Player Spotlight: Laviska Shenault Jr. - NinosCorner Sports | Efficient Sports Analytics...Successful, Relevant Data

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Player Spotlight: Laviska Shenault Jr.

Player Spotlight:  Laviska Shenault Jr.
by Nicholas "NinosCorner" Battle
Laviska Shenault Jr is one of the more reliable pass receivers in college football. At 6’2” and 220 pounds, he is a big-bodied, physical receiver whose game will definitely translate to the next level.

Shenault Jr finished the 2018 season with an 81% catch percentage. To put this into perspective, Tyler Lockett compiled the same catch percentage and finished second to only Saint's Wide Receiver Michael Thomas in the NFL for the subject category. Not only does Shenault Jr have extremely reliable hands, Colorado lines him up in the backfield as a “wildcat” quarterback as well, where he tallied 5 rushing touchdowns. His versatility as a runner is evident after he catches the ball.  Shenault Jr quickly transforms himself from a wide receiver to a bruising running back that is capable of absorbing incoming defenders.   

Shenault Jr’s 59.3 BattleStat Number (BSN) is consistent with NFL wide receivers Amari Cooper (60.1), Keenan Allen (59.2), and Corey Davis (56.6).  He has the physical running style of Allen, combined with the yards-after-catch “vision” of Davis.  However, he has speed similar to Cooper and Sammy Watkins, but with more physicality than both.

Shenault Jr racked up over 1,011 yards last season in only 9 games. He’s a true play-maker. Although he possesses great speed, especially for his size, I would love to see more NFL-caliber explosive plays from him (receptions of 20+ yards). His NFL explosive play rate at Colorado was 12.7% in 2018, which would have ranked him in the bottom 18 percentile of NFL wide receivers. I believe the lack of explosive plays is due to the offense he’s featured in; however, I still expect that number to rise during the 2019 season. 

For as good as he is in college, Shenault Jr may be a better fit for the pro game. He has the potential to be a 1st round draft pick if he remains consistent through this upcoming season. He will be a fun player to watch terrorize the PAC-12 this year.

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