Jeff Samardzija started off with an 80-yard bang and made some big catches during the final game-winning drive against Stanford and now is up for ABC Sports All-America Player of the Week honors as well as being awarded a "game ball" by the Master Coaches Survey. If he wins the Player of the Week award, he'll join 2-time winner Brady Quinn and Tom Zbikowski as ND's third winner of this particular award.
Below I figured that Hass seemd the most likely candidate for the Biletnikoff Award, but I really think that Samardzija has a legitimate shot now. I updated the table with Jeff's up-to-date numbers. The biggest thing in my mind is that Samardzija brought his yards/catch average up an entire yard and is very near Hass' average now.
|Wide Receiver ||Games ||Catches ||Yards ||TDs ||Yds/Catch ||Yds/Game ||Misc. |
|Mike Hass ||11 ||90 ||1532 ||6 ||17.02 ||139.27||1st 3-time Pac-10 1,000 WR |
|Dwayne Jarrett ||11 ||75||1070 ||14 ||14.27 ||99.90 ||Has one game remaining |
|Jeff Samardzija ||11 ||71 ||1190 ||15 ||16.80 ||108.2 ||Leads nation in TD catches |
I don't think that Jarrett will win unless he has some sort of highlight worthy game-winning catch against UCLA. He's only a sophomore which I'm sure will keep some voters from picking him, as will the thought, factual or not, that Jarrett faces defenses more concerned with containing Reggie Bush. In the battle between Hass and Samardzija, Hass has the edge in most of the stats and the better personal story as the former walk-on turned All-American caliber player, but Samardzija has joined Brady Quinn as a poster boy for the resurgence of the Irish program.
So, while I was leaning towards conceding the award to Hass just a few days ago, I've flip-flopped and now think that Samardzija should be the front runner. Hass's yardage production is impressive, but the big hit in my mind is the fact that Samardzija has 2.5 times more touchdowns than the receiver from Oregon State. While Jeff was catching 2 touchdown passes in a closer than expected victory necessary for a spot in the BCS, Hass failed to catch a touchdown in the Beavers' final four games (they went 1-3) as they ended the season one win shy of bowl eligibility.