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Divvying Up Missouri’s receiver targets for 2018

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Drew Lock has weapons coming back inside, outside, and in the backfield. So, who will he favor most?

NCAA Football: Florida at Missouri
Will Emanuel Hall be a 100-target receiver for the Tigers this year?
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Emanuel Hall. Johnathon Johnson. Albert Okwuegbunam. Richaud Floyd. Kendall Blanton.

Oh yeah, and Drew Lock.

Six reasons (at least) why Missouri’s pass offense should be pretty much fine in 2018, even with the loss of two-time 1,000-yard receiver J’Mon Moore.

But how are we to know how the Tigers’ targets will be divvied out over the course of the season?

We can take some clues from the past five years. In fact, we can see some pretty strong trends in the past five years of Missouri receiver targets.

In each of the past five years, the Tigers have targeted their outside receivers between 45 and 56 percent. They’ve targeted their running backs between 5 and 17 percent.

That leaves the other 36 to 44 percent for inside receivers and tight ends.

In 2013, when the Tigers were four-wide heavy, inside receivers took 41 percent of the targets while the tight ends only took 3.

The past four years, tight ends have cut severely into the inside receivers’ share: 22/12 in 2014, 23/17 in 2015, 20/19 in 2016 and 24/17 in 2017.

Over the past five years combined, here is how the targets have broken down:

  • Outside receivers: 50.5%
  • Inside receivers: 26.4%
  • Tight ends: 13.5%
  • Backs: 9.59%

Missouri has averaged 35.1 attempts per game over the past two years, Spread that out over 13 games, and you get 457 attempts. Divvy those up among our groups and the targets come out:

  • Outside receivers: 231
  • Inside receivers: 120
  • Tight ends: 62
  • Backs: 44

And who’s getting all these targets within these groups? Well, let’s take some wild guesses...

Receivers (351)

  • Emanuel Hall: 114
  • Nate Brown: 76
  • Johnathon Johnson: 58
  • Richaud Floyd: 48
  • Harry Ballard: 22
  • Justin Smith: 17
  • Alex Ofodile: 9
  • Dominic Gicinto: 7

The top outside receiver usually gets about half of the total outside receiver targets, so there you go with Hall. If he keeps up his 13.62 yards/target rate from last year, that’s a 1,553-yard season. Unlikely, but still...danggggggg.

The secondary outside receiver usually takes about a third of the overall outside receiver targets, leaving about 17 percent for the rest of the depth.

The top inside receiver also usually gets about half the inside receiver targets, although Johnson and Jimmie Hunt have been known to inch that figure up toward 70 percent. So this prediction is probably on the low end of the spectrum for Johnson. Floyd is listed as a backup at the inside and outside slots and, if that comes true, then he could edge up around 50 targets.

NCAA Football: Missouri at Kentucky
Johnathon Johnson
Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

And that leaves 55 for the rest, which are complete guesses on my part.

(Yes, I know there’s a sense out there that Ofodile could have a breakout year, but he managed only four catches in two years at Oregon, remember. Not saying he can’t break out, just that this one might be for adding depth before taking a bigger role in 2019. Remember Chris Black? Highly recruited, didn’t do much in three years at Alabama...then caught 17-of-29 targets for 257 yards in one year at Missouri. I think Ofodile, with his two years, can end at numbers greater than Black’s. But I don’t know that it comes this year. And feel free to screenshot this and send it to Old Takes Exposed if I’m wrong...I often am.)

Tight Ends — 62

  • Albert Okwuegbunam: 42
  • Kendall Blanton: 15
  • Logan Christopherson: 3
  • Brendan Scales: 2

Over the past five years, the top tight end on the team ranges anywhere from about half the tight-end targets to 95 percent. The happy medium is about two-thirds, which leaves Okwuegbunam with...exactly the same number of targets as he had last year.

Interesting.

The backup tight end averages out to about 25 percent of the targets, leaving less than 10 percent for the rest.

I’m an eternal optimist when it comes to #TightEndPassGame, so I could easily see that target number creeping up more toward 80 (at the expense of this next group...) and Okwuegbunam’s targets creeping up above 50.

NCAA Football: Missouri at Arkansas
Albert Okwuegbunam
Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Running Backs (44)

  • Damarea Crockett: 22
  • Larry Rountree III: 15
  • Isaiah Miller: 5
  • Dawson Downing: 2

Marcus Murphy, the only plus receiving running back Missouri has had in the past five years, kind of skewed this group’s target percentage upwards, so I could easily see this total falling back into the 30s this year.

Even so, 37 total targets combined for Crockett and Rountree doesn’t seem that far out of the question: three checkdowns or screens a game? Maybe I’m talking myself back into this...

NCAA Football: Missouri at Vanderbilt
Larry Rountree III
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Now, the master list:

  • Emanuel Hall: 114
  • Nate Brown: 76
  • Johnathon Johnson: 58
  • Richaud Floyd: 48
  • Albert Okwuegbunam: 42
  • Harry Ballard: 22
  • Damarea Crockett: 22
  • Justin Smith: 17
  • Kendall Blanton: 15
  • Larry Rountree: 15
  • Alex Ofodile: 9
  • Dominic Gicinto: 7
  • Isaiah Miller: 5
  • Logan Christopherson: 3
  • Dawson Downing: 2
  • Brendan Scales: 2

These will all probably be laughably wrong come December. But for now, it’s nice to dream, isn’t it?

Here’s a little glimpse inside the numbers, too, if you want it: