Corey Davis and Isaiah Jones Are Generational Talents – and MTSU’s Richie James is Going to Break All of Their Records

Corey Davis will be ending his collegiate career #1 in career receiving yards, #2 in career receiving touchdowns, and #4 in career receptions. (He’s tied right now, I’m assuming he’ll catch at least one touchdown in the Cotton Bowl to take sole possession in each of those categories) The receiving yards record that Davis broke was 17 years old, and he’ll be only the third player ever and the second in the last 18 years to crack the 50 career touchdown mark.

Isaiah Jones finishes his career #1 in career receptions and also with the single-season receptions record. The receptions record that Jones broke was only two years old, but he’s only the third player ever to have more than 325 career receptions (Davis will become the fourth during the Cotton Bowl, and Louisiana Tech’s Trent Taylor has a very outside chance). Jones also broke a seven-year-old single-season receptions record while becoming only the third player to ever catch more than 140 passes in a single season.

I know that we now live in an offense-driven, pass-happy era of football in general. That said, I think the lofty company that these players joined makes it very little of a stretch to refer to them as “generational” talents. Corey Davis might be the best player in Western Michigan history, despite playing only a decade after Antonio Brown, who is also decent at football. Isaiah Jones is a better wide receiver Here is the list of players with even an outside shot at breaking any of the records that Davis and Jones have just spent the last four seasons setting.

Here is the list of underclassmen with at least 200 career receptions (300 receptions is currently 16th place):

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Player Total Freshman Year School
Artavis Scott 240 2014 Clemson
JuJu Smith-Schuster 206 2014 Southern California
Richie James 204 2015 Middle Tennessee State
Isaiah Ford 204 2014 Virginia Tech

So of the players on this list, three of them can be written off. Artavis Scott, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Isaiah Ford are all juniors, and while they may be great wide receivers, none of them have a prayer of even cracking 300, let alone the top five, let alone the record.

Ford would need seven catches to hit 80 in a season for the first time ever, and it would still leave him 90 shy of 300 if he even comes back for his senior year; the same predicament for Schuster. Artavis Scott is much closer than anyone else but is still 85 away from cracking the top five and has yet to surpass 75 catches more than once in his career. He’s got a realistic shot at the top five, but he needs a strong bowl game and then an equally strong senior season.

Then there’s Richie James. He also has a bowl game left this season, but he’s got two seasons left after this one. Even if he caught zero passes in the Hawai’i Bowl (highly unlikely), he would still only need at least 98 catches in each of his junior and senior seasons. That’s no sweat for a guy who’s caught at least 97 passes in each of his first two seasons and is liable to flirt with 120 this season.

As if that weren’t enough, then there’s the list of underclassmen with at least 2,800 career receiving yards (again, remember that 5,000 yards is now second place):

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Player Total Freshman Year School
JuJu Smith-Schuster 2959 2014 Southern California
Isaiah Ford 2911 2014 Virginia Tech
Richie James 2797 2015 Middle Tennessee State

To be fair, I’m rounding James up to include him on this list, but I think the odds are decent that he gets at least three receiving yards against Hawai’i. Artavis Scott isn’t on the list because he currently is only at 2,458 yards, but he, Ford and Schuster are all in the same boat. Even if they come back for their senior seasons, all three will be at least 1,400 yards away from third place on the list, and the three of them combined have surpassed 1,100 yards once in nine seasons to date.

Then, again, there’s Richie James. Much like the career receptions category, he will have done in two seasons what the others did in three barring a complete dud in the bowl game. This category is where things actually become a bit mind-boggling. Corey Davis just became only the second wide receiver ever to cross the 5,000-yard plateau; if James and Brent Stockstill both stay healthy – in a passing offense that hasn’t even been consistently good yet, mind you – James could become the first player ever to reach 6,000 yards.

Think about that for a minute. Corey Davis and Zay Jones were both exceptional receivers who will be remembered forever at their respective schools and possibly go on to long and successful professional careers… and Richie James might actually be better than both of them.

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