I live, I die. I LIVE AGAIN!

– Nux, Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)


Pigs, welcome back. The young man I’m featuring today hails from the deserts of central California—forged from the fires of Valhalla—otherwise known as the Sacramento Valley. An unranked recruit coming out of high school, he was labeled as an ‘all-purpose back’ and eventually found himself playing WR for the JuCo program City College of San Francisco (CCSF) Rams.

Unfortunately, he did not play in his first season with the Rams, but this past year—his second with the program—he rode eternal, glistening shiny and chrome across the JuCo Coast ConferenceMad Max’ Rodarte is his name, and it may interest the reader to know that he recently transferred to the Ohio Bobcats of the Mid-American Conference (MAC) this offseason.

Ohio, a program that is seeking to replace the production of WRs Sam WigluszMiles Cross, Jacoby Jones, and Tyler Walton, is in need of some options out wide. While they will be working in a new(ish) QB in Parker Navarro, this situation could shape up to be a very nice landing spot for our friend Rodarte this fall.


An Opportunity to Step in Immediately

Max Rodarte (6’0, 185) — 2023 STATS: 45-790-9 (nine games)

Every year, we witness players seemingly coming out of nowhere to dominate the MAC, especially at WR, and I suspect 2024 will be no different. In fact, if you looked at the leading receivers in the MAC over the last handful of seasons, many of them were imports from elsewhere (albeit mostly P5s transferring down a level in search of playing time rather than JuCos coming up).

Indeed, Ohio’s lead receiver last year—Sam Wiglusz, himself fits that description, transferring down from Ohio State a few offseasons ago.

Rodarte finished this past JuCo season with 45 receptions for 790 yards and nine scores in nine games for the Rams. For his efforts, he was recognized as an All-Conference and All-Region First Team selection. 

He transferred in the offseason to Ohio University, where he will likely compete for a starting role this fall. As it happens, the Bobcats will be replacing 231(!) targets, 148 receptions, 1,773 yards, and ten receiving scores via the four aforementioned outgoing receivers.

That’s a lot of production vacating the roster. However, Rodarte won’t be the only one seeking to offload those vacated numbers. Coleman Owen, an FCS transfer from Northern Arizona, also comes into the WR room with a productive profile. In 2023, Owen received 54 passes for 649 yards and five scores. The year prior, he received 62 passes for 703 yards and four scores.

Owen has more of a slot receiver build compared to Rodarte, but he could probably do either in the MAC.

Jacoby Jones was the leading returning receiver for the Bobcats before entering the portal in April. Jones, a former JuCo transfer himself, is coming off a season where he played in only three games due to injury. He caught eight of his ten targets for 147 yards and zero scores (7.6 PPG). Jones had sort of a breakout season in 2022, however, when he caught 45 of his 61 targets for 776 yards and six scores (11.5 PPG) for the Bobcats. 

Beyond Owen and Rodarte, Charles Ross also comes in by way of San Jose State. Ross caught 26 passes last year for 347 yards and a score. He spent the previous three seasons at SJSU after beginning his career at Nevada in 2020.

So when I say this WR room is wide open, it really is wide open. 


Coaching & System

WR1 PPG AVERAGE — HC: 11.44 — OC: 11.61

Would you believe it if I told you that head coach Tim Albin’s been with the program since 2005(!)? It’s true. He began coaching RBs for the Bobcats and also served as the OC from 2005 to 2018. In 2019, he was promoted to associate head coach, retaining his previous two titles as well, and in 2021, he was promoted again to head coach. Indeed, he’s a Bobcat man, this one.

Like many programs these days, the Cats have two OCs. The primary coordinator, Scott Isphording, has been with the Cats since 2014. He joined the program as the QBs coach and served as such until 2021 when he was promoted to OC. The other OC, Allen Rudolph, has been with the program since 2019, joining as the OL coach. In 2021, he was promoted to co-OC, retaining his previous title as well. 

The OC’s PPG average quoted above is from Rudolph’s since Isphording’s was exactly the same as Albin’s, though the overall averages are pretty much identical.

From a production standpoint, Sam Wiglusz led the way for the Cats the last two seasons. His numbers in 2023 took a step back from his breakout season in 2022, finishing with 56 receptions for 660 yards and three scores. In 2022, he caught 73 passes for 877 yards and 11 scores. He was particularly strong during the MACtion portion of the schedule. 

Overall, though, this is not a program that has had a lot of individuals receiving success under Albin. In his 19 seasons with the Cats, there have only been two 1,000-yard receivers (2011 and 2013). Papi White (yes, that is his name) recently had a strong season in 2018, receiving 62 passes for 987 yards and nine scores, and then there’s Wiglusz’ 2022 year, which we looked at already, but this is certainly not a staff or system that I would mark down under the ‘avid pig farmer’ list. 

The QB play is also worrisome. With the Maple Missile, Kurtis Rourke, moving to Curt Cignetti’s Indiana program, the Cats are left in the unenviable position of (likely) having to rely on Parker Navarro at QB. 

Navarro began his career with UCF in 2020 and has bounced around since then, failing to secure a starting role. He had an okay game vs. Georgia Southern in Ohio’s Bowl Game, throwing over 100 yards and two scores and rushing 16 times for 71 yards.


Closing

The MAC is probably the most difficult conference to obtain information from, which is saying something in college football. As such, there is always more inherent risk when assessing their players from a CFF perspective. 

Furthermore, I would conjecture that the transfer portal has wreaked the most havoc on the MAC as a conference, and that may be impacting the output numbers we’ve been seeing over the last two seasons or so. 

The other issue is that with MAC players, you basically have to eat an ‘L’ for the month of September while they get through their out-of-conference schedules. For the Bobcats, that includes Syracuse, South Alabama, Morgan State, and Kentucky. Morgan State might be the only one where a Bobcat player is playable out of that slate.

But, there are a lot of vacated touches here, and a player who is joining with a productive profile from a few levels down. I think the formula here is at least worth a late dart throw in Bestball formats or very deep standard leagues.

Like what you see? Good news, you can find more articles like this over here: VolumePigs

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