The proliferation of innovative statistical analysis from websites such as footballoutsiders.com and footballstudyhall.com has made it possible to track nearly every aspect of a player’s impact on his team.
The top-notch research staffs from both sites have broken down everything from a secondary's broken tackle rate, to a running back's second-level yardage, to a defense's effectiveness when blitzing with five rushers.
Today, we'll take a look at the catch percentage among the top receivers in the Big East from the 2011-2012 season, according to data compiled by footballstudyhall.com. In 2011, the website tracked targets (the number of catchable passes thrown in a receiver's direction), catches, catch percentage and target percentage (the percentage in which a receiver is targeted out of his team's total attempts).
Rutgers, for example, is faced with replacing All-Big East First Team wide receiver Mohamed Sanu. Last season, Sanu had 115 catches on 176 targets (65.3 percent). Sanu was targeted on 39.7 of all Scarlet Knights' attempts. Four of Rutgers' top returning receivers finished 2011 with a catch rate under 45 percent. If their catch rate remains constant, it could provide coach Kyle Flood with a short leash for the winner of the preseason quarterback competition.
Good Hands: Lemon, Griffin, Landi, Rogers, Parker, Shanahan
Syracuse coach Doug Marrone has lauded senior wide receiver Alec Lemon for soft hands and an ability to find the openings in the zone. In 2011, the Syracuse receiver had a 70.8 catch percentage on 96 targets. With the return of Marcus Sales from a year-long suspension, Lemon might be targeted less than he was last year (24.4 percent).
South Florida receiver Sterling Griffin earned praise from coach Skip Holtz this offseason for his crisp route-running and better recognition of opposing defensive sets. Griffin is expected to increase his catch total after finishing with 43 in 2011. If Griffin matches his 2011 catch percentage (74.1), he could emerge as one of the top receivers in the league. USF tight end Evan Landi and wide receiver Victor Marc complemented Griffin with catch percentages above 70.
Louisville may have the most talented to quarterback in the league in Teddy Bridgewater. The sophomore will throw to a pair of sure-handed receivers in sophomores DeVante Parker (62.1 percent) and Eli Rogers (70.7 percent). Parker had six touchdowns in 2011, but was only targeted 27 times.
Pittsburgh senior Mike Shanahan had a 61.9 catch percentage in 2011 on 63 targets. Shanahan was targeted on 15.9 percent of all Panthers' throws.
Steady Hands: Street, Thompkins, McClung, Griffin, Pratt
The Panthers will look for a better percentage from Devin Street, Shanahan's teammate. Street was targeted 91 times last season, but finished with just 53 receptions (58.2 percent). Close to one-quarter of Pitt QB Tino Sunseri's attempts were thrown in Street's direction.
Cincinnati receivers Kenbrell Thompkins and Anthony McClung both posted solid numbers with 58.7 and 56.3 catch percentages respectively. Coach Butch Jones hopes to find a reliable third receiver in 2012. The duo was targeted on nearly 45 percent of all Bearcats' pass attempts last season.
Connecticut tight end Ryan Griffin is regarded by many scouts as the best tight end prospect in the league. Griffin's catch percentage (53.2) is relatively low considering he averaged just 7.7 yard per catch.
Rutgers slot receiver Quron Pratt finished with a 56.1 catch percentage on 57 targets.
Improving Hands: Coleman, Harrison, Wright, Davis, Williams, Smith
Pratt could provide some of his teammates with some helpful tips during camp. Brandon Coleman, Mark Harrison and Tim Wright are each coming off seasons with catch percentages below 43 percent. Coleman, the Scarlet Knights' deep threat in 2011, averaged 32.5 yards per catch.
USF receiver Andre Davis and UConn wideout Nick Williams are both expected to have increased roles in 2012. Each finished last season with a catch percentage of 40. Louisville receiver Andrell Smith, another emerging wideout, only caught 50 percent of the passes in his direction in 2011.
Temple needs to find a go-to receiver. Former wide receiver Joe Jones and tight end Evan Rodriguez both finished last year with catch percentages of 60 or higher.
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