Junior wide receiver Jamison Crowder is coming off of a big year for the Duke Blue Devils that saw him grab 76 passes for 1074 yards and eight touchdowns. Because of his efforts last season Crowder has been named to the watch list for the Biletnikoff Award which goes to the best receiver in college football. To say the least, expectations are high as Duke tries to post its first winning season since 1994 and make back-to-back bowl games which has yet to happen in the history of Duke football.
Last season, Duke’s passing game was led by receivers Crowder and Connor Vernon who had 85 catches for 1074 yards and eight touchdowns. Vernon is gone and so is last season’s quarterback, Sean Renfree. Junior quarterback Anthony Boone will have a full plate trying to replicate last season’s success in the air when Duke ranked 31st in the nation with a 283.9 yard average. However, Boone will have Crowder to lean on as well as a potentially strong running game which could lead to Crowder having a monster season. However, the possibility to take an enormous step back is also there.
Starting opposite of the 5-foot-9, 175-pound Crowder will be senior Brandon Braxton who caught 54 passes for 532 yards and one touchdown. After Braxton is junior receiver Issac Blakeney who will lineup at tight end as well and caught 32 passes last year for 290 yards and one touchdown. The receiving corps, and passing game in general, is undergoing a facelift. The passing game could see a huge boost if someone like sophomore Max McCaffrey steps up.
Regardless of who steps up alongside Crowder, he will still be the focal point of the passing attack and could have a huge year. Last season, he averaged 5.8 receptions per game, a total that could go way up this season.
It is worth noting that Crowder set the school record with five touchdowns of at least 50 yards last year. It is very possible he breaks his own record this season. It will take an absolute monster season for Crowder to walk away with the Biletnikoff Award as he is one of 75 receivers on the watch list but he is absolutely capable of having that kind of season especially since he will see the lion’s share of targets this season. Crowder should end his career ranked ahead of Connor Vernon as the school’s all-time receiving leader and will have a legitimate shot of setting the all-time ACC mark as well.