You didn’t see Miami’s Gage Larvadain coming in 2023, that’s okay, neither did I. Here’s a chance to redeem ourselves with Bowling Green’s latest transfer.

Purple rain, purple rain, purple rain…

– Prince, musician

Who saw Miami of Ohio’s Gage Larvadain coming last year? Am I right? Certainly not me, and I suspect not you either. Although MAC superstars popping up out of nowhere is not unprecedented (in fact, this is more so the norm), the archetype of Larvadain (an FCS WR coming up to the MAC) is not the typical archetype that dominates the MAC. The type of profile—at least recently—that does really well in the MAC is P5 drop-downs.

In 2022, four out of the top five receiving leaders were former P5 dropdowns (the sole exception being Devontez Walker, who ironically turned out to be the best of all of them). Louis and Adams came down from Pitt and Penn St. respectively. Sam Wiglusz was a former walk-on at Ohio State. Justin Marshall spent his first five seasons trying to crack Louisville’s lineup.

2022 MAC receiving leaders. Source: ESPN

All that to say, you want to pay attention to these formerly unknown P5 entities who are dropping down the ranks—they might just find their way onto your rosters by mid-September. But if we already know in advance some names to keep in mind, all the better, right?

That’s why I flagged Kansas State’s recent transfer, RJ Garcia, who has dropped down to the MAC, choosing the illustrious Bowling Green Falcons (BGSU) as his next home. BGSU has a long and prosperous history in the MAC and was producing multiple 1,000-yard receivers not that long ago under former OC Sean Lewis. True, it’s been a little while, but then—MAC superstars come out of nowhere almost habitually. It’s in their nature.

Coaching & System

WR1 PPG AVERAGE (.5 PPR) — HC: 8.3 — OC: 9.27

While it’s true that BGSU hasn’t had a 1,000-yard receiver since… well, the year right before head coach Scott Loeffler took over. Scott Miller was the last Falcon to do it in 2018 when he caught 71 passes for 1,148 yards. 

Since Loeffler’s been in charge, not only has there not been a 1,000-yard receiver, but in three out of the last five seasons, the TE has led the Falcons in receiving yards (2023, 2020, 2019). 

His two co-OCs are in the same boat—by virtue of the fact that they’ve only ever called plays at the collegiate level under Loeffler. Greg Nosal is one of those co-OCs; he was promoted from TEs coach in 2022. Max Werner is the other, who was promoted from QBs coach in 2022. 

Loeffler’s Boston College teams (2016-2018) didn’t have one either, and there was yet again a pesky season where the TE led the team in receiving. In fact, we have to go back all the way to 2015 to find the last one under coach Loeffler— Virginia Tech’s Isaiah Ford did it with over 1,160 yards on 75 receptions and 11 scores. 

In fact, his offenses have typically been more run-heavy, producing multiple 1,000-yard runners over the covered time span. That doesn’t really help us here, though. But, the MAC has a long history of producing WRs from non-traditional systems. I think this is due to the overall lower level of play, creating an environment where P5 transfers are often so far ahead of everyone else in terms of ability that coaches have no choice but to feature them.

Oh and in case you’re wondering about the picture, yes, Loeffler was the QBs coach at Florida in 2009 when Tim Tebow was there.

RJ Garcia (6’1″, 170) — 2023 STATS: 14-184-1

Garcia began his CFB career in the 2021 class for Kansas State. A former three star prospect out of Tampa Bay, he appears in only three games his freshman season, finishing with one catch on two targets.

As is usually the case, his second season was better (though not by much). In 2022, he caught seven of his 10 targets for 70 yards and one score (1.4 PPG).

This past season, he continued his (albeit slow) ascent up the production ladder, catching 14 of his 15 targets for 184 yards and one score (3.2 PPG).

OK, so his production won’t blow you away. But given the history of success of that profile, whenever a P4 player drops down all the way to the MAC, they are worth some consideration at the very least. 

Garcia is currently undrafted, according to Campus2Canton’s ADP calculator.

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