Mister Elias De’Angelo Philyor is putting together a big 2019 season.
You might even call it a whopper of a junior campaign.
Of course Mister Elias De’Angelo is the IU wide receiver known as Whop, and the Tampa, Florida product set a school record on Saturday against Rutgers.
Philyor’s 24 receptions over his last two games are more than any Hoosier pass catcher in any two consecutive games. That two game stretch suddenly puts some long standing IU season records in play, and Philyor might have a better chance to reach them than even what his year to date totals suggest.
The 5-foot-11 and 178 pound Philyor’s hot start to the 2019 season has to be examined on a game-by-game basis to fully appreciate what is going on here.
With 41 catches for 553 yards through six games, Philyor is on pace for 82 catches and 1,106 yards over a full 12 game season if you simply double his numbers. Of course if IU were to play in a bowl game that season long projection would go up.
But there is a nuance in Philyor’s 2019 numbers.
By now you likely know that Philyor’s parents began calling him Whop because of his love for Burger King’s Whoppers. Today there might be a new love in his life.
Basically, when fellow Tampa product Michael Penix is playing quarterback, Philyor goes from Whop to The King himself.
Penix missed two games with a throwing shoulder injury, and Philyor had just seven catches for 88 yards in those contests. That leaves 34 catches for 465 yards in games where Penix was the quarterback.
Of course Penix and Philyor have a good chemistry on the field, but head coach Tom Allen also credits attention to detail as a factor in the pair’s success.
“Mike does a really good job of getting the ball out in front of him so that when he catches it he’s moving and running away from the defenders,” Allen said.
If you extrapolate Philyor’s per game averages with Penix as the starter over an entire season, he would have 102 receptions for 1,395 yards. And even those numbers ignore the fact that Penix missed more than half of the Eastern Illinois game. Three of Philyor’s four catches in that game came before Penix left in the second quarter.
The point here is that simply doubling Philyor’s current numbers to project his season totals may not be enough.
But even if you do just double his season to date stats, Philyor is on pace to break James Hardy’s 2007 single season reception record of 79.
Ernie Jones’ 1987 receiving yards in a season record of 1,265 would hold up if you simply double the numbers.
But if you Penix-effect Philyor’s yards the rest of the way you get 1,250. Clearly this could get interesting down the stretch.
Already at 97 career receptions and 1,123 yards, the junior receiver could threaten Hardy’s career record totals of 191 receptions and 2,740 yards as well.
Perhaps he didn’t know that this kind of production was possible, but Philyor’s head coach has seen the potential for years.
Philyor was high school teammates with Tom Allen’s son Thomas, and the Hoosier head coach sees the same intangibles in his star receiver now that he saw at the prep level.
“The energy that he had back then (in high school), it hasn’t changed at all,” Allen said. “He just goes and goes and goes. He always just made plays back then and he just continues to do that.”
Philyor was limited to just seven games in 2018 due to injuries, and Allen saw his wide receiver transfer his energy to his recovery and getting himself fully ready for the current campaign.
“It hurt us last year losing him,” Allen said. “But just to be able to see him rewarded for having a great offseason. He came into fall camp as big as he’s ever been and as fast as he’s ever been.
Philyor’s energy and contributions don’t stop when a run play is called or a pass is headed elsewhere.
Despite the big numbers, this is no diva wide receiver situation.
“He’s blocking his tail off,” Allen said. “Whether it’s in the run game or the perimeter game. And he’s not very big. But there’s a toughness to him and a competitive spirit. He just wants to win and he just wants to help this program do great things.”
Philyor wants to help the program do great things, and along the way he appears to be destined for a host of individual achievements as well.
It could be a record setting, whopper of a season.
Especially if Michael Penix is Whop’s quarterback.
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