At Big Ten Media Days in Chicago last week, it was easy to get bombarded with statistics.
There are 10 all-conference first team returning players on offense and five more on defense. One returning player accounted for nearly 4,000 yards of total offense last season. Another had 124 total tackles. Two schools, Indiana and Nebraska, have eight home games. Two others have seven plus a neutral site game that's close by.
But there was one particular statistic that Indiana coach Kevin Wilson and wide receiver Kofi Hughes, among others, were tossing around that really seemed remarkable to me.
Five Indiana players have the potential to end the season with at least 100 career catches for more than 1,000 yards. And you could actually even throw in a sixth but he would have to have a career year from the running back spot.
But think about that for a minute. Let that one sink in. That's a lot of catches and a lot of receptions spread around throughout the offense. It's not unusual for a school to have two or three guys in that situation. But five or six? I think that's a lot.
Three of the primary five players are seniors and when you consider they've played in a system for four years that has thrown the ball a lot, that's pretty easy to understand. If you averaged 25 catches for each of the first three years, you could be in that position.
That's clearly the case for a guy like Duwyce Wilson, the former Columbus East standout, who comes into this season with 72 career receptions for 935 yards. His best season from a production standpoint was his freshman year when he grabbed 32 balls. Last year, though, it was still 23 catches for 230 yards. With stretch-the-field ability, Wilson should have a solid chance to catch the 28 passes he would need this season to get to 100 for his career.
It should be less dramatic for Hughes, the former Cathedral High School standout who has 85 catches for 1,217 yards in his Indiana career. The last two seasons he has had 35 and 43 catches respectively. So getting another 15 shouldn't be a problem. He should reach that number by the time IU wraps up its non-conference schedule.
Fifth year senior tight end Ted Bolser, who hails from Indian Hill High School in Cincinnati, has 82 catches for 1,017 yards coming into his final season. But exactly half that total of catches came last year year when he had 41 for 445 yards. Eighteen as a senior should be well within his reach, no pun intended.
The other two candidates are juniors. Shane Wynn, from Cleveland Glenville, caught 68 balls last year alone and has 87 for 857 yards for his career. He's another guy that could easily surpass 100 catches by the end of the non-conference schedule. Twice last year he caught 12 passes in a single game. The fifth player is Cody Latimer from Jefferson Township in Dayton, Ohio. Latimer has 63 catches for 946 yards in his career. While 37 may seem like a lot, consider that last season Latimer had 51 for 805 yards. And also consider that Latimer technically could have two seasons to eclipse 100 catches.
The sixth player is another senior, tailback Stephen Houston from Little Rock, Ark. Houston has 54 catches for 545 yards from the tailback position. But that's just in two years as he played one year of junior college ball. And last season, Houston caught 37 passes for 381 yards. So 46 is not completely out of the realm of possibility. Especially if IU is once again forced to use little dump passes out of the backfield in place of a legitimate running game. That remains to be seen.
Bottom line is that Indiana has offensive receiving weapons at every turn and the ongoing statistic we're going to hear all year long is one player after another hitting the 100-catch mark.
It should be a fun side story to keep an eye on.
Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/foxsportshutch.