North Carolina WR Josh Downs on pace to break program's single-season receiving record
North Carolina receiver Josh Downs is on pace to make history.
Downs enters Week 9 with 837 receiving yards on the year — just 10 fewer than the ACC’s leader, Dontayvion Wicks, despite playing in one fewer game so far.
His average of 119.6 yards per contest puts him well above pace to break North Carolina’s single season receiving yardage mark, which was set in 2008 by Hakeem Nicks.
Nicks posted remarkable numbers in 2008, catching 68 passes for 1,222 yards and 13 touchdowns. Downs has a chance to best all of those marks by season’s end. He already has 60 catches and 8 touchdowns to go with his 837 yards.
Assuming North Carolina qualifies for a bowl and plays a 13th game, Downs is on pace for a staggering 1,555 receiving yards this season. That would put him second all-time amongst ACC receivers, trailing only Torry Holt’s 1998 season (1,604 yards) for North Carolina State.
Downs is averaging 14 yards per reception, but he’s been one of the nation’s most productive deep threats this season. According to Pro Football Focus, he leads all Power 5 players in touchdown catches of 30 yards or more.
Most receiving TDs of 30+ yards among Power 5 players:
🔹Josh Downs – 6
🔹Chris Olave – 5 pic.twitter.com/amOFKC3Kxo
— PFF College (@PFF_College) October 21, 2021
North Carolina has a tough schedule ahead, including three games vs. ranked opponents. However, only Pittsburgh ranks in the top 50 nationally for passing defense. That should give Downs — and quarterback Sam Howell — plenty of opportunity to make a run at a record-breaking season.
Downs and the Tar Heels will be in action again on Saturday at Notre Dame. Kick off is at 7:30 p.m. ET.