Can he do it on a cold, wet night in Kalamazoo, Michigan?

– Anonymous

One of the first conditions I filter for when circling WRs to keep an eye on in the offseason is the 100-target threshold. There’s nothing specific about the number 100, other than the quantity itself is a rare feat for WRs to achieve, and the number 100 is a good solid number to land on. I suppose I could filter for 97, or 95 as well, but it just doesn’t look quite right.

Furthermore, ‘100-target man’ just sounds cool. More importantly, it’s a good indicator of a potential volume pig in the next season, as that player was already a designated pig in the offence. Contrary to popular belief, meeting the previous condition alone is not enough to determine whether the player in question is going to be #PIG’d again, but it’s a logical place to start when conducting our offseason research.

Today’s player is a member of that 100-target club: Western Michigan’s Kenneth Womack. KW’s an intriguing character. His collegiate background actually started as a basketball player at the division II school Sacred Heart. Somewhere down the line he decided he’d rather play the man’s game, and he converted to being a football player exclusively. 

Those who have been playing CFF for the last three or so seasons will also recall that the WMU Broncos WR room has been a nice little pipeline to the NFL, with names like Skyy Moore and DeWayne Eskridge coming out recently. However, those players played under a different staff.

Last offseason, WMU welcomed in its latest head coach— Lance Taylor, by way of Louisville. Taylor himself introduced a staff shake-up this offseason, replacing his offensive coordinator with a man named Walt Bell. So what do the pig farming patterns say about WMU’s latest regime? Let’s take a look.

Coaching & System

The aforementioned Lance Taylor joined the program as head coach in the 2023 offseason. Previously, he spent one season at Louisville as offensive coordinator, and three at Notre Dame as the RBs coach and Run Game Coordinator (2019-21).

Prior to his stint in South Bend, Taylor was the WRs coach of the Carolina Panthers of the NFL (2017-18). However, he is most famously known as the RBs coach during Christian McCaffrey’s run at Stanford (2014-2016).

Taylor’s latest hire— Walt Bell, joins the program as the OC and QBs coach. He comes over from Indiana, where he served in the same role for the last two seasons (2022-23). Before that he was the head coach of UMass (2019-21), the OC of Florida State (2018), Maryland (2016-17) and Arkansas State (2014-15).

Looking at the receiving patterns of each coach, let’s start with Taylor, and I suppose the logical place to start is his WMU offence from this past season. Womack led the team in receiving with 76 receptions (110 targets) for 691 yards and one score in 12 games (12.6 PPG in 1PPR formats).

Notably, Taylor’s Broncos began the season moving at a very fast pace on offense. They slowed somewhat toward the latter stages of the year, finishing 20th in the FBS in seconds per play and 28th in plays run per game with 73.5. This is an important thing to keep in mind, as Taylor was vocal last offseason that he wanted to move fast on offense. That is to say, the torrid pace of the Bronco’s offense in 2023 wasn’t by accident but rather a deliberate design of the offensive philosophy.

During Taylor’s first and only season with Louisville, Tyler Hudson received 69 passes for 1,034 yards and two scores. As mentioned previously, Taylor had McCaffrey during his time at Stanford and coincidentally also had CMaC when he joined the NFL. As the Panthers’ WRs coach, I doubt Taylor had much to do with the patterns on the offense, but for context, the leading receiver in those two seasons was a TE (2017) and CMaC (2018).

As for Bell, his Indiana Hoosier offense in 2023 did not feature a 1,000-yard receiver, but it did provide some decent value through Donaven McCulley, who received 48 passes (70 targets) for 644 yards and six scores over 12 games (12.9 PPG).

It was Bell’s 2022 season that caught my eye. Cam Camper, despite playing in only seven games, accumulated 569 yards and two scores on 46 receptions (83 targets), which accounted for just over 16 PPG. That season featured a 19(!) target game for Camper when the Hoosiers played Cincinnati and an 18(!) target game vs. Illinois. Those are the type of target numbers that raise alarm bells. I wouldn’t say Bell is a pig farmer yet, given his body of work, but he’s threatening to join this distinct group.

Part of the reason Bell simply cannot be given any kudos as a pig farmer is that his overall body of work is very inconsistent. During his time at UMass, his leading receiver’s highest yard total was 461 yards. Yikes.

His one season at FSU was better, with Tamorrian Terry leading the way with 35 receptions for 744 yards and eight scores. 

Ironically, Bell actually coached one of Lance Taylor’s NFL WRs in college— Maryland’s DJ Moore led the Terrapins in receiving in both 2016 and 2017. Moore’s 2017 season was his best, catching 80 passes for 1,033 yards and eight scores. Given how many passes he caught, he likely was targeted over 100 times that season.

Bell’s two seasons at Arkansas State did not feature a 1,000-yard receiver but did notably feature 1,000-yard rushers in both seasons.

As I said, Bell’s background is certainly enigmatic. However, there are enough glimpses of pig farming amongst the confusion here to get excited about. Lucky for us, there won’t be any confusion about who the lead receiver is for WMU headed into the 2024 season.

Kenneth Womack — 5’11″, 180 lbs.

Womack began his collegiate athletics career as a dual sport standout at Div. II school Sacred Heart. As we know, he eventually converted to football full-time, and it would appear that that was a sound decision for KW. In his final year with the Pioneers, he received over 721 yards in 11 games, scoring three times.

In the 2023 offseason, the Maryland native made the move to the MAC, signing with Taylor’s WMU squad. His first season was a success, finishing with a team-high 76 receptions and 691 yards. His scoring was curiously low (only one TD), but that could be more a matter of sheer tough luck than anything else.

His background and the system here make this profile intriguing. The primary concern is the quarterback’s play. WMU struggled with this position last year, and with… Hayden Wolff as the presumed starter for 2024, I fear the quarterback’s play may not be much better.

Even still, with the poor offensive output, KW managed to salvage a solid season, averaging 12.6 PPG. And the new OC could breathe some life into the system. Combine those facts with the reasonable notion that Taylor’s program could make a leap in year two—continuing to move at a fast pace—and you could see a boon in value here with KW.

His current ADP is 191.5, according to Campus2Canton, or about the 15th/16th round in drafts. 

Interested in more content like this? I have good news: there’s an obscene amount over here: VolumePigs.

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