|Receiving In Conference 2010|
|Florida St. Seminoles||0||0||151||1742||100%|
|Virginia Tech Hokies||17||161||105||1577||91%|
|Duke Blue Devils||37||330||163||1845||85%|
|Wake Forest Demon Deacons||22||260||79||897||78%|
|Boston College Eagles||18||280||79||1008||78%|
|North Carolina Tar Heels||54||598||115||1565||72%|
|Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets||13||214||26||521||71%|
|N.C. State Wolfpack||94||1269||110||1000||44%|
|FSU's 2 Other Opponents|
Update: FSU lost Willie Haulstead to a concussion before the year. Boston College also lost an important receiver for most of the season.
The relationship between a quarterback and a receiver is an important one built on trust. Rarely does an inexperienced crop of receivers excel. It almost always takes a year for a receiving corps to be in the right spots, to run routes with confidence, and to learn the nuances of the position. That is why you almost never see highly touted freshmen receivers make an immediate impact, unless the kid is just a complete physical freak.
In recent years, we have seen Wake Forest return only 25% of receiving yards in 2008, Virginia Tech return only 13% of receiving yards in 2008, North Carolina run only 22% of receiving yards in 2009, and Clemson return only 34% of receiving yards in 2010. All of those teams struggled mightily in the passing game. Receivers ran bad routes, they dropped balls, and generally played like inexperienced receivers.
Of course, losing a large percentage of receiving yards isn't a guarantee that a team will struggle in the passing game. Florida State returned only 41% of receiving yards in 2009 yet had the best offense in the conference. Of course, the 'Noles also had the luxury of returning two veteran receivers who missed large parts of 2008 with injury. That truly is an outlier.
Given that, let's take a look at what each ACC team is bringing back in terms of receiving yards from conference play. The chart is limited to conference play because conference games matter and are typically not blowouts, meaning the good players play longer.
This year is absolutely loaded with returning receivers. Fireworks should fly early as most of the conference teams don't need time to adjust out of the gate. But I said most, not all. N.C. State and Maryland could really struggle, returning only 44% and 36% of receiving, respectively. In a normal year, those numbers wouldn't be rock bottom. But in a year featuring a ridiculous amount of returning receiver talent, the Wolfpack and the Terrapins might both struggle early relative to the other teams. And really more so the Terrapins than the Wolfpack as N.C. State opens with a cakewalk schedule, while the Terps have to face the excellent defenses of Miami and West Virginia.
Here are the top 50 players broken down by receiving yards. Those crossed out have moved on.
|Dwight Jones||N Carolina||JR||WR||38||698|
|Danny Coale||Va Tech||SR||WR||28||581|
|Travis Benjamin||Miami (Fl)||SR||WR||28||533|
|Jarrett Boykin||Va Tech||SR||WR||30||417|
|Chris Givens||Wk Forest||JR||WR||23||398|
|Anthony Elzy||N Carolina||SR||RB||25||338|
|LaRon Byrd||Miami (Fl)||SR||WR||22||257|
|Erik Highsmith||N Carolina||SO||WR||17||243|
|George Bryan||NC State||SR||TE||19||214|
|Marcus Davis||Va Tech||JR||WR||16||192|
|Devon Brown||Wk Forest||SR||WR||23||187|
|James Washington||NC State||JR||RB||25||181|
|David Wilson||Va Tech||JR||RB||10||174|
|Mustafa Greene||NC State||SO||RB||20||169|
|Stephen Hill||Ga Tech||JR||WR||7||155|
While 11 of the top 30 ACC receivers left this year, at least 15 of the top 30 stand to graduate this time around. And that's not including underclassmen, so 2012 could be a down year for ACC receiving.
We could be in for an ACC offensive year the likes of which haven't been seen since 2008.