Ask anyone around the Ball State football program and they will tell you that though it’s QBs that grab the headlines, some of the most successful seasons in Cardinal history had one thing in common: an outstanding pass catcher. Whether it was Dante Love, Darius Hill, Briggs Orsbon, Willie Snead, Jamill Smith, or Jordan Williams for the last few years, Cardinal receivers and tight ends have been the steadiest thing on the roster.
This season finds the Cardinals looking to KeVonn Mabon both to fill the role as WR1 and continue the legacy of BSU pass catchers, but also needing to fill the shoes of Jordan Williams, lost to graduation after leading Ball State in receiving yards and receiving TDs the prior two seasons. Throw in a new head coach and a sophomore QB with his first game one starting job, and consistency for these Cardinals is a critical need this year, more so than usual, and something Mabon has to bring to the table to be successful.
MAC Player Countdown #18: KeVonn Mabon, WR, Ball State
The senior from St. Louis, MO steps into the top spot of the depth chart with a successful backstory, and collected the team respect and awards to prove it. Already named a 2016 team captain, Mabon has both the experience and the
Statistically, Mabon has stuffed the stat sheet since his arrival. After a medical redshirt in 2013, he went on in 2014 to lead the team in receiving yards, receiving touchdowns, and receiving yards per game. 2015 saw him finish second to Williams in receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns. Both ‘14 and ‘15 garnered an All-MAC Third Team Selection.
Why a Top 25 MACthlete?
Mabon is a sure-handed receiver capable of both separation from defenders and catching in traffic. For the MAC, that’s a valuable commodity. Though he’s replacing Jordan Williams who was a ladder climber and a tall target for whomever was taking the snaps for Ball State, Mabon provides a deep threat capable of taking the top of the defense at any moment. With a deep threat like Mabon, it makes long rushes possible as the safeties need to be more concerned with him than the running backs busting through the front seven.
Let him catch fire and you’re in for a rough day at the office on the defensive side of the ball, as Ohio found out last season when he rattled off 312 all-purpose yards, good for the 10th highest total of any FBS player in 2015. Mabon also provides a tangible threat in special teams, as he returned the first kickoff for a Ball State TD since 2010 last season against Central Michigan. As WR1, he may cede those duties to someone else, but the fan in me hopes he doesn’t.
The offense for Ball State this year is a great unknown with Riley Neal at the helm, Joey Lynch still in the box, and Mike Neu ultimately signing off on the strategy and the gameplan. I don’t think it’s a big leap to assume an uptick in offensive production, especially the passing game, which should benefit Mabon tremendously.
Mabon enters his senior season with 1890 career receiving yards, good for 10th all-time for Ball State. Number one on the list is Dante Ridgeway with 3030, meaning if Mabon averages 95 yards per game over the 12 game regular season he’ll leave the program as the number on all-time receiving yards leader.
Video Proof of Awesomeness:
Ball State and KeVonn Mabon open their 2016 campaign September 2nd at 7pm on the road against Georgia State.