I was not always a fan of the announced hires for Brent Key’s new coaching staff, but there is one name that as soon as I started looking into him that really got me excited, and that is the new wide receivers coach Josh Crawford.
- 2010-2012: Greater Atlanta Christian HS (Offensive assistant/running backs/tight ends)
- 2013: Jefferson County HS (Associate head coach/offensive coordinator/quarterbacks)
- 2014: Colquitt County HS (Offensive assistant)
- 2015-2016: Colquitt County HS (Wide receivers)
- 2017: Lee County HS (Pass game coordinator/wide receivers)
- 2018-2019: Valdosta HS (Offensive coordinator/quarterbacks)
- 2020: Colquitt County HS (Assistant head coach/co-offensive coordinator)
- 2021: Western Kentucky (Outside receivers)
- 2022: Western Kentucky (Co-offensive coordinator/receivers)
I’ll dive a bit more into the college numbers in just a minute, but I wanted to share this snippet from his Georgia Tech bio about his experience at the high school level.
Prior to making the jump to the college ranks, Crawford established himself as one of the nation’s top offensive coaches in the high school ranks, coaching at five of Georgia’s most storied and successful programs – Colquitt County H.S. (2020 – co-offensive coordinator; 2015-16 – wide receivers; 2014 – offensive assistant), Valdosta H.S. (2018-19 – offensive coordinator/quarterbacks), Lee County H.S. (2017 – pass game coordinator/wide receivers), Jefferson County H.S. (2013 – associate head coach/offensive coordinator/quarterbacks) and Greater Atlanta Christian (2010-12 – running backs/tight ends).
In his 11 seasons in the high school ranks, Crawford helped lead three teams to Georgia 6A state championships – Colquitt County in 2014 and 2015 Lee County in 2017 – while the 2015 Colquitt team was named national champion by High School Football America.
He coached six all-state receivers, four of which went on to play at the Power Five level. His high school pupils at wideout are highlighted by Darius Slayton, a high school all-American at Greater Atlanta Christian who went on to play at Auburn and is currently in his fourth season with the National Football League’s New York Giants. Crawford also oversaw the development of high school all-America quarterback Tate Rodemaker, who threw for 6,752 yards and 74 touchdowns in Crawford’s two seasons as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at Valdosta H.S.
Reading through this, it is evident that Crawford made a massive impact at the high school level. From this experience alone, he is showing precisely what Tech needs on its coaching staff: proven talent development.
At Western Kentucky, Crawford continued to develop that talent. Below are the stats from the 2020 season (the season before Crawford arrived) and then the 2021 and 2022 seasons.
Now, looking through these stats, I don’t want to focus on yards or touchdowns or any of that. I want to look at two things:
- Improving catch rates. In 2020, no receiver with more than 20 targets had a catch rate above 67%. To compare, Georgia Tech had one receiver last season with more than 20 targets that did not eclipse that number. That is truly an abysmal stat for Western Kentucky. In his first season at WKU, Crawford produced five receivers with more than 20 targets that eclipsed that number, with the top four in targets all in the 70s. In his second season, the catch rate took a huge jump with most of his receivers in the 80s and 90s.
- EPA/Play. Crawford’s receivers took a similar jump in EPA/play from 2020 to 2022. In his final season, he had one receiver with an EPA/play of 0.96. I had to go back to 2016 to find a Georgia Tech player who eclipsed that number as a receiver (it was Clinton Lynch with 1.64 EPA/play, and he did it on 21 targets). The WKU player (Daewood Davis) had three times as many targets and did that and managed to get a UDFA deal with the Miami Dolphins.
This season, Georgia Tech is welcoming a very new receiving room. With the player development abilities that Crawford has shown, I am confident that he will be able to put together a solid group of receivers for whoever ends up throwing the ball to them.
How do you expect Crawford and the receivers to do this season?