When A.J. Brown enthusiastically announced that he would not be transferring from Ole Miss following the NCAA’s imposition of a second bowl ban for the 2018 season, and when he further announced that he would be returning to Oxford for at least one more year, Rebel football fans breathed out a collective and happy sigh of relief. Brown is, after all, extremely good at what he does — namely, catching footballs thrown in his general direction and running them many yards downfield.
But you know all this. What you may not know — our Gray Hardison probably knows this — is that Brown hauled in 11 touchdowns during the 2017 season, and according to A.J. Brown, all of them came from the slot (in the absence of comprehensive film for all 11 catches, we’ll just have to trust his word for it).
On Wednesday, Pro Football Focus tweeted out the following graphic, alleging that Brown only nabbed 10 slot TDs. So where did the phantom score go?
No receivers hauled in more touchdowns from the slot than Ole Miss' A.J. Brown and Texas Tech's Keke Coutee in 2017 pic.twitter.com/ME6EAnBFkm— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) January 31, 2018
Word? Let’s hear from the man himself.
Now, what we may be dealing with here is a mere disconnect between what PFF and AJB consider a “slot position” when lining up before the snap in the Ole Miss scheme. In fact, in retrospect it would seem nearly incredible that every scoring catch Brown housed in 2017 should come from the slot, given his hands, speed, strength, versatility and route running; he showed up all over the field. His yards-per-catch average scrapes all the way up against 17 YPC, which is insane.
Perhaps A.J. misread the PFF graphic, but we at RCR are in no mood to lend a competitor site a shred of benefit of the doubt. We’re wholly on A.J.’s side, here, and if the man says he caught all 11 from the slot, then he most definitely caught all 11 from the slot.