For this story, I used 10 of the best receivers in the Big 12 by typical production numbers (catches, receiving yards and touchdowns) and decided to divide those numbers by a team's overall production in those categories. Why? I wanted to see which players had the highest percentage production on their teams. Texas Tech threw the ball 673 times, and completed more passes (425) than all but two other Big 12 teams threw. So catching 50 passes in Tech's offense isn't the same as catching 50 passes in Kansas State's offense, which only completed 176 passes.
A couple of notes. First, I didn't include Texas Tech's Jace Amaro, as this is about finding the most productive receivers within their schemes, and Amaro is a tight end. Second, this is an overall percentage of a team's production, not a basketball-like "floor percentage" where it only accounts for when a receiver is on the field. Since nobody truly tracks substitutions in football, that would be nearly impossible. This becomes important in the case of Tevin Reese, as I'll explain later.
Here are those top 10 receivers, ranked in each category.
1) Tyler Lockett, Kansas State — 40.3
6) Mike Davis, Texas — 20.7
7) Eric Ward, Texas Tech — 18.8
8) Levi Norwood, Baylor — 17.4
9) Jakeem Grant, Texas Tech — 13.9
10) Tevin Reese, Baylor — 13.3
Receiving Yards Percentage
1) Lockett — 43.2 percent
2) Goodley — 30.6
3) Saunders — 29.2
4) Davis — 26.4
5) Bundrage — 25.7
6) Stewart — 19.3
7) Ward — 19.2
8) Reese — 19.1
9) Norwood — 15.6
10) Grant — 15.0
Receiving Touchdowns Percentage
1) Bundrage — 47.4 percent
2) Davis — 44.4
3) Lockett — 42.1
4) Goodley — 39.4
5) Saunders — 30.0
6) Ward — 25.8
7) Reese — 24.2
8) Norwood — 21.2
9) Grant — 16.1
10) Stewart — 8.3
First impression: Holy Tyler Lockett! Lockett was the only receiver to be top-three in every category, and he was the runaway leader in the first two. Lockett was also above 40 percent in every category, while no other receiver was above 30 percent in every one. Lockett's traditional numbers this season — 71 catches for 1,146 yards and eight touchdowns — were outstanding. But he was the Big 12's second leading receiver in receptions to Eric Ward, was the No. 2 receiver in receiving yards and was tied for third in touchdowns. But when you add in the fact that he was producing those numbers in an offense that threw the ball fewer times than any other Big 12 squad, you get insanely high production percentages.
Overall, there were four receivers who were in the top five in every category: Lockett, Antwan Goodley, Jalen Saunders and … Quenton Bundrage*? That's why this exercise was so fun. You'd never guess that Bundrage was among the Big 12's elite receivers, simply because Iowa State doesn't throw the ball that much. On no planet would anyone compare Bundrage's 48 catches with Ward's 80, but Bundrage actually caught a higher percentage of Iowa State's completed passes.
* The chart lists Bundrage and Mike Davis with identical 20.7 marks in reception percentage, though both rounded up to that mark from high 20.6s, and Bundrage's percentage was oh-so-slightly higher than Davis's. We're talking less than two one-hundredths of a percent here. So Davis might as well be a top-five guy in each.
I was also pretty impressed with Tevin Reese. Remember, these are overall numbers, so Reese's percentages are of Baylor's passing production as a whole, not of the eight games that he played. So Reese wasn't even suited up for 155 of Baylor's 401 passing attempts, making his percentages above all the more remarkable in that — with the exception of receptions — he's right in-line with so many of his contemporaries. Keep in mind that other receivers, including Lockett, Davis and Stewart (among others) all also missed time, but not a third of the season, as Reese did.
What would Reese's numbers look like for the eight games he played? He'd be at 20 percent reception percentage, 26.3 percent receiving yards and 33.3 percent in receiving touchdowns. That would put him just a fraction outside of the top five in reception percentage, fifth in receiving yards percentage and fifth in touchdown percentage. Not bad. It makes him a top-half of the league No. 1 receiver and, as we saw, easily the Big 12's most devastating No. 2.
Josh Stewart had a nice year in receptions and yards but struggled to find the end zone, much like another player who just failed to make this list, Jaxon Shipley.