From Kendall Wright to Terrance Williams to Tevin Reese to Antwan Goodley, Baylor has truly become “Wide Receiver U” over the last few years. But there’s a new kid on the block and he might be the best of the gang: Corey Coleman. The junior is quickly making his case for the Belitnikoff Award and possibly even the Heisman Trophy.
Last year, Coleman was Bryce Petty’s top target as he pulled in 64 receptions on 1,119 yards and 11 touchdowns. While he only played in 10 games due to an early hamstring injury, Coleman caught a touchdown in nine of those ten. At season’s end, he was credited with All-Big 12 Second Team.
Through four games this year, Coleman has already matched his 11 touchdowns from a season ago on 24 receptions and 570 yards. As you can see from the graph below, his numbers are ridiculous.
And even though “on pace” stats are always flawed, Coleman is on pace for 36 touchdowns (best all-time) and 1,853 yards this season (sixth all time). Coleman only needs four more touchdowns to set the school record for most touchdowns in a season – even above the names mentioned above.
Coleman leads the nation with 11 total touchdowns. The next receiver down is TCU’s Josh Doctson with eight. While players like Doctson and Bowling Green’s Roger Lewis have more total yards, they have also been caught 40+ balls opposed to Coleman’s 24 receptions.
Away from the numbers, Coleman is really what makes this Baylor offense what it is. His speed exposes one-on-one matchups early in the game leading to quick scores. The defense will then either stretch or double-team him, resulting in KD Cannon or Jay Lee making a big play.
While the Baylor Heisman contention is usually about quarterback Seth Russell, Russell would even agree that Coleman deserves the most credit.
“I feel like he’s the best player in the nation,” Russell said to the Waco Tribune-Herald. “He is somebody who fights for everything he gets. He never takes anything easy. If he catches the ball, it’s a touchdown. It makes my job a lot easier. With double coverage, I’m probably not going to throw it up to him, but if I have to I mean he’s one of the guys that’s I’m looking for.”
Coleman said he would do whatever it takes to make Russell look good. “My job is to make him (Seth) look good and his job is to make me look good,” Coleman said. “Every time he throws the ball up in the air where I can put my hands on it and go get it, it’s my job to come down with it.” So really, who is the cause of Russell’s success?
Only two receivers (Tim Brown, Notre Dame, 1987 and Desmond Howard, Michigan, 1991) have ever won the Heisman trophy. It has been 24 years since that feat has occurred. Could this be the year the wide out gets the recognition? Maybe not, but at this pace, Coleman will be a huge challenger to any contender.