The Virginia Tech Hokies started playing football in 1892 and joined the SoCon in 1922. When 1964 rolled around, they became an Independent before playing in the Big East and ACC. In total, the Hokies have played college football for 123 years.
Why do I bring this up? Because it has taken 123 years for the Hokies, who have 10 conference titles, eight All-Americans, and 712 total wins, to generate a 1,000-yard receiver. In 2015, Isaiah Ford became the first 1,000-yard receiver in Virginia Tech's history.
The Georgia State Panthers on the other hand have had no issues producing 1,000-yard receivers. They have been playing since 2010 and in the FBS for the past three seasons. In those three seasons in FBS play, the Panthers have had two receivers produce 1,000 yards or better in one season.
Albert Wilson is likely best known for his return touchdown against Alabama in their inaugural season (2010), but after four seasons playing for the Panthers, Wilson is also the best receiver in the school's history. During his final season, Wilson caught 71 passes for 1,177 yards and eight touchdowns, becoming their first 1,000-yard receiver.
This past season we witnessed Penny Hart also record 1,000 yards through the air, but he did it as a true freshman. Even with talented and experienced receivers in Robert Davis and Donovan Harden around him, Hart still managed a standout season.
In fact, he now has himself some hardware he can show off to go along with these statistics. He was named the Sun Belt Freshman of the Year, a Freshman All-American by FWAA and 247 Sports, and made the All-Sun Belt Conference First Team.
With these kinds of accolades so early in Hart's career, how excited should we get? Was his 72/1,109/8 season that great? Well, I took to Sports Reference's CFB database to find out.
I singled out every single 70/1,000/5 season from 2000-2015 and combed through the entire list of 374 occurrences to find those that accomplished this feat as a freshman (redshirts included). Click here for full list of results.
Penny Hart's 2015 season ranks as the 20th best freshman season for a receiver since 2000 and the fourth best freshman season in 2015.
The names ahead of him on this list are incredible. Being 20th place to guys like Michael Crabtree, Antonio Brown, Sammy Watkins, Jeremy Maclin and others is nothing to be ashamed about. When it came to yards per catch, Hart's 15.4 yards per catch ranked sixth of all receivers on this list.
Offensive schemes have evolved since 2000 and certainly since the early 1900s, but accomplishing this feat is no small task. This past season, there were 128 FBS teams, yet only 32 players produced the stat line of 70/1,000/5 or better. Of those 32 players, just four were freshman.
Penny Hart had himself one heck of a freshman campaign, there's no doubt about that. It's this kind of production at the age of just 19 that makes you feel a little bit better about how the offense will look this upcoming season for the Panthers.