As active as Texas schools have been in implementing the passing game, it goes to reason that someone has to be catching all those balls. Read more about the passers here. The pass catchers are those ultra skilled dare devils who made the choice to go into harms way, across the middle for the rare moments of glory with the chance of real moments of pain. So we give you the Top 10 single season reception leaders in Texas FBS history.
Manny Hazard Houston 142 Catches 1989
Hazard played just two seasons in Houston but his 1989 campaign rewrote the record book. His 142 catches were the most in NCAA history and still sit 3rd most all-time today. He topped Tulsa receiver Howard Twilley's previous record of 134, set in 1965. He set the NCAA record with 14 catch 155 yard performance against Rice in the season finale. He also set an NCAA record with 18 touchdown receptions beating a mark that had been in place for 29 years. The Cougars finished 1989 at 9-2 but were ineligible to win the league title due to NCAA sanctions.
Michael Crabtree Texas Tech 134 Catches 2007
Crabtree's 2007 ranks eighth all time in NCAA history. Not bad for a high school quarterback. Crabtree had eight games of 10 or more catches including fifteen against UTEP and fourteen against Oklahoma State. Of his 134 catches 22 went for scores. He averaged a lofty 14.6 yards per catch in 2007. Tech finished 9-4 in 2007 and in spite of his great season Crabtree received exactly zero Heisman votes. He's gone on to a pro career in the Bay area for both San Francisco and Oakland.
Jordan Shipley Texas 116 Catches 2009
Shipley's exemplary career at Texas culminated in a great 2009 season. He had five double digit catch days including three eleven catch performances. He caught eleven balls for 273 yards and a score against Central Florida and ten catches for 122 in the National Title game vs. Alabama. Shipley, from Burnet High School went on to an NFL career with the Cincinnati Bengals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Jacksonville Jaguars.
Casey Fitzgerald North Texas 113 Catches 2008
Fitzgerald, a senior walk-on from Red Oak, led the Sun Belt in catches for the second consecutive year. His biggest afternoon came against Louisiana Lafayette with 14 catches for 231 yards for a 16.5 yard average. He added another 14 catch day vs. Troy two weeks later. Out of North Texas' 12 games, Fitzgerald caught ten or more balls six times. He did all that for a North Texas team that finished 1-11.
Jeremy Johnson SMU 112 Catches 2013
Jeremy Johnson had a banner year in the second to last year of the June Jones era at SMU. Johnson blew away the previous single season SMU reception leader thanks to an 18 reception effort vs. Rutgers and six other double digit catch days. His 18 catch, 217 yard game vs. Rutgers included three touchdown grabs. Johnson spent time with the Bengals and the Patriots in the NFL.
Casey Fitzgerald North Texas 111 Catches 2007
Fitzgerald's second appearance on this list is good enough for 34th all time with a 111 catches in 2007. His hallmark day in 2007 was an 18 catch 327 yard afternoon vs. SMU. He added another 14 catch day vs. Louisiana Lafayette. For his career Fitzgerald torched the Ragin' Cajuns for 30 grabs, 609 yards and five touchdowns. North Texas were 2-10 in 2007.
James Casey Rice 111 Catches 2008
Rice's James Casey put together one of the more improbable seasons in NCAA history, "Thor" as he was known at Rice was a professional baseball player before coming to West U. There he played a tight end H-back hybrid. Casey caught ten or more passes in four games, including three twelve catch afternoons. He played for the Texans, Eagles, and Broncos and is currently the tight ends coach for Major Applewhite at the University of Houston.
Danny Amendola Texas Tech 109 Catches 2007
Amendola paired with Crabtree to form the most dynamic pass catching duo in NCAA history. His 2007 season is 41st all time. Amendola, from the Woodlands, caught 14 balls for 231 vs. Oklahoma State and had five double digit catch days. He's gone on to catch 365 passes in his NFL career with St. Louis and New England.
Kendall Wright Baylor 108 Catches 2011
The first big time number producer of Art Briles' prolific Baylor offense was Kendall Wright. Wright put up 12 catches and 189 yards vs. TCU with two touchdowns. All told he had three double digit catch games and five games of eight or more. He averaged 26 yards on eight catches vs. Oklahoma and had a three touchdown performance vs. Kansas State.
Jason Phillips Houston 108 Catches 1988
Jason Phillips erupted with 108 catches in 1988 in Jack Pardee and John Jenkins' run and shoot. The 5-7 Phillips came to Houston from Sterling High School. He topped his 1987 99 catch performance with 108 for the 9-3 Cougars. He was voted All-SWC and Co-Offensive Player of the Year. He's gone on to a long coaching career and is currently the OC at Oregon State.