In this series, I’m breaking down the top-10 returning college wide receivers from 2017 by dominator rating (DR). If you’re unfamiliar with dominator rating, it’s a receiver’s combined market share of receiving yardage and touchdowns. While it’s only one element in receiver evaluation – and requires age and experience adjustments to tell the full story – it provides an excellent snapshot of a player’s role within his offense.
Consider this an early look at potential rookies in the 2019 class to get a jump-start on the draft season. I’ll take a look back at their prospect profiles and rankings from high school, their production at the college level, and prospects for the NFL. The 2017 countdown included Michael Gallup, Courtland Sutton, Anthony Miller, and Richie James.
Justin Hobbs – Tulsa
Hobbs is another big receiver on the countdown at 6 feet 4 inches, 207 pounds. A two-star prospect from Overland Park, Kansas, Hobbs was a two-year starter at Shawnee Mission West High School. A two-way player, Hobbs was used at tight end and wide receiver on offense while playing outside linebacker on defense. He was also used in the running game and only had 21 receptions as a senior. That production happened largely in the final five games of the year. Hobbs was moved to wide receiver after the death of his friend and teammate Andre Maloney, in whose honor Hobbs wears 29. Despite the limited production, Hobbs earned All-Sunflower League honors and All-Metro honorable mention as a senior. Tulsa offered a scholarship and after an official visit, he committed to the Golden Hurricane in January of 2014.
Given how Hobbs was used in high school — more as an athlete than at one true position — it’s no surprise he was redshirted in 2014. The following season, Hobbs saw his first collegiate action and played in all 13 games. He finished the year with the fourth-most receptions (32) but finished behind only Keyarris Garrett and Joshua Atkinson in receiving yards (551) for a 13 percent market share. He scored twice on his limited opportunities for an 11 percent dominator rating, but did give a glimpse of his potential with a seven-reception, 150-yard performance against SMU.
2016 was more of the same for Hobbs as the third option in the receiving game, but he was more involved. He had three 100-yard games on his way to 50 receptions, which was third on the team. He doubled his touchdown total to four (33 percent market share) and increased his yardage to 685 (20 percent market share) for a dominator rating of 0.27 at age 20.
|Year||Class||Games||Rec||Rec Yds||Rec TD||Team Passing||Team TDs||MS Yards||MS TDs||Dominator|
As a redshirt junior in 2017, Hobbs ascended to the top option at receiver, leading the Golden Hurricane in every receiving category. He also easily outpaced his teammates in the market share department, accounting for 40 percent of the receiving yards and 50 percent of the touchdowns. He was named to the Biletnikoff Award Watch List at the mid-point of the season and made the American Athletic Conference Second-Team. It’s interesting that as the overall passing volume decreased, Hobbs’ production increased. Some of that is related to becoming the primary option at receiver, like in 2017. With a dominator rating of 0.45, Hobbs officially broke out at age 21.
2018 was a different story for Hobbs, as sophomore Keylon Stokes led the team with 41 receptions and 575 yards. Hobbs was second in both categories, with 39 receptions for 480 yards (23 percent market share) and three touchdowns (23 percent market share). As a senior, his dominator rating of 0.23 is lower than all but his freshman year. That kind of regression from an older prospect is disappointing, especially one with Hobbs’ size.
Tulsa will not be playing in a bowl game so Hobbs’ college career is over. If he receives an invite to one of the All-Star games, such as the Senior Bowl, then he should remain on your radar as we head into the draft season. If he fails to garner a combine invite, the odds are stacked against him.