No matter what else happens in the 2016 season, the one thing that’s just about certain is that we’re going to see some big numbers in the passing game. Each year he’s been a head coach, Dino Babers led teams have put up enormous stats, both at Eastern Illinois and Bowling Green. With an expectation of improved passing stats, there are certainly going to be some beneficiaries in the receiving corps – perhaps none bigger than Brisly Estime.
The 2015 All-ACC third team selection at punt returner was today named to the Paul Hornung Award watch list, which recognizes the top all-purpose players in the country. Estime was one of just 43 players to garner preseason recognition on the list. The 5-foot-9 senior was second in the country in punt return average last year, with 18.1 yards per return and two touchdowns, but it’s in the passing game where he could really emerge this season.
Estime, along with Erv Philips, are almost certain to be the top two slot receivers for the Orange in the upcoming campaign. With Estime’s speed and elusiveness, moving to the inside receiver position after working out wide for much of 2015 could be hugely beneficial, and lead to a highly productive season for the Florida native.
Last season at Bowling Green, Ronnie Moore and Ryan Burbrink were the top two inside receivers for the Falcons. While Roger Lewis and Gehrig Dieter garnered the headlines with the gaudy numbers they put up working outside, Moore and Burbrink still registered some impressive stats themselves. The 5-foot-9 Moore caught 72 passes for 954 yards and six touchdowns, and the 5-foot-8 Burbrink caught 56 passes for 627 yards and four scores.
In case you’re curious, yes, both of those players would have easily led the Orange in both receptions and receiving yards last year. Meanwhile, they were third and fourth, respectively, for Bowling Green. Last season, Estime was actually fifth on the team in receptions with 17, and second in receiving yards, with 293. If anyone’s numbers are due for a huge spike in this offense, it’s Brisly Estime.
Yes, obviously Steve Ishmael is going to be the go-to receiver, and Philips is likely to see his production skyrocket as well. But with his combination of speed (with a reported top 40 time of 4.36) and strength on his compact frame, Estime seems like the likeliest candidate for a surge in production, particularly if Eric Dungey stays healthy and puts up the kinds of numbers we’re all expecting.