By Adam Gibson | Sports Writer
After yet another great performance against Kansas State on Oct. 6, Baylor football senior wide receiver Jalen Hurd was added to the 2018 Biletnikoff Award watch list Wednesday, joining junior wide receiver Denzel Mims in the race for the award. The honor is presented annually by the Tallahassee Quarterback Club Foundation to the season’s most outstanding college football receiver.
Hurd is a transfer from Tennessee where he was a running back for three years. While his official position is now receiver, Hurd has contributed to the Baylor offense in both roles this year. Through six games this season, Hurd has 19 rushing attempts for 99 yards along with two touchdowns; 56 of those yards and one of those touchdowns came from this past weekend. He now has back to back weeks with a rushing touchdown.
When it comes to receiving, Hurd leads the Big 12 in the number of receptions and comes in at number 11 in the country with 42. He has compiled 550 yards from those receptions and has three games with over 100 receiving yards. Hurd said even though he has been a huge target for defenses because of how much he gets the ball, he also contributes to the game through different aspects to help his teammates perform better.
“I enjoy contact. I like to play the game, the whole game,” Hurd said. “I don’t like just catching or stuff when you’re in the spotlight. I like throwing a block for my teammates and doing stuff to help the team.”
Head coach Matt Rhule said Hurd’s versatility in moving around from the back field to wide out has contributed to the Bears’ success on getting first downs and moving down the field.
“I think we are leading the Big 12 in first downs,” Rhule said. “We had 30 first downs against Oklahoma and 38 against Kansas State on Saturday. That is a credit to our receivers making plays and helping us move the chains … Putting Jalen [Hurd] in the backfield in short yardage has really helped us out.”
Hurd also set a career-high with 11 total receptions against Kansas State. His first 100-yard receiving game set a new career high at UTSA with 136 yards in only the second game of the season.
Not only is he making a name for himself this year, he is also toward the top of many career leaders lists, including ninth among active Football Bowl Subdivision players with 3,792 all-purpose yards in his career. He also ranks fifth with 608 career rushing attempts and 14th with 2,737 rushing yards. His 31 career touchdowns puts him at 11th on the list among all active players in FBS.
Mims, unlike Hurd, has played solely at receiver but has nonetheless proved how valuable he is to the Baylor offense. Last season, he averaged 90.1 yards receiving per game and had over 1,000 yards on the season. So far, he has only played in five games this season after missing the Duke game, but still has 32 receptions for 449 yards and three touchdowns. With two games of over 100 yards receiving, Mims has become one of the more reliable targets for sophomore quarterback Charlie Brewer.
Hurd said the wealth is shared among the receiving group because of how much they want each other to succeed.
We are the most unselfish receiving wide receiving core in the country. I guarantee it,” Hurd said. “If you just look at the way we block and how we play, we’re different than anybody in the country … We like to hang our hat on that.
If either Hurd or Mims wins the Biletnikoff Award, they would become the second recipient of the award in school history, joining Corey Coleman who received the honor in 2015.