Saturday, January 31, 2015

2014 All-Bilo WR of the Year Finalists and Winner: FBS, FCS, and D2

Here are my finalists for the 2014 All-Bilo WR of the Year Award, FBS:

Rashard Higgins, Colorado State
Amari Cooper, Alabama
Corey Davis, Western Michigan

Higgins had a monster season in a year where the Rams challenged for a spot in the New Year's Six bowls. Jim McElwain used the season as a launching pad to bolt for Florida after the season. Higgins, a sophomore, caught 96 passes for 1750 yards and caught 17 TD passes on the season, and has emerged as one of the best prospects in the nation.

Cooper has been a star during his entire stay at Alabama. The junior handed in one of his usual superior performances on the season, catching 124 balls for 1727 yards and 16 TDs in helping to bring QB Blake Sims about as a true passing threat, and helped lead Alabama to an appearance in the first CFB playoff.

Davis is just the latest in a string of top tier WRs from Western Michigan in recent seasons. Davis caught 78 passes this fall, but those receptions totaled 1408 yards and accounted for 15 TDs in the passing game in a season that the Broncos emerged from the dark times to head back to a bowl.

And the winner is...

Amari Cooper, Alabama
Cooper has become the embodiment of what it is to be a top flight college WR. Like his predecessor Julio Jones, Cooper has become a true threat every time the ball is tossed his way, and he makes all the catches. Not only did Cooper do his usual best, but he also helped Blake Sims develop into a star at QB, and helped the Tide get back into the national title picture. Congratulations to Amari Cooper and to the Alabama football program.


Here are my finalists for the 2014 All-Bilo WR of the Year, FCS:

RJ Harris, New Hampshire
DeAndre Carter, Sacramento State
Cooper Kupp, Eastern Washington

Harris, a senior, led UNH and the nation in passing yards in 2014, catching 100 passes for 1551 yards and 15 scores, helping the Wildcats make another run deep into the tournament. He averaged 15.5 yards every time he touched the football, making him one of the most dangerous threats in the nation.

Carter emerged to finish second in the Big Sky, a conference loaded with talent, as he caught 99 passes for 1321 yards, and assisted with the strong development of QB Garrett Safron, another All-Bilo candidate. Carter also caught an FCS leading 17 TDs on the season despite the Hornets missing the tournament.

Kupp has been a rock in the EWU passing game, and the sophomore did yet again in 2014. He led the Big Sky in receiving yeards, and finished second nationally in that stat, catching 104 passes (led FCS) for 1431 yards and 16 scores.

And the winner is...

RJ Harris, New Hampshire
Harris led the nation in receiving yards, and his yards per catch average set him apart in a strong field of candidates. UNH made another deep run in 2014, and the senior capped off a strong season by nearly getting the Cats into the final before falling short. Congratulations to RJ Harris and to the UNH football program.


Here are my finalists for the 2014 All-Bilo WR of the Year, D2:

Keelan Cole, Kentucky Wesleyan
Tyler Slavin, New Mexico Highlands
Nathan Mourik, Southwest Baptist

Cole led the nation with 1516 yards off of just 75 receptions in 11 games as a junior. One of the most dangerous receivers returning to D2 football in 2015, Cole is as explosive a player as you will find just about anywhere, and could probably do what he does at a larger program just fine. Cole also added a whopping 21 TDs to his 2014 resume.

Slavin was a vacuum in the open field in 2014, grabbing a D2 leading 119 receptions on the season for 1418 yards and 17 TDs in 11 games. Slavin opened up the field and grabbed much defensive attention, but that never stopped him in a game plan based on his skill set.

Mourik was a dark horse candidate that gained steam the more I observed his numbers. He caught 65 passes on the season, but he turned those receptions into 1398 yards, good for third on the D2 level. Mourik also caught 13 TDs in 11 games on the year.

And the winner is...

Keelan Cole, Kentucky Wesleyan
What's impressive about Cole, beyond the numbers, is that he was so dangerous, and required so much coverage, that he ended up being one of two receivers from Kentucky Wesleyan that were up for this same award. Cole had a season that can be described as nothing other than monster as a junior. Congratulations to Keelan Cole and to the Kentucky Wesleyan football program.

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