- 61 receptions
- 676 receiving yards
- 7 touchdowns
- 11.1 yards per reception
- 709 scrimmage yards
Entering 2016, there were a great many questions surrounding the Cincinnati Bearcats’ wide receivers. Since there was so much talent gone (Shaq Washington, Max Morrison, Johnny Holton, Chris Moore etc.), uncertainty ran rampant in regards to how the passing offense would function. But then Devin Gray and Kahlil Lewis both had more than 600 yards and five touchdowns. That meant when it came time to get ready for the 2017 season, it seemed like the wideouts — at least at the top of the depth chart — were all set to dominate. With the year now in the books, its fair to say Lewis lived up to that, relatively, even if he was pretty much alone.
A 6’0” junior from Miami, Lewis has grown from kickoff specialist to No. 1 target. He caught a team-high 61 passes this season, which was also superior to the 48 grabs he had in 2016. Lewis was not the biggest of threats when it came to deep passes, as he averaged a respectable but far from exciting 11.1 yards per reception, finishing with 676 receiving yards, which ranked 14th in the American Athletic Conference. Lewis also had seven receiving touchdowns, which, as you may have guessed, was the top mark on the roster. All of those numbers piled up despite not a single 100-yard effort, which goes to show just how weak the passing game was.
Lewis’ production made a mockery of that of his teammates. He had more than twice as many receptions and touchdowns as the next best receiver, Thomas Geddis, who added 29 catches and three touchdowns. He also beat out Gray by more than 200 yards for the top spot in receiving yards. To say that Lewis was the No. 1 target would be an understatement of epic proportions.
The Best of the Best
Sept. 16 at Miami-Ohio
As the Bearcats claimed yet another Victory Bell, Lewis racked up 83 yards and a touchdown on seven receptions.
Oct. 7 vs. UCF
Against the best team in the AAC, Lewis put together a season-high 89 yards while bringing in seven passes.
Oct. 21 vs. SMU
Once again, Lewis was peppered with targets, which is why he finished with 10 receptions. Unfortunately, those catches only yielded 72 yards, but anytime you get double digit grabs people will notice.
Nov. 18 at ECU
Nov. 25 vs. UConn
In the final game of the season, Lewis caught not one, but two touchdowns while racking up 64 yards on six total receptions. He also had a 24-yard run to give him 88 all-purpose yards.
For Next Year
Lewis can only do so much. If the play at quarterback continues to be underwhelming, his production will be held back. Still, he is the unquestioned No. 1 receiver for next year, especially since Gray will no longer be around. Creating some bigger plays with all the passes he gets will be critical, but as he showed against ECU, he is more than capable of snagging a ball out of the air and taking off for a whole bunch of yards. He will try to do that more often in 2018.