Jonathan Baldwin's gotten a lot of hype during the offseason. While he's one of the best receivers in college football, I'm not necessarily ready to compare him to Fitz:
"I was at that game scouting Stull and [tight end Dorin] Dickerson," said one scout in attendance. "I knew who Baldwin was, but I had never seen him play in person. That drive was impressive, and it really showed how dominant he could be on the big stage. But, that catch he made in the end zone, against a pretty good defender, brought back memories of Larry Fitzgerald."
Fitz was too special of a player. I'll have to see a lot more out of Baldwin before I annoint him to anywhere near that level. As great as JB has been, let's keep in mind his career high for yards came last season - 'only' 57 catches for 1,111 yards. That, of course, is a pretty good year. But it's not Heisman-worthy as Fitz' best season was - 92 for 1,672.
And as I've pointed out before, Baldwin had several games where he disappeared last year:
- 1 catch for 17 yards vs. Rutgers
- 1 catch for 5 yards vs. Syracuse
- 4 catches for 44 yards vs. Buffalo
That won't get it done if you're trying to slide next to the greatest wideout in school history.
Sticking with Baldwin but moving onto...fantasy college football? My thoughts on that are another issue for another time, but here's one guy who isn't sold on Baldwin putting up big numbers:
Let someone else reach for...
Jonathan Baldwin. Sure he's one of the more physically gifted wide receivers in the country, but I'm not sold on the Panther offense in 2010. Only two offensive linemen return, Tino Sunseri has some big shoes to fill, and this will remain a run-first and run-second offense. I'm not telling you to avoid Baldwin, just that there are reasons to doubt that he'll match his 57-1111-8 from 2009.
I think the new line and QB will hurt Baldwin, but I think the running game will be enough of a threat to warrant a lot of looks his way. So with that said, I expect him to improve upon his numbers from last season.