Back Omar Bayless on Remarkable Run

Omar Bayless on Remarkable Run

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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Setting records, all that Omar Bayless is doing comes with historical context.

The most productive wide receiver in college football is Arkansas State's Omar Bayless. Halfway through the regular season, he leads the nation with 843 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns, ranking fourth with 44 receptions. Bayless is on a truly generational pace, a run which started in an all-out sprint; he opened this season with ten catches for 132 yards and four touchdowns in a game one showdown with nationally-ranked SMU.

Setting records, all that Bayless is doing comes with historical context.

This millennium, the only receivers with 40 receptions, 800 yards and ten touchdowns six games into a season are Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Crabtree, Justin Blackmon, Brandin Cooks, Josh Doctson, Corey Coleman and Bayless; five of the previous six players won the Fred Biletnikoff Award. 

Bayless, by any measure, has been as good as it gets. His production has been near-perfect. A complete, dynamic playmaking option, Bayless, in addition to his college football-leading scoring prowess and perimeter-pacing 140.5 yards per game, has shown a remarkable ability to stretch the field. He leads the nation, for any receiver with more than 35 grabs, with 19.16 yards per catch.     

In addition to his aforementioned season-opener where he was one of seven receivers with a four-touchdown game this fall, Bayless had 200 yards at Troy, one of just eight such performances this year, and, for good measure, is now fresh off a three-touchdown showing against Georgia State. Already, Bayless has has reached double digits in receptions in a single game twice.

The work rate, for Bayless, is remarkable. He ranks third in college football of receptions of ten yards or more, fourth in receptions of 20 yards or more and, showcasing his striking downfield abilities, leads the country with ten catches of at least 30 yards and eight catches of at least 40 yards. Just three receiver have caught five or more passes of a minimum of 40 yards, meaning, in that specific category, Bayless has at least doubled up the vast majority of even the most accomplished wideouts around.

Going to back to last season's Arizona Bowl, Bayless has nearly 1,000 yards over his past seven games. Bayless, including the finale from a year ago, has 51 receptions for 972 yards and eleven touchdowns. He could top the 1,000-yard mark, for this year, in Arkansas State's next game with Louisiana, potentially reaching a significant milestone in mid-October. By any and every measure, Bayless is one of the hottest playmakers in all of college football.

Up next is a run at the record books. The Sun Belt single-season receiving yards mark stands at 1,322 yards, with the touchdown record holding at 12.

Bayless appears to be well on his way to history. His start isn't just all-conference good, it's all-time as well.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports