Over the next several weeks here on the HailState Beat, we’ll be running a new football-related series each week, a series of series, if you will. We continue today with The Record Book: highlighting the records to watch this fall as old Dawgs climb up the all-time lists while others will have chances for single-season greatness.
Today in The Record Book: Chad Bumphis and receiving
Highly-touted, but also highly-criticized. Historic success, but oft-ignored when looking forward. The jewel of Dan Mullen’s first signing class is seemingly lost in the shuffle entering his senior year.
Despite the gamut of opinions and emotions, Mississippi State receiver Chad Bumphis enters his final season already as one of the top 10 at his position in MSU history and he has the opportunity to statistically become one of the best ever.
Yet, no one seems to be talking about him. A look at his career numbers may explain it to a degree, as he was the leading receiver for MSU his first two years, but saw his production slip as a junior in 2011.
- 2009: 32 receptions, 375 yards, four touchdowns
- 2010: 44 receptions, 634 yards, five touchdowns
- 2011: 25 receptions, 339 yards, three touchdowns
However, injuries may have played a role last season, even if Bumphis never publicly blamed any physical issues for the drop in numbers. Bumphis only had more than two receptions twice all season (against UAB and Middle Tennessee State), and over the final three games he totaled only three catches, good for eight yards. Against Memphis in the season-opener, when the offense racked up the yards, Bumphis only had one catch.
Whether it was injuries, competition or just an “off” season, things just never came together for Bumphis in 2011. Entering the 2012 campaign, competition at receiver is stiffer than ever, but the opportunity is as great as it has ever been with the big-armed Tyler Russell at the helm of the offense. If the pair, who both signed with MSU in 2009, can get together often, Bumphis will continue moving up the record books.
A look at those standings:
- Bumphis is tied for sixth all-time with 12 touchdown catches. A mere two more this fall will tie him for third with Bill Buckley at 14. If he can match his sophomore total of five, he’ll also match Eric Moulds and Justin Jenkins for the most ever at MSU with 17.
- With 101 receptions through three years, Bumphis is 8th in MSU history, only one behind Buckley who had 102 from 1971-1973. If he is able to just match his worst season at State catch 25 balls, he’ll vault to fourth on the list, passing Moulds and Terrell Grindle on the way. At the top of the chart, however, is the seemingly unreachable number of 162 career receptions by David Smith from 1968-70.
- Bumphis’ 1,348 career receiving yards don’t qualify for the top 10, but he’s one long pass away from passing Willie Harris, who had 1,391 yards from 1989-92. 500 yards this season could get Bumphis up to fifth on the list, 400 would make him seventh and 300 would move him to eighth on the all-time list. Mardye McDole (1977-80) tops them all with 2,214 career receiving yards
What will Bumphis’ role be in 2012 and how effective will he be? Well, I’ll get back to you in November. But even if he stops now, his numbers say he’s one of the best to play the position at MSU. If he can return to his sophomore form, Bumphis will establish himself as one of the all-time greats to play receiver at Mississippi State.