By Luke Wiggs, Panhandle News Network Sports
Martinsburg, W,Va- Our hiatus coverage continues with the boys out wide. Shepherd has been the home to many quality signal callers (a hint to our next article) and with them some stalwart men to catch the football, these five in particular.
5. Dylan Brewer 2019: 1234 Receiving Yards, 9 Touchdowns
Starting this list off with a Martinsburg Bulldog just feels right. His quarterback (fellow Bulldog Tyson Bagent) seemed to think so too, completing 29% of his passes to Brewer that season. The grad student’s performance came as a surprise as over his first 4 seasons as a Ram he had caught just 2 total passes. Brewer eclipsed 100 yards as a wideout in 6 of the 13 games that season highlighted by a 164-yard effort against Clarion, his 61-yard touchdown reception in a 1-play drive in the first quarter kickstarted the Rams offense.
4. CJ Davis 2016: 1235 Receiving Yards, 9 Touchdowns
To tell CJ Davis in 2015 that he’d be on this list would surely come as a surprise. Not because he wouldn’t think he’d be good enough, but at the time he wasn’t even playing wide receiver. The Hagerstown native began his college football career as a defensive back, and a good one at that, winning conference recognition as both a DB and kick returner.
Davis was a member of the 2015 national runner-up team and returned the following season with a vengeance. Davis teamed up with Billy Brown (hint hint) and Jeff Ziemba at quarterback to have one of Shepherd’s best offensive seasons and best records (13-1).
Davis also finished his career with 2,407 kick and 808 punt return yards putting him right up there with James Rooths as the best to ever do it, not only for Shepherd, but college football in general. Now playing overseas, Davis is still excelling at a high level.
3. Billy Brown 2015: 1492 Receiving Yards, 10 Touchdowns
More to follow on Brown, who, along with Ziemba and Davis, propelled Shepherd into the national spotlight with a couple of deep playoff runs.
2. Billy Brown 2016: 1580 Receiving Yards, 22 Touchdowns
Brown may go down as one of the most physically dominant players in program history. The 6’4 240 pound pass catcher played tight end in the NFL after college (winning a championship while on the practice squad for the Eagles during the 2017 season). Brown’s season finished with him setting the single-season record for yards, touchdowns, and receptions (99), and was 2nd in the nation in those categories
The all-American caught at least 5 passes in all but 2 games that year and stole the show in week 4 against Notre Dame hauling in 9 passes for 209 yards and 2 touchdowns, one from 61 yards out and the other from 73.
**note** I wanted to include Jason Dirting on this list but could not find enough information
1. Rob Bradford 1986: 1121 Receiving Yards, 9 touchdowns
Bradford’s receiving record stood for 50 years before he was bested by Davis and Brown. Ram quarterback John Flemming completed just 99 passes that season, 51 of which were pulled in by Bradford. The 2-time WVIAC Champion was putting up air raid numbers in a year where Dionne Warwick’s “That’s what friends are For” was the song of the year.