Isaiah Hodgins should terrify opposing defenses.
The former four-star recruit has always been productive but his junior season has been nearly superhuman. He is second in the country in receptions (51), fourth in receiving yards (709), and tied for second in touchdowns (9). If those statistics somehow don’t impress you, he passes the eye test too: making contested catches, open constantly, and looking dominant in each game played thus far.
His season has made Beavers fans question if they may have their third Biletnikoff Award winner in school history, an award given to the most outstanding receiver in the country in college football. Hodgins has to be one of the front runners for the award given Pro Football Focus currently ranks him as the nation’s top receiver. Previous Beavers to win the award are Mike Hass (2005) and Brandin Cooks (2013).
Let’s take a look at where those Beavers were at five games into their respective seasons.
Mike Hass: 47 receptions, 831 yards, 4 touchdowns
Brandin Cooks: 52 receptions, 807 yards, 9 touchdowns
Hodgins is right on pace when it comes to receptions, but is lagging behind these two great seasons in receiving yards. His touchdown total, however, is tied with Cooks and is not only more than Hass through five games but Hodgins has already scored more touchdowns than Hass did that entire season (6).
The key for Hodgins to win the award would be increasing his receiving yards because both Hass and Cooks led the country in that statistic. Hodgins trails Arkansas State wide receiver Omar Bayless by 134 yards. If we're looking at yards per game, Hodgins trails Bayless by 22.34 yards per game.
Keep in mind that Bayless plays for a non-Power Five school which greatly lowers his chances of winning the award. Only three of the 24 winners didn’t play for a Power Five school, and coincidentally they won three years in a row in 1995-1997. For the last 22 years, a Power Five player has taken home the award. Of all Power Five players, Hodgins is second in receiving yards per game with 118.16, just .34 yards per game, or two total yards, behind current Power Five leader Sage Surratt of Wake Forest.
Hodgins currently resides as one of 62 players to be on the Biletnikoff Award official watchlist, but he has to be among the favorites to win it.
Also on the watchlist is last year’s winner of the Biletnikoff Award and a future first-round pick Jerry Jeudy of Alabama. Jeudy ended last season with 68 receptions, 1,315 yards and 14 touchdowns for a team that barely played their starters in second halves. But this season, Hodgins has clearly outpaced him in every category since Jeudy has 38 receptions for 488 yards and 6 touchdowns. The main argument for Jeudy over Hodgins will be the qualities of the teams given their production thus far.
Although interestingly, the team’s record doesn’t seem to be too large of an indicating factor in the award since Cooks’ team finished 7-6 and Hass’ team finished 5-6 missing a bowl game. As long as Oregon State remains competitive and wins a few more games this season, the quality of Hodgins’ team should not hurt him in the voting, given he has a significant statistical advantage over Jeudy and other receivers from ranked schools.
When asked about if he’d rather win the Biletnikoff Award or four more games, Hodgins chose four more games. But, if Hodgins can keep up his pace and increase the receiving yardage by catching some long balls, I can easily foresee both a bowl game and a Biletnikoff Award in his future.