One of the few bright spots for Notre Dame during the 2016 season was sophomore receiver Equanimeous St. Brown, who emerged to lead the Irish in receiving.
He burst onto the scene with two touchdowns in the season opener against Texas, but as the season progressed, quarterback DeShone Kizer—second round pick of the Cleveland Browns—struggled to get him the ball.
Here’s a look at a heat map of all 90 of St. Brown’s targets, with a few notes on his overall performance:
- Clearly Equanimeous St. Brown has the ability to get open all over the field, but as the season progressed, Kizer showed less confidence throwing downfield. Through the Stanford game, 58.2 percent of St. Browns targets were 10+ yards downfield. But over the final five games, that rate dropped to 31.4 percent.
- St. Brown led the team with 26 receptions at 10+ yards downfield (Kevin Stepherson and Torii Hunter Jr. were second with 13 apiece). But St. Brown caught just 59 percent of his targets at 10+ yards—a surprisingly low rate considering how often he was able to get open. With just three drops in this range, most of the blame falls on Kizer.
- St. Brown also led the team with seven receptions at 20+ yards downfield, narrowly edging out Stepherson, who had six.