Six Years of Crazy Detailed Michigan Receiving Stats Comment Count

Brian April 27th, 2012 at 2:35 PM

Recently, Football Study Hall provided a spreadsheet of epic length to anyone who wanted it detailing not only catches and yards for the 2005-2011 seasons, but "targets"—ie, the number of times a guy had the ball tossed in his direction. FSH did this for all of D-I. I sliced out the other 119 teams to focus on Michigan.

This data spans a fascinating period in Michigan history:

  • 2005-2007 are the last three years of the Henne era, except 2007 is a third Henne, a third Mallett, and a third injured Henne who shouldn't be playing but Mallett is insane.
  • 2008 is the Threet-Sheridan disaster.
  • 2009 is mostly Forcier.
  • 2010 and 2011 are mostly Denard, with 2010 RR's best shot at a great offense and 2011 the first year of Borges.

Here's the interesting stuff that came out.

YARDS PER TARGET

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The top 20 (min 10 targets). Bet yourself a dollar you can guess #1:

RK Year Player Targets Catches YdsPerTarget YdsPerCatch
1 2011 Junior Hemingway 58 34 12.1 20.6
2 2010 Martavious Odoms 20 16 12.1 15.1
3 2010 Kevin Koger 17 14 11.7 14.2
4 2006 Mario Manningham 64 38 11.0 18.5
5 2011 Jeremy Gallon 42 31 10.8 14.6
6 2010 Junior Hemingway 56 32 10.6 18.5
7 2006 Tyler Ecker 15 12 10.3 12.9
8 2009 Junior Hemingway 26 16 10.1 16.4
9 2010 Kelvin Grady 21 17 10.0 12.4
10 2010 Sam McGuffie 39 39 9.8 9.8
11 2007 Carson Butler Jr. 25 20 9.8 12.3
12 2009 LaTerryal Savoy 17 12 9.6 13.6
13 2009 Roy Roundtree 46 32 9.4 13.6
14 2006 Adrian Arrington 58 40 9.4 13.6
15 2005 Mario Manningham 48 27 9.2 16.4
16 2009 Martavious Odoms 30 22 9.1 12.4
17 2011 Vincent Smith 17 11 8.8 13.5
18 2010 Roy Roundtree 107 72 8.7 13.0
19 2011 Martavious Odoms 15 7 8.7 18.7
20 2011 Drew Dileo 14 9 8.6 13.4

You win a dollar from yourself. Junior Hemingway is the king of yards per target. Not only does he share the #1 spot with Martavious Odoms, he also finishes #6 and #8. It's too bad this data doesn't go a couple seasons further back, allowing us to have a YPT battle royale between Hemingway and Braylon Edwards.

The other thing that jumps off the page is the impact of the spread. The only pro-style WR to crack the top ten was Mario Manningham's 2006 season. Tyler Ecker also made the top ten but on just 15 targets; he made his hay by catching 80% of his limited opportunities. Also, Roundtree does very well to show up at #18 despite being the target of dozens of screens. That target number is off the charts.

This is expected, since the spread came with a huge shift towards running the ball. Passes are naturally more likely to go far when you run 70% of the time.

The bottom 20:

RK Year Player Targets Catches YdsPerTarget YdsPerCatch
42 2005 Antonio Bass 11 8 5.8 8.0
43 2006 Michael Hart 22 17 5.7 7.4
44 2005 Tyler Ecker 40 21 5.7 10.8
45 2007 Greg Mathews 65 39 5.6 9.4
46 2008 Greg Mathews 73 35 5.6 11.7
47 2006 Mike Massey 13 8 5.5 9.0
48 2006 Carson Butler Jr. 32 19 5.4 9.1
49 2009 Kelvin Grady 19 10 5.4 10.2
50 2010 Michael Shaw 14 10 5.4 7.5
51 2011 Kelvin Grady 14 5 5.4 15.0
52 2006 Greg Mathews 13 7 5.2 9.7
53 2008 Martavious Odoms 90 49 4.9 9.1
54 2008 Darryl Stonum 37 14 4.8 12.6
55 2009 Martell Webb 10 4 4.4 11.0
56 2005 Mike Massey 12 8 4.3 6.4
57 2007 Mike Massey 10 4 3.8 9.5
58 2008 LaTerryal Savoy 11 4 3.5 9.5
59 2005 Tim Massaquoi 25 11 3.4 7.8
60 2007 Michael Hart 16 8 3.1 6.3
61 2008 Michael Shaw 11 6 2.9 5.3

This is mostly sparsely-used tight ends and tailbacks with the notable exception of the top three receivers in 2008 and their 200 targets between them. Also I would like to note the presence of Tim Massaquoi towards the bottom of the list. This is not his fault. Massaquoi broke his hand in 2005. Michigan kept throwing the ball at him.

MOST TARGETED

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RK Year Player Targets Catches Yards CatchRate Target %
1 2007 Mario Manningham 142 72 1174 50.7% 35.8%
2 2005 Jason Avant 126 82 1065 65.1% 32.6%
3 2008 Martavious Odoms 90 49 445 54.4% 29.7%
4 2007 Adrian Arrington 115 67 882 58.3% 29.0%
5 2006 Steve Breaston 87 58 670 66.7% 27.8%
6 2010 Roy Roundtree 107 72 935 67.3% 26.4%
7 2008 Greg Mathews 73 35 409 47.9% 24.1%
8 2011 Junior Hemingway 58 34 699 58.6% 21.7%
9 2006 Mario Manningham 64 38 703 59.4% 20.4%
10 2010 Darryl Stonum 80 49 633 61.3% 19.8%
11 2006 Adrian Arrington 58 40 544 69.0% 18.5%
12 2011 Roy Roundtree 49 19 355 38.8% 18.4%
13 2009 Greg Mathews 55 29 352 52.7% 18.0%
14 2007 Greg Mathews 65 39 366 60.0% 16.4%
15 2011 Jeremy Gallon 42 31 453 73.8% 15.7%
16 2009 Roy Roundtree 46 32 434 69.6% 15.1%
17 2010 Junior Hemingway 56 32 593 57.1% 13.8%
18 2011 Kevin Koger 35 23 244 65.7% 13.1%
19 2005 Steve Breaston 49 26 291 53.1% 12.7%
20 2005 Mario Manningham 48 27 442 56.3% 12.4%

Note that two of the worst yards-per-target guys—the 2008 versions of Odoms and Mathews—show up in the top 10 here. Guys, I'm beginning to think that Michigan's 2008 offense wasn't very good.

Manningham's 2007 year is a clear winner here, with Jason Avant's 2005 a distant second yet distant from the #3. In context, Avant's stats scream "guy who will be a possession receiver for 20 years in the NFL": Michigan went to him all the time, never threw him screens, and he still checks in with a terrific catch rate.

Also catch Roundtree's 2011: bad. His production fell off not only because he was targeted less frequently but because his catch percentage plummeted from 67% to 39%. No screens, no easy TDs, a lot of doubt about whether he can take over Hemingway's downfield duties.

BEST/WORST CATCHIST

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[NOTE: The spreadsheet erroneously listed Sam McGuffie as the #1 player here with 39 catches on 39 attempts… in 2010. The spreadsheet is right, in a way: those are McGuffie's numbers from his 2010 season at Rice. McGuffie still finishes #1 for his 2008 season, a 19 of 22 campaign.]

Unfiltered, these are of debatable utility since all of the guys at the top are small-sample size guys. Tailbacks, tight ends, and slots dominate. Let's limit it to players with at least 30 targets in a season and see what we get. The "rank" is rank amongst everyone. There are 59 seasons in the DB.

RK Year Player Targets Catches CatchRate YdsPerCatch
11 2011 Jeremy Gallon 42 31 73.8% 14.6
12 2009 Martavious Odoms 30 22 73.3% 12.4
17 2009 Roy Roundtree 46 32 69.6% 13.6
18 2006 Adrian Arrington 58 40 69.0% 13.6
19 2010 Roy Roundtree 107 72 67.3% 13.0
20 2006 Steve Breaston 87 58 66.7% 11.6
24 2011 Kevin Koger 35 23 65.7% 10.6
25 2005 Jason Avant 126 82 65.1% 13.0
30 2010 Darryl Stonum 80 49 61.3% 12.9
31 2007 Greg Mathews 65 39 60.0% 9.4
32 2006 Mario Manningham 64 38 59.4% 18.5
33 2006 Carson Butler Jr. 32 19 59.4% 9.1
35 2011 Junior Hemingway 58 34 58.6% 20.6
36 2007 Adrian Arrington 115 67 58.3% 13.2
37 2010 Junior Hemingway 56 32 57.1% 18.5
38 2005 Mario Manningham 48 27 56.3% 16.4
40 2008 Martavious Odoms 90 49 54.4% 9.1
42 2005 Steve Breaston 49 26 53.1% 11.2
43 2009 Greg Mathews 55 29 52.7% 12.1
45 2005 Tyler Ecker 40 21 52.5% 10.8
47 2007 Mario Manningham 142 72 50.7% 16.3
50 2008 Greg Mathews 73 35 47.9% 11.7
56 2011 Roy Roundtree 49 19 38.8% 18.7
57 2008 Darryl Stonum 37 14 37.8% 12.6

I highlighted it this time. Roundtree's regression from 2010 to 2011 was enormous. He went from the #5 player in this sample to second-worst.

In other news, Adrian Arrington's 2006 was secretly great. And when you combine the catch rates with the yards you have a dead heat between Mario Manningham '06 and Junior Hemingway '11 as the best season in this time frame, with Avant's '05 drawing an honorable mention for moving the chains.

Speaking of…

MOVING THE CHAINS

There are two subsets provided in the data, with attempts split into "standard downs" and "passing downs." Passing downs can come on second and long but using them as a proxy for third and let's-not-run isn't going to introduce too many distortions. The top 20 security blankets:

RK Year Player Targets Catches CatchRate Target % YdsPerCatch
1 2007 Mario Manningham 67 34 50.7% 34.0% 20.5
2 2008 Greg Mathews 51 25 49.0% 31.5% 14.8
3 2006 Steve Breaston 46 29 63.0% 30.1% 18.9
4 2005 Jason Avant 50 33 66.0% 29.8% 18.7
5 2007 Adrian Arrington 54 30 55.6% 27.4% 19.0
6 2011 Junior Hemingway 31 19 61.3% 24.2% 21.8
7 2010 Roy Roundtree 42 22 52.4% 23.1% 19.1
8 2007 Greg Mathews 42 25 59.5% 21.3% 14.6
9 2008 Martavious Odoms 34 14 41.2% 21.0% 10.5
10 2010 Darryl Stonum 36 17 47.2% 19.8% 10.3
11 2011 Roy Roundtree 25 8 32.0% 19.5% 13.4
12 2009 Greg Mathews 26 13 50.0% 17.4% 17.0
13 2006 Adrian Arrington 24 17 70.8% 15.7% 7.4
14 2006 Mario Manningham 24 14 58.3% 15.7% 17.8
15 2005 Mario Manningham 26 12 46.2% 15.5% 19.8
16 2010 Junior Hemingway 28 13 46.4% 15.4% 12.1
17 2005 Tyler Ecker 25 11 44.0% 14.9% 18.9
18 2009 Roy Roundtree 21 15 71.4% 14.1% 16.9
19 2006 Carson Butler Jr. 19 12 63.2% 12.4% 19.6
20 2008 Darryl Stonum 19 5 26.3% 11.7% 13.6

You get a dollar for betting that you should throw it to Jason Avant on third and medium, too. Only low-usage versions of Arrington and Roundtree bested him on catch percentage and they were far less-frequently targeted; Arrington's 7.4 YPC further implies that some of those completions were well short of the first down.

Avant has a combination of catching the ball and maintaining a great YPC that makes it totally unsurprising that he's a solid NFL player and a little wistfully sad whenever I compare yet another incoming WR to him when I know deep in the soul of my heart that there's no way Freshman X will be half as good.

BONUS: Steve Breaston would like you to take your criticisms about his hands and shove them up where Bill Hancock's head is.

Comments

Section 1

April 27th, 2012 at 2:50 PM ^

My hands-down favorite Wolverine of the 21st Century has always been Jason Avant.  (No pun intended.)  For reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with receiving stats.  Anybody think that Junior Hemingway can be an NFL Jason Avant?  Stats seem to say maybe so...

Naked Bootlegger

April 27th, 2012 at 3:04 PM ^

Avant is among my all-time fave WR's.   Of all the great things he did in a Michigan uniform, though, the haunting memory of him dropping a wide open key 1st down conversion against Wisconsin in Madison (forget what year) still haunts me because, well, he ALWAYS CAUGHT THE BALL!  It was so un-Avant-like, and I guess that's why it's forever etched in my mind.   The dude was a beast, though.   Tough SOB who did the dirty work across the middle.  I'm glad these stats shine the light brightly on his great UM career.

Idaho Wolverine

April 27th, 2012 at 2:57 PM ^

I didn't realize he was targeted that much. This makes me a bit nervous when thinking about the depth at WR for this season. Now I know why DG's name had been floated around at WR.

Blue in Seattle

April 27th, 2012 at 3:36 PM ^

What was shown in the spring game and these stats from 2011-Borges system seem to indicate his hands are pretty good too.  Now that Denard has practiced that step up into the pocket, I think we have a close approximation of QB-oh Noes! coming back into the system.

Denard's ability to make his progression faster is going to result in more scrambles, which will force more LB's into Denard run coverage during passing, which should allow someone to separate.

M-Wolverine

April 27th, 2012 at 3:30 PM ^

For the Manningham pic.

 

I'm completely ok with that. That and poking holes in some of the retroactive Breaston complaining are always good things.

I do miss the typo correct though. I though Avant was even more amazing when he was future boy from the year 20005.

 

Laser Wolf

April 27th, 2012 at 3:55 PM ^

It's nice to have more stats to truly give Junior Hemingway his due. I'm still holding out hope the Browns will take him in one of the late rounds. Being that the biggest knock on our new QB (outside of age which, whatever) is his accuracy when pressure is in his face, it would be nice to have a downfield safety net.

Avant's Hands

April 27th, 2012 at 4:57 PM ^

This may come as a shock, but Avant is my favorite Wolverine of all time. Great physical receiver who got all the tough yards and a great person to boot. You know they crazy thing about that 2005 Avant season? That was the year Taco Pants walked on to the team. What would those numbers look like if Dantonio had been around to offer him a last second scholarship instead of giving Henne an extra receiver every play?

BlueFordSoftTop

April 27th, 2012 at 5:33 PM ^

Any truth to the rumor that Antonio Bass will be back this season on a mission to redeem himself?  In any event, I second Jason Avant for accolades.  Dude seemed utterly in the background until we needed him, in which case more often than not the announcer could be heard to excitedly scream "ball caught by Jason A-V-A-N-T!!!"

99ProbsRichAintOne

April 30th, 2012 at 10:59 AM ^

While Roundtree picked up with most yards per catch, it came with a hefty Interceptions Thrown percentage.  Michigan Ranked 119th /120 in 2011.  If you overlay the stats from 2005 - 2011, the Yard Per Catch increase success has come with a price.