Freshman Phenom

If you have taken a peek at the national statistics since last weekend's games, you'll notice a young receiver leading the country in receiving yards, receptions, and receiving touchdowns. In his first year on the field as a Red Raider, Michael Crabtree has made a huge splash onto the college football landscape with 3 tremendous games to start his career.

If you have taken a peek at the national statistics since last weekend's games, you'll notice a young receiver leading the country in receiving yards, receptions, and receiving touchdowns.

In his first year on the field as a Red Raider, Michael Crabtree has made a huge splash onto the college football landscape with 3 tremendous games to start his career.

Through 3 games against SMU, UTEP, and Rice, the redshirt freshman has caught 38 balls for 538 yards and 8 touchdowns.  This hidden gem may have been a big surprise to most of the college football world, but Texas Tech fans have been expecting big things out of him since he set foot on campus a little over a year ago.

He wasn't able to play in 2006 because of an academic transcript issue coming out of Dallas Carter High School, but from the get go Texas Tech knew he was a special talent.

"Ever since [Crabtree] has been on campus he's been making big plays," said Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell.  "If we would have been able to use him last year, he would have put up big numbers too.  Ever since we've seen him we knew he was going to be special."

Crabtree has had plenty to be excited about through his first 3 games.

Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach has been very pleased with the way Crabtree has developed as a player.  Not only is he always willing to work hard in practice, he has that special ability to find the openings on the field and make plays.

"He's really good at getting open," said Mike Leach.  "The actual spot he catches some of those balls, you and me could get some yards after the catch because he really does a good job of getting some space.  What coaches have said for years is that he has great instincts.  What I think is that he has that combined with other things like running good routes, and he has a knack for looking for the football."

The Red Raiders have their conference opener this Saturday against a hungry Oklahoma State team, which will give Crabtree an opportunity to bring his show to the Big 12 stage.  With the stats he has been putting up, the Cowboys may have to come up with a new scheme to defend the freshman sensation.

"Teams will have to start double teaming him, but we have good receivers across the board," said Harrell.  "If you try to take one away, the other one is going to kill you.  [Teams haven't double teamed him] yet.  But he's had big numbers, and I would think teams are going to start double teaming him, but if they don't, he'll continue to put up big numbers."

Harrell has thrown passes to the likes of Joel Filani, Jarrett Hicks, and Robert Johnson throughout his career.  So does Harrell think Crabtree is the best player he has ever thrown the ball to?

"Probably.  He's really good."


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