Thursday, October 25, 2007

Freshman WRs: Kyle Jefferson vs. Arrelious Benn

Opened up the Sporting News yesterday and saw the magazine had named Illinois WR Arrelious Benn to its all-freshman team. It gave me pause. Yes, he was the most-touted incoming freshman WR, and he had one awesome game with some spectacular plays. And he has a lame nickname, Regis, which should work against him.

But is he better than UW's Kyle Jefferson? I ran the numbers:

Jefferson: 18 catches, 324 yards, 18.0 avg, 2 TD, 64-yard long
Benn: 38 catches, 459 yards, 12.1 avg, 1 TD, 33-yard long (also a 90-yard TD return)

Total catches and yards favor Benn, yards per catch, touchdowns, and biggest play favor Jeff. Benn has been the Illini's #1 receiver since arriving in Champaign, while Jefferson was behind Swan, Hubbard, Beckum, and probably Graham in the receiving pecking order. He's now #1.

So right now, I can see giving the nod to Benn, but discounting the Northern Illinois win, Jefferson had three straight big games against Big Ten teams - long TD against Michigan State, TD against Illinois, 124 yards against Penn State. It could be argued he was the Badgers' best player in those two losses.

I think that by the time the season is over, Jefferson will clearly have had the better season and be every bit the player Benn is. Whether or not the media at large will notice is another matter.

ADDITION: In response to a comment left this morning: to clarify, this post is by no means meant to downgrade Benn. His numbers, playing with an erratic passer like Juice Williams, are impressive; also, his body and strength right now are more suited for the physical rigors of Big Ten football than Jefferson's - and most wide receivers'. I'm just saying we've got a good one, too. It will be interesting to see how much weight Kyle can put on while retaining his skill set.


ajs said...

I see where you're coming from but given the choice I would choose Benn. There was a reason he was highly touted out of HS- he's a special player. Once Jefferson fills out and gets more experience he might become as special. Like you say- time will tell

Millie said...

I remember hearing about Jefferson when the Badgers got the commit last year. People on the Ohio State boards were basically saying that he didn't get an offer because at the time he was a track guy, and there was no guarantee that he would become a football player. They seemed to think that it would take a few years for the young man to contribute. Good call fellas.

Here's hoping that his former high school teammate Cordale Scott, a Badger prospect who has offers from quite a few schools (including OSU) sees the success that Kyle is having and decides to join him in Madison.

Scott Tappa said...

Good point, ajs, I made an addition to the original post to clarify my position on the two.

And to Millie's point: have OSU fans ever been disappointed to lose an Ohio recruit? Talk about the most arrogant fans in the country ... that's okay, there's plenty of talent there for us to take.

Heard BB talking about the "Glenville Guys" on his show last night, thinking about a separate post about that.

Will said...

It's amazing the amount of talent UW has mined from Ohio, especially at that position. I think Jefferson will be good too, although it will be interesting to track his progress as 1)teams put him more in their schemes and assign better corners to cover him and 2)the season progresses and fatigue comes into play. Jefferson is so thin right now, I'm just hoping he can handle the demands of Big Ten football. But you're right, Tappa, he looks very promising.

Read the SI article on Gary Pinkel this week. Thought it was interesting that they mentioned St. Louis recruiting as one of his target areas. Has that pipeline dried up for UW? I remember that was one of Cosgrove's areas. Not sure if the Badgers are still getting as many recruits from the area.

Jim Polzin said...

Part of the issue with St. Louis is that Mason took over for Cosgrove in that area.

While Mason was one of their best recruiters before being sidelined with the spinal cord issue, he also responsible for several recruiting areas. Besides Ohio, he has Michigan, St. Louis and even handles parts of Milwaukee and Racine.

St. Louis, like the East Coast, is still somewhere UW looks for talent. But it's behind Wisconsin, Chicago, Minneapolis, Florida and Texas on the priority list.

Millie said...

I know that the Badgers have a pretty highly touted WR committed from MO. I'm assuming it's the St. Louis area. His name's Wes Kemp, and he's supposed to be big, strong and fast. We'll see if he ends up signing, but he's probably the most highly-touted recruit in the 2008 class right now.

As far as Tappa's statement about OSU fans. They are extremely arrogant when it comes to recruiting. They generally don't seem to get upset about kids they lose to UW until a few years later. I know I've seen regret about losing out on Lee Evans, and last year read some things about how Lance Smith was going to be a good one.

Scott Tappa said...

I was just about to mention Wes Kemp. Ironically, when he signed I looked at his height and weight and thought that on paper he sounded a lot like Jefferson.

Regarding St. Louis - there's no way Coz comes back to UW when Callahan gets the axe, right? Is there a chance Chryst takes a head job and Cally returns to Madison as offensive coordinator?

OSU fans weren't too down about losing Lance because they were getting Wells, who seems to be just fine.

And lastly - get well soon Henry, we need you in Northeast Ohio!

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