One thing I've been pretty happy with this season, overall, is the play of Auburn's wide receivers. I've been particularly impressed with the way senior Tony Stevens has stepped up. I've recently discovered that among many Auburn fans - at least those that patronise the Auburn message boards - I may be in the minority, there.
I've seen comments on Stevens' dropping key passes. I'm not going to deny that he had some very key drops in the LSU game, but I don't believe he's earned the vitriol and the questions about why he's playing that some seem to heap upon him.
Because of that, and since the wide receivers as a unit were a big question coming into the 2016 season, I decided to try to see how they've been performing so far. Thankfully, someone has already done the leg work to help me back up my opinion of Stevens and the wide receiver corps as a whole.
Justin Ferguson is doing an excellent job at SECcountry.com every week with a "Ferg's Film Room" segment.* He's breaking down the number of times Auburn goes 3 wide, 4 wide, 2 back sets, 4-3, 4-2-5, 4-1-6, etc. He's also been keeping track of wide receiver targets, receptions, and drops.
I compiled all of his stats for all of Auburn's wide receivers into a nice, handy chart. I've put it in as a picture because I just couldn't get it as readable in chart form using our site's mechanics. It's not as clean looking as I would like, but it's better able to show everything I want. They're in alphabetical order and the highlighted red means - obviously - that the WR recorded no stats in that game.
Marcus Davis is the only receiver under a 75% catch rate for catchable balls.** Tony Stevens is pretty much at 90%. I'd say that the receivers, overall, are doing outstanding.
When it comes to Stevens in particular, though, he may have dropped some key passes against LSU, but overall he's having a great year. Hopefully, he continues to perform well and finds his way into the draft. I really hope we see more passes thrown to the young wide receivers this weekend against Louisiana-Monroe, too.
*If you need to catch up on all of them, here are the links to each:
**As a caveat, I don't know exactly how Justin is measuring the difference between a drop and bad throw by the QB. I also wish I had something like this for last year because I'd love to see how the two seasons compare.