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On Zach Driscoll’s All-American Snub

Screen shot 2012-12-19 at 1.50.23 AMI was going to write a short post re-stating my frustration on Zach Driscoll not making the All-American Team (see argument here already made), but the guys who made the team responded to a tweet of mine and we had an exchange on the topic, which I thought I would share. For those who don’t know, Zach Driscoll (10.4 receptions/game, 142 yards/game, 1.875 TD/game) not only didn’t make the First Team All-American, but also didn’t make the Second, Third, or Honorable Mention Team. Here is our exchange:

PANTHERNATION (@MiddPantherBlog): Was holding back, but the fact that Zach Driscoll didn’t make the@d3football All-American team is indefensible.http://d3football.com/awards/all-americans/2012 …

PANTHERNATION: There are 8 wide receivers on the @d3football All-American Teams, all of whom had worse seasons than Zach Driscoll #snub

D3FOOTBALL.COM (@d3football): In your opinion. You want three Midd all-ams? Asking a lot. RT@MiddPantherBlog: … all of whom had worse seasons than Zach Driscoll #snub

PANTHERNATION: @d3football No, based on statistics. See http://sites.middlebury.edu/panthernation/2012/11/13/a-quick-note-on-zach-driscoll/ … (not updated). Think he deserved it more than Moores or Chapman.

D3FOOTBALL.COM: As you can tell, this is not purely a stat leaders award. RT@MiddPantherBlog@d3football No, based on statistics.

PANTHERNATION: @d3football And his stats don’t do service to his abilities, but hard to make a convincing case by saying “you should see this guy play.”

PANTHERNATION: @d3football Neither of your FIRST team WRs had more receptions/game, yards/game/ OR TDs/game than Zach Driscoll.

PANTHERNATION: @d3football So here’s the question: Is there anything he could have done to make the team? If so, what?

To which @d3football did not reply.

It is unfortunate that the selection was made the way it was, and unfortunate that they were unable, and then unwilling, to defend it.

APPENDIX: Here are the lines of the eight wide receivers selected ahead of Driscoll, in order of Team (First, Second, etc.):

PLAYER: RECEPTIONS PER GAME, RECEIVING YARDS PER GAME, TD RECEPTIONS PER GAME

ERIC ROGERS: 9.1, 130, 1.8
JASPER COLLINS: 6.1, 113, 1.5
D’MARIO PARKER: 6.4, 95, 0.6
MARK HIBEN: 8.0, 120, 1.4
BRANDON BOYLE: 8.7, 139, 1.6
JEREMY MEIER: 7.3, 121, 1.5
LEE CAROTHERS: 6.3, 94, 1.0
KYLE LINVILLE: 7.1, 119, 1.8

I underlined all of the statistics where the player in question surpassed Zach Driscoll’s number.

Get it? Not a single All-American selection put up better numbers than Zach Driscoll, in ANY of the three categories.

ZACH DRISCOLL: 10.4, 142, 1.9

He had more receptions per game than each of them, more receiving yards per game than each of them, and more receiving TDs per game than each of them (!). So this is not just a case of us saying, “Our guy was good enough to be an All-American,” which plenty of fans of schools across the country are saying, and which is a reflection of the admittedly difficult task of selecting among a crop of many great and deserving players. Rather, this is a case of saying: how can you possibly defend your eight selections against one player who had more receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns per game than any of them? You put together the best statistics among all of the All-American wide-receivers and produce a super-All-American hybrid and he still will average fewer receptions, yards, and TDs per game than Zach Driscoll.

It would not have been possible for Zach Driscoll to put together a more impressive 2012 season in any respect other than degree-to-which-he-surpassed-the-other-eight, which is simply a preposterous contingency for his selection.

And to anyone who argues that Driscoll is a “System Wide Receiver,” which has somehow become part of the typical narrative on Driscoll, that is simply not the case. There has never been a wide receiver nearly as dominant as Driscoll in Middlebury’s history, let alone in Coach Bob Ritter’s tenure running this offensive system. The reason that Zach Driscoll flourished was because of his phenomenal route-running ability, glue hands, and plus athleticism. He was an impossible matchup because he was a threat to make a play everywhere on the field. His route tree was complex, and he made opposing defenses mad with his versatility as a receiver. Press him and he beats you deep down the sideline for six; back off and he’ll catch one across the middle then rack up yards after the catch; play him straight and he will run one of his signature post or flag intermediate routes that always end up with him streaking into a pocket in the secondary with his defender in recovery mode and the end zone in his sights; etcetera. He made catches in traffic, in space, in the end zone, while getting hit, while bodying defenders, and while running by defenders. And he did it over, and over, and over again. That isn’t a system player or a fluky stats player; it’s a no-brainer All-American.

 

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