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Where Does Tylan Wallace Rank Among OSU’s Other Biletnikoff Finalists?

Assessing Wallace’s Place at Wide Receiver U.

NCAA Football: Oklahoma State at Oklahoma Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Tylan Wallace is in the midst of a monster 2018-2019 season:

  • He ranks third in the NCAA FBS with 1,282 yards (it should be noted that the current leader, University of Massachusetts senior Andy Isabella, has played one more game than Wallace).
  • Likewise, his 128.2 yards per game are good for third in the nation.
  • Wallace is the only sophomore in the top 10 for overall yards and yards per game.
  • His 6.8 receptions per game rank 13th in the nation.
  • He has registered 7 games of over 100 yards.
  • He has already eclipsed 200 yards twice this season.
  • His best performances have come in the biggest games: 10 receptions, 222 yards, and 2 touchdowns against Texas; 10 receptions, 220 yards, and 2 touchdowns against Oklahoma.

Since 2008, no team has produced more Biletnikoff finalists than OSU with four, surpassing Oklahoma (three) and West Virginia (two). In that span, the Cowboys have taken home the trophy on three occasions: James Washington in 2017 and Justin Blackmon in 2010 and 2011. Dez Bryant came up short in 2008 on the heel’s of Texas Tech’s Michael Crabtree’s iconic, earth-shattering touchdown catch in Texas Tech’s win over Texas in Lubbock.

Wallace is undoubtedly the best sophomore wide receiver in the nation this year. Heck, he may be the best pass catcher in college football. But how does his 2018-2019 season rank among the best in Oklahoma State’s history?

DEZ BRYANT, 2008

Final Stats: 13 games, 87 receptions, 1,480 yards, 19 (!) touchdowns

Best Game: v. Houston, Sep. 6, 2008, nine receptions, 236 yards, three touchdowns (plus one punt return td)

Dez did it all in 2008. He made key first downs. He scored a ton of touchdowns. He returned kicks. He was the unquestioned leader on a Cowboys team that finished with a 9-4 record and No. 16 ranking in the AP Poll. He should have won the Biletnikoff. Although the eventual winner, Michael Crabtree, had the most memorable moment, Crabtree’s 2008 stats (13 games, 97 receptions, 1,165 yards, 19 touchdowns) pale in comparison to Bryant’s in terms of total yards and yards per game.

Based on Wallace’s stats through ten games, it is likely that he will finish with more receptions and total yards than Bryant (assuming the Cowboys make a bowl game). However, Bryant gets the nod in big game performances, total touchdowns, and his impact as a punt returner. That’s enough to Throw Up the X.

Verdict: Bryant

JUSTIN BLACKMON, 2010

Final Stats: 12 games, 111 (!) receptions, 1,782 (!) yards, 20 (!!) touchdowns

Best Game: v. Baylor, Nov. 6, 2010, 13 receptions, 173 yards, one touchdown (plus one carry for 69 yards and a touchdown for good measure)

In 2010, sophomore Justin Blackmon thrived under first year offensive coordinator (and current West Virginia head coach) Dana Holgersen. Blackmon finished 5th in the Heisman voting and set the NCAA record for most consecutive games of more than 100 yards receiving. In fact, Blackmon finished with more than 100 yards in every single game that season, although he “only” topped 200 yards once. He had at least one touchdown in all 12 games. Blackmon led the Oklahoma State to an 11-2 ranking and a No. 10 final ranking in the AP Polls.

Wow.

Just wow.

Blackmon’s struggles with alcohol kept him from fulfilling his promise in the NFL, but there is no doubt that he is one of the finest receivers in college football history. Wherever you are, Justin Blackmon, I hope you’re healthy and happy.

Verdict: Blackmon (2010)

JUSTIN BLACKMON, 2011

Final Stats: 13 games 122 receptions, 1,522 yards, 18 touchdowns

Best Game: v. Kansas State, Nov. 5, 2011, 13 receptions, 205 yards, two touchdowns

He’s baaaaack. Blackmon and Michael Crabtree are the only two players to win two Biletnikoffs. Although he didn’t quite soar to the dizzying statistical heights of his 2010 season due to the increased attention and coverage, Blackmon actually recorded more total receptions and led his team to an even better record: The Cowboys’ 12-1 record in 2011 was good enough for No. 3 in both the Coaches and AP Polls. Never forget that 66-6 beatdown of Texas Tech.

Verdict: Blackmon (2011)

JAMES WASHINGTON, 2017

Final Stats: 13 games, 74 receptions, 1,549 yards, 13 touchdowns

Best Game: v. Baylor, Oct. 14, 2017, 6 receptions, 235 yards, one touchdown

James Washington is generously listed at 5’ 11”. At Oklahoma State’s pro day, his 4.5 second 40 yard dash had him projected as a third round pick. Despite his lack of superhuman measurables, Washington may be the hardest worker on this list. He gave Oklahoma State four seasons in an age where nobody says four seasons. He played 13 games every season. He showed up in bowl games. He and Mason Rudolph somehow led Oklahoma State to a 10-3 record despite a TERRIBLE TERRIBLE NO GOOD VERY BAD DEFENSE. James Washington is awesome. Don’t be surprised if he doesn’t come up with a huge catch for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the playoffs this year.

As good as Washington’s 2017 season was though, Wallace is on pace to beat him in almost every category. Only 267 yards and four touchdowns back with four games to go, Wallace would need only 66.7 yards and a touchdown in each of his remaining games to top the best receiver of 2017.

Verdict: Wallace

Takeaways:

  • If you want to put up stats, it never hurts to play Baylor.
  • I can’t say this enough: WALLACE IS A SOPHOMORE.
  • Dez has been robbed on the field at least twice in his life: deprived of a catch in the playoffs against Green Bay due to some Byzantine catch rule, and unfairly denied the Biletnikoff trophy.
  • We miss you Justin Blackmon.
  • Oklahoma State is Wide Receiver U.