersey to any receiver he saw fit...which annoys me to no end because I honestly don't know where Braylon gets off thinking he gets to be the standard bearer for Anthony Carter's number.
My impression is that he feels he should be or is entitled to be consulted. It seems to get in the way, and rather deal with it the coaches have just chosen not to consider who should be a candidate.
Funny thing is I believe there was a place kicker (Wilmer?) who wore the #1 after AC. Hopefully Brady will cut through the junk and handle it. Some player deserves it; maybe Drake Harris. AC definitely deserves the recognition that goes with it.
But as for "standard-bearer" he is the guy who is our all time leading receiver and broke a lot of Carter's records. So it's not like he doesn't bring anything to the table.
I always wince when people talk about Braylon breaking all of AC's record only because the offense Carter played in was VERY different than the offense we play today and still he set all the records he did. To me, Braylon was always a good player who had a great senior season, but I have a hard time looking past the first 2.5 seasons of sloppy route running and lazy effort. Edwards is our most accomplished receiver, but he's far from our greatest player. Anthony Carter was a great player. It just grates me a bit that Braylon interjects in areas where he doesn't belong.
I just want them to pass the Number 1 jersey onto some other guy and snap the link with Edwards so we can move on.
Any more than Mike Hart was our best running back or Henne our best quarterback. But having those certainly qualifies them as having accomplished an awful lot here, and aren't just another player at that position.
The game and the way we played had changed for a long time after Carter played....but none of the other guys could break his records. The question isn't "was Anthony Carter better than Braylon?" but "how many other guys can you name who were better than Braylon?"
The problem with Gallon is that he's Pint-sized.
The issue I see with your break down is when you're comparing Manningham, Arrington, Avant, etc to Gallon, the former options faced more competition for the ball. Those recievers competed with each other and Hart for touches, whereas Gallon competed with Denard and a group of WRs who were recruited for their prowess in run blocking while playing spread n' shred.
I do think Gallon deserves the #1 jersey as a reward for senior leadership and embracing the offensive transition, but I'm not buying the best WR since Braylon. To me Gallon is a more successful version of Roundtree, the offense and the depth chart created a lot his stats.
This is pretty much the same point I made about 10 minutes after you did...
How about saying that Gallon had the best season since Braylon?
In a team sport though I don't think it is semantics. A RB can be mediocre and set records because of the caliber of the line in front of him. A WR can excel because one or both of the safeties are busy worrying about Denard's legs. I'd agree that Gallon did have one of the best seasons in recent Michigan history, but there is still a large different between that and actually being the best player at that spot since Braylon.
I enjoyed the post and I think you make a strong argument. However, I'm a little suspicious of the metric you site (YRPR). Fundamentally, why is the % of your team’s targets you receive so important? This seems to favor receivers who play on teams without other good receivers. If you have Desmond Howard and Derick Alexander on the same team (that was awesome), Alexander is penalized for playing with Desmond, isn't he?
Seth - you call the metric "YRPR" and Football Outsiders call the metric "RYPR". Also, the values you have don't match the values they list on their site. Why the discrepency?
I pulled mine from the SBNation site, which was last updated a month ago. The other--somewhere I made a copy error and just repeated it a lot it seems.
The stats are strong in Gallon's favor, and I don't think there is a WR in the B1G that I would trade for him. But let's be honest: we really only have a 5-game sample on which to base Gallon's talent. His numbers last year were vastly inflated once DG took over as QB, and I'm not sure opponents ever started to fear Gallon enough to roll coverages his way or gameplan around him.
This year will be his first real test, and we'll see what it produces. He'll be getting a lot more attention and will finally be in a pro style offense. I believe he is a very good WR, but I don't know if I'd prefer him to Manningham or Avant.
I predict he has a 70-catch or so season, with 9 or 10 TDs, and between 1,050 and 1,150 receiving yards. That would be an amazing season, and worthy of the #1 jersey. It would be a top-10 performance by a Michigan WR.
He will be our best WR by some distance, but I think his supporting cast will be stronger and he will be targeted by opposing defenses; this will keep him from having a monster sesaon, IMO. More attention on him will mean more catches for Funchess, Darboh, Dileo, and Chesson.
I predict DG has the monster season, a top-5 in Michigan history for a QB.
the #1, he busts his ass, is a very good receiver and represents Michigan very well.
I've been a Gallonphile since the 2008 days of "too much Gallon"
|Career Receiving for Anthony Carter|
|1979||at Michigan State||2||13||6.5||1||7|
|1979||vs North Carolina||4||141||35.3||2||53|
|1980||at Notre Dame||2||30||15.0||0||17|
|1980||at Ohio State||4||47||11.8||1||14|
|1981||at Michigan State||1||16||16.0||0||16|
|1982||at Notre Dame||2||34||17.0||0||18|
|1982||at Ohio State||7||78||11.1||0||17|
Am I missing some specific stat you want, or did I just create the method for you to do a whole lot more work?
Not Bentley's stats -- the targeting stats.
Just the targeting stats and the voluminous work he did tracking each play, which I now see, would be nigh impossible going back. Gotcha.
Here is an interesting article detailing Jeremy Gallon's struggles with academics both in high school and college and his perseverance overcoming them.
"I struggled," said Gallon, a redshirt junior wide receiver for the Wolverines. "Things just seemed a little hard for me at times so I gave up. I didn't have the self-esteem that other students had. I wasn't motivated. I couldn't relate.
"My mind was not on school, period."