PITTSBURGH — Pitt wide receiver Shocky Jacques-Louis wants to win the Biletnikoff Award and got to the NFL. Those are lofty goals considering the Ft. Myers, Florida native has only been in Pittsburgh a matter of weeks.
But the Class of 2018 early enrollee has set the bar high, and he specifically mentioned those goals the first time he spoke to the Pittsburgh media last week, and Jacques-Louis said the ability to achieve those goals was a major reason he chose Pitt.
“They have people in the NFL, especially receivers,” he said. “They have Biletnikoff Award winners and I plan on being one of them.”
Of course, it’s a well-established fact that the Panthers are capable of putting receivers into the NFL. Tyler Boyd, Larry Fitzgerald, Dontez Ford and Devin Street all spent time on NFL rosters or practice squads this season and players like Jonathan Baldwin and Antonio Bryant are in the very recent past. Quadree Henderson and Jester Weah hope to the be the next ones as they prep for the 2018 NFL Draft.
But the other part of it sounds less realistic. Fitzgerald, obviously, won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s best receiver in 2003, so it’s certainly possible. But is it likely for a three-star recruit at Pitt to end up winning one of the most heralded awards in college football? It’s not as far fetched as you might think.
Since Fitzgerald won it in 2003, there have been 12 players to take home the award, as Justin Blackmon (Oklahoma State, 2010 and 2011) and Michael Crabtree (Texas Tech, 2006 and 2007) each won twice. Of those players, only one was a consensus five-star prospect, Calvin Johnson in 2006.
There were just as many players that started as walk-ons (Mike Hass, Oregon State, 2005), were unrated (Braylon Edwards, Michigan, 2004) and were two-star recruits (Dede Westbrook, Oklahoma, 2016).
The Biletnikoff Award also doesn’t seem to be too heavily swayed by a team’s success. There isn’t a single winner that also won a National Championship that season. Mostly, it’s about putting up yards and competing at a high level.
With Kenny Pickett likely to be throwing Jacques-Louis the ball for quite some time, there’s a certainly a possibility of that happening. Pickett helped recruit Jacques-Louis to Pitt and the two have already gotten together in Pittsburgh to throw the ball around.
The other limitation will be the number of times Pitt is willing to throw the ball, something the Panthers haven’t always done under Pat Narduzzi. But Jacques-Louis feels confident that he can be a big part of the passing game.
“This offense is amazing,” he said. “They’re going to be moving me all over the place. In high school, I was stuck to a generic spot because we didn’t have a well-armed quarterback. But now that I’m at college, everybody has a quarterback, sot they do a good job of moving me around to make sure that I could get the ball.”
It remains to be seen if Jacques-Louis will be able to accomplish his lofty goals at Pitt, but it appears that he has all the tools necessary.