SPORTS RAMS RECEIVER GAINING NATIONAL ATTENTION»
Is Colorado State’s Gallup the best receiver in college football?
FORT COLLINS» Michael Gallup hears it all the time, and quite frankly, he’s tired of the praise. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Colorado State wide receiver is easily recognizable across town as the nation’s leading receiver (1,298 yards). Gallup says it’s all anyone wants to talk about.
Hey, Mike, what’s it’s like to be one of 10 Biletnikoff Award semifinalist?
Oh, I didn’t know, man. “And I just keep moving,” he said. That’s Gallup. The unassuming star. If you’re looking for a more brash evaluation of his ability, just ask the last Rams receiver to garner this kind of national attention. Rashard “Hollywood” Higgins, now a member of the Cleveland Browns, is glad to help.
“When (Gallup’s) number is called, he puts on a show,” said Higgins, who tallied 3,649 yards receiving and 31 touchdowns at CSU from 2013-15. “I feel like for me, it was the same way. Not only that, but we make plays when it matters the most.”
And yet, when the annual national honor for college football’s top pass catcher, the Biletnikoff Award, is announced Dec. 7, it is unlikely Gallup will win. A Group of Five receiver has not claimed the Biletnikoff since 1998 (Troy Edwards, Louisiana Tech), and based on past winners’ statistics, one number puts Gallup on the outside looking in. Since 2008, the award has gone to a receiver who ranks inside the top three nationally in touchdowns. As it stands today, Gallup’s seven scores rank No. 33.
“I hope a lot of guys take the time to watch some of his games instead of
just looking at his stats, because he’s making an impact in every way at the receiver position: screens, blocking, deep routes, intermediate routes and unbelievable catches,” CSU coach Mike Bobo said. “He’s just taking over ballgames.”
There’s no doubting the legitimacy of Gallup’s Biletnikoff candidacy. In consecutive performances against Hawaii, Utah State and Nevada this fall, Gallup recorded 28 catches for 563 yards — the most production over a three-game span in school history. He has eclipsed the century mark receiving in six of 11 games. And per Pro Football Focus, CSU quarterback Nick Stevens carried a 106.8 passer rating in last week’s home defeat to Boise State on 16 targets to Gallup, who stepped up with 11 catches for 102 yards and a touchdown.
“I don’t know if anybody else in the country has a guy that does as much for their offense as he does,” Bobo said.
Naturally, Gallup’s success has bred comparisons to Higgins, who was one of three Biletnikoff Award finalists in 2014. It was Alabama’s
Only the best
CSU senior receiver Michael Gallup is one of 10 Biletnikoff Award semifinalists. Here is how they stack up: Player School Rec. yards Michael Gallup Colorado State 1,298 James Washington Oklahoma State 1,158 Steve Ishmael Syracuse 1,131 Keke Coutee Texas Tech 1,064 A.J. Brown Ole Miss 1,015 Trey Quinn SMU 1,008 Deontay Burnett Southern Cal 911 Anthony Miller Memphis 905 David Sills V West Virginia 856
Darren Andrews UCLA 773 Amari Cooper who took home the trophy that year, despite Higgins finishing the season with more yards (1,750) and touchdowns (17) — fueling a perception about the Mountain West that doesn’t agree with Gallup.
“At the end of the day, if you can play ball, you can play ball. That’s just politics,” Gallup said. “I’m surprised I’m even up there. They don’t really give the Mountain West much of a chance.”
Saturday will be Gallup’s final opportunity to impress the Biletnikoff committee before a Sunday vote that narrows 10 semifinalists to three finalists. And if all goes to plan, Rec. 87 53 92 71 62 96 69 67 55 60 YPC 14.9 21.8 12.3 15.0 16.4 10.5 13.2 13.5 15.6 12.9 TDs 7 9 6 9 9 8 9 11 18 10 CSU’s passing offense should feast starting 1:30 p.m. Saturday against San Jose State on Senior Day, as the Spartans are one of only 19 teams in the country to allow at least 20 passing touchdowns this fall.
It will be Gallup’s last home game in green and gold. And while all fans want to talk about are his statistics, the humble playmaker would like to be remembered for a different reason.
“How much I had fun here,” Gallup said.
Colorado State wide receiver Michael Gallup stretches toward the pylon in attempting to score against Hawaii this season. Gallup has caught 163 passes for 2,570 yards and 21 touchdowns during his two seasons in Fort Collins.