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CFF Targets - Khaleb Hood: GaSo's WR2... or is he?
VP's assessment of GaSo's WRs
Just an old, sweet song
Keeps Georgia on my mind
- Ray Charles, musician
I’ll start this off by giving a shoutout to @CFFLists and @CFF_Jared, who brought me around on Hood with a simple question: why is Derwin Burgess the favoured commodity of the two Georgia Southern WRs amongst the CFF community?
I had to think about it, I think my initial inclination was that Burgess outscored him on a FPG basis and is younger. Yet, on further inspection, they received similar levels of target volume, with Burgess pulling away on TD production. Indeed, not all targets are made equal, and it could be a deliberate part of the offence to get Burgess more scoring opportunities—or it could just be coincidence. Either way, the doubt itself was enough to convince me to take a look, and think more intelligently about this offence.
My thoughts on the situation are populated throughout this article, (spoiler) I think both are really good CFF assets, but is one better than the other? Let’s take a look.
Coaching & System
This is going to be a longer section than usual and that’s a good thing. There is a lot to like with this staff from a CFF angle.
Head coach Clay Helton’s time at USC might have been unceremonious, but he had a phenomenal run of high-level producers at WR. Of the ten seasons he spent as either the OC or head coach, Helton’s Trojans had seven 1000-yard WRs, including two in 2019. Below is a list of USC’s 1000-yard receivers during Helton’s tenure, with the stats in order of receptions-yards-touchdowns.
Drake London — 88-1084-7 (2021)
Michael Pittman Jr. — 101-1275-11 (2019)
Amon Ra St. Brown — 77-1042-6 (2019)
Deontay Burnett — 86-1114-9 (2017)
JuJu Smith-Schuster — 70-914-10 (2016)*
JuJu Smith-Schuster — 89-1454-10 (2015)
Nelson Agholor — 104-1313-12 (2014)
Marquis Lee — 118-1721-14 (2012)
*I know JuJu didn’t quite reach 1K yards, but this was still a notable season for our purposes.
Before USC, the last time Helton called plays was with the Memphis Tigers from 2007 to 2009.
GaSo OC Bryan Ellis also brings a strong track record. He joined Helton on GaSo’s staff in 2022, after co-OCing the WKU Hilltoppers from 2019 to 2021.
The 2021 season is an infamous one among CFF circles, the WR1 of that team—Jerreth Sterns (VP alumnus), caught 150 passes for 1902 yards and 17 TDs. The WR2—Mitchell Tinsley, also surpassed the 1000-yard mark, with 87 catches for 1402 yards and 14 TDs. And before you give Kittley all the credit for those WKU WRs, Ellis had a 1000-yard WR in 2019—Lucky Jackson, caught 94 passes for 1133 yards and 4 TDs.
Regarding last season at GaSo, the Eagles did not have a 1000-yard WR, but Derwin Burgess was on track to get there prior to injury, finishing the year with 58 receptions (102 targets) for 717 yards and 7 TDs (17.3 FPG in 1-ppr).
Hood himself ended up leading the Eagles, with 87 receptions (132 targets) for 925 yards and 3 TDs (15 FPG).
Kyle Vantrease, former GaSo QB, attempted an absurd 604 passes in 13 games (~46/game). With former Tulsa QB Davis Brin joining the fold, there shouldn’t be much drop-off, if at all, from a passing efficiency standpoint.
WRs Khaleb Hood — 5’10, 180 & Derwin Burgess — 5’11, 185
I always try to keep an eye out for Georgia players in CFF, it’s a natural curiosity when you follow high school recruiting the way I do. In this case, both Hood and Burgess hail from the peach state. Unlike their neighbours to the north in Athens, the Eagles don’t quite have the same luxury to recruit national kids. The result is that you end up with a lot of good in-state players that are lower ranked due to physical defects which turned Power-Five (P5) programs away.
In Hood’s case, he’s a smaller player listed at 5’10 and 180lbs (so we know he’s really like… 5’8 and 165?). He’s a dangerous asset in this offence though, and that’s all we really care about in CFF.
In 2022, Hood averaged 15 FPG in 13 games, accumulating 87 receptions for 925 yards and 3 TDs on 132(!) targets. That’s an average of approximately 10 targets a game. That’s outstanding target volume.
Burgess, finished 2022 averaging 17.3 FPG, catching 58 passes for 717 yards and 7 TDs on 102 targets. Like Hood, he averaged around 10 targets a game.
Okay, so they are pretty comparable so far. One distinguishing factor between the two is that Hood was used more as a rusher in 2021, carrying the rock 13 times for 77 yards and a score. In 2022, neither were used much in that capacity, with Hood rushing twice for three yards, and Burgess rushing twice for 10 yards.
Burgess’ worst game was vs. Old Dominion (ODU), scoring only 1.9 points on two targets, one reception. His best performance came against P5 opponent Nebraska—scoring 23.9 points via 12 receptions (22!!!! targets) for 119 yards. That 22 target performance belongs in the VolumePigs hall of fame. It’s undoubtedly All-VP honours type shit.
Hood never scored less than 7.9 points, but he did score just 7.9 points twice (@Nebrasksa and @Buffalo). His best game of the season was vs. cross-state rival Georgia State, scoring 27.2 points via 11 receptions (14 targets) for 122 yards and a score.
Hood’s YPC average was 10.6, Burgess’ sat at 12.4, so there isn’t much discrepancy regarding the location of where each is targeted on the field. The 2021 season was different, though: Burgess averaged 18.3 YPC, Hood’s was 12.6. If one is targeted more downfield, that would in-part explain differences in TD production.
So, outside of the fact that Burgess scored more TDs last season, it’s hard for me to differentiate between the two. I will say that I generally like the younger option of scenarios like these more, I think Burgess is probably just a better player than Hood due to the fact that he played a lot as a freshman and then was WR1 in terms of FPG in his sophomore season (Hood didn’t really play until his fourth year of CFB—he’s class of 2018).
From an actual CFF-production standpoint, I don’t see much evidence to distinguish between the two. However, like I said above, on a tie-breaker I’ll roll with Burgess first. But what I will actually do in drafts is simply wait for someone else to select Burgess, and then pick Hood simply because he is cheaper while presenting the same face value.
Burgess’ ADP right now is 54.7, C2C’s ADP tool suggests it is climbing, however, as he was selected around 47.7 in May drafts.
Hood’s ADP at the moment hovers around 142.2, but like Burgess, this is climbing: 119.7 in May. There isn’t evidence to suggest that one should be selected 70+ slots ahead of the other, in my opinion. As long as there is a large discrepancy in the market valuation between the two, Hood is a steal of a draft pick. I think Burgess is appropriately drafted currently.
Here’s a chance for you to see how other VP readers see this situation:
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