Crabtree wins second Biletnikoff

December 11, 2008 · Print This Article


The moments before the Biletnikoff Award winner was announced might have been the least suspenseful of any during the ESPN college football awards show.

Who else but defending champion Mike Crabtree, hailed by some as the best wide receiver ever in college football, was going to win? But just like when he pushed himself during summer workouts, Crabtree took nothing for granted about the reward either.

Texas Tech’s star sophomore won the Biletnikoff Award again, the announcement coming Thursday night during the live telecast of ESPN’s annual college football awards show from Orlando, Fla.

“It’s a new year. It feels like a new award,’’ he said. “I had the same excitement as last year. It felt like I was surprised again.’’

On Wednesday, the Red Raiders were a bitter bunch. Tech quarterback Graham Harrell received the unexpected, unpleasant surprise of not being a finalist for the Heisman Trophy and not receiving the invitation to New York that goes along with that distinction.

Thursday was an improvement.

In addition to Crabtree getting the Biletnikoff, the Red Raiders had Crabtree and senior offensive tackle Rylan Reed named to the Walter Camp all-America team revealed during the show. Now four players off this year’s Tech offense have received first-team all-America recognition.

Crabtree, Harrell and junior offensive guard Brandon Carter were on the American Football Coaches Association all-America team released last week.

Harrell, Tech coach Mike Leach and wide receivers coach Dennis Simmons were in the crowd to see Crabtree collect his award and do an onstage interview with ESPN emcee Chris Fowler, but Harrell never got called up. Harrell was a finalist for three awards that went to other quarterbacks — the Walter Camp to Texas’ Colt McCoy, the Davey O’Brien to Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford and the Maxwell to Florida’s Tim Tebow.



“Graham, I feel sorry from him,’’ Crabtree said. “I think he should have won at least something. He worked as hard as I did this summer. There’s nothing we could do about it. I told him, ‘We’ve got to try to move forward, try to blow this next team out and prove that we’re better than people think.’’

That next game will come on Jan. 2 where Tech (11-1) takes on Mississippi (8-4) at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.
Harrell will be in Baltimore today for the presentation of the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award. He’s already won that honor, which goes to the top senior quarterback.
Oklahoma State’s Dez Bryant and Missouri’s Jeremy Maclin were the other Biletnikoff finalists, a group of three sophomores from the Big 12.

No freshman had ever won the Biletnikoff, which goes to the country’s top receiver, until Crabtree did so in 2007. No one had won it twice either. Whether Crabtree will make a run at a three-peat is up to him. He said he’ll decide after the Cotton Bowl whether to turn pro, contrary to what he said recently when he indicated he’d be returning to the Red Raiders.

“My plan is to tell y’all after the Cotton Bowl,” Crabtree said.

Already, his accomplishments are abundant: A two-year resume of more than 3,000 yards receiving and 40 touchdowns, lending credence to some opinions that he’s the college game’s all-time best at his position.

“It’s something I work for,’’ he said. “Everybody’s got their opinion. To prove it is another thing. I just feel blessed.’’

Taking nothing for granted is one explanation why Crabtree dodged a sophomore-year letdown. Though he didn’t post the same off-the-charts numbers as he did during his debut season, Crabtree still caught 93 passes and scored 18 touchdowns.

And he said it wasn’t always as easy as it looked.

“It was a little different, I’d say,’’ Crabtree said. “I’ve seen a lot of different coverages I didn’t see last year. Sometimes it looked like they were just making stuff up.’’

Harrell and Crabtree hooked up on one of college football’s most important plays of the season, a 28-yard touchdown pass with one second remaining to beat No. 1 Texas 39-33 on Nov. 1 in Lubbock.

A camera caught ESPN’s Fowler, stationed on the Jones AT&T Stadium sideline, slack-jawed as the play unfolded. He was only a few steps away as Crabtree spun free from a Texas defender at the 5-yard line and dashed into the end zone.
Crabtree had some fun during his onstage interview with Fowler.

“I didn’t know what to expect (on that play),’’ Crabtree told Fowler. “The only part I remember about that is you on the sideline with your mouth wide open, man.’’
Crabtree said later his wisecrack, like many of his on-field moves, was improvised on the spot, not pre-planned.

“Not at all,’’ he said. “They told me to plan something. I told them I was just going to go up there and freestyle it.’’


20 Responses to “Crabtree wins second Biletnikoff”

  1. WATHDOG113 on December 11th, 2008 11:47 pm


  2. dano 1998 on December 12th, 2008 12:28 am

    You are da man, Crab!!! Probably best ever overall receiver at Tech. Course Dave Parks was taken #1 in the 1963 NFL draft by the niners, but I did not get to see him play. But you are Top Dog two yrs in a row and nobody’s done that. We are very proud of you and wish you well. But our season is FAR from over. There is still one more big game. So get to work. One more win for the…….

  3. chuck on December 12th, 2008 1:11 am


  4. Mark on December 12th, 2008 1:50 am

    I hope crabtree doesnt decide to go pro yet

  5. Congrats Crabtree and McCoy for Making the State Proud on December 12th, 2008 4:47 am

    Congratulation Crabtree. You really…really deserve it!
    Congratulations to Colt for grabbing the most important award of the night at Walter Camp Awards Night -Walter Camp National Player of the Year. Your overall offensive performance paid off. The State of Texas is very proud of you.

  6. phats on December 12th, 2008 8:27 am

    keep it up txtech!!
    When it comes down to it, these awards have significant supporting casts

  7. brant on December 12th, 2008 9:19 am

    We need to prepare. He is going pro this year. No way he stays, his dad will not allow it.

    Thanks Crab for helping to produce the most exciting brand of Tech football we have ever seen out here on the plains of West Texas. I look forward to seeing both Crab and Graham play on Sunday.

    Just give us one more win over Ole Miss!

  8. Pete Storseth on December 12th, 2008 9:19 am

    great job….

    very big of him to recognize the team and his QB

  9. Mike in Mid on December 12th, 2008 9:44 am

    My heart goes out to Graham. He accomplished many things this year on the field and was a good guy off of the field. He deserved to be recognized for all he did.

    I’d love to see somebody local organize a welcome home for those players. Line the streets leaving the airport with signs and such and let them know how much they mean to their fans.

    Graham is my Heisman!

    Tech Alum ‘93

  10. kc red raider on December 12th, 2008 9:56 am

    Crabman always seems to say the right things. What a sign of maturity. While pleased with his accomplishment, he turns the focus to a teammate.

    I like Mike in Mid’s idea. I only wish I could be there to participate.

  11. GunsUP@TTU on December 12th, 2008 10:47 am

    Crabman!! I don’t know if you read these posts or not, but if you do, I hope you read the sincerity in this post.

    Thank you and Graham Harrell and that AMAZING Offensive Line for giving me and untold other Red Raider Fans the thrill of our lives when you broke away and scored with one second left on the clock on November 1st. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…I wouldn’t have been any place on the face of this earth that Saturday night other than Lubbock, Texas!! My only regret is that I didn’t get you to sign the back of my Raider Red t-shirt the next day at Chili’s when you came in and got your to-go order. My daughter, who is a senior at Tech, wouldn’t let me dang it!!

    Thank you for making so many of us SO PROUD on the field and in the spotlight!!

    Wreck ‘em TTU’85

    Go Tech!! Beat the rebels!!

  12. Ben on December 12th, 2008 11:07 am

    Crab is a class act. I like how he mentioned his quarterback. Tech has been very fortunate to have two athletes like them. Honestly, Crab is the best player in college football and Graham is the best quarterback. I think it is rediculous that both of them are not in New York. Not their fault they take votes away from each other in the Heisman.

    I think Ole’ Miss is about to feel the wrath of a pissed-off #6. Wreck “em

  13. Larry Pilkinton on December 12th, 2008 1:21 pm


  14. Larry Pilkinton on December 12th, 2008 1:30 pm

    Fantastic! This is what this season was all about: Great play, great players, great coaching, great attitudes, just plain greatness. The Beletnikoff Award was meant for Michael Crabtree, who someday may hav an award given with his name attached. His career, barring injury, should be one that exemplifies the wide receiver position like no other has been able to do. If Mike stays another year, we will certainly be the blessed one. If he becomes a professional, he will lift the team he is with to new heights. He, Tech, and Lubbock will be common names in many households for the next 10-15 years, maybe longer. And induction into the HOF could easily be in his future. No doubt he will be a hall of famer in Texas and in college. Thanks so much for the time spent in Lubbock at THE TEXAS TECH UNIVERSITY!

  15. RaiderT on December 12th, 2008 2:16 pm

    Crabtree and Harrell are two humble, smart, student-athletes. I sure wish them the best in whatever is down their road–and very proud to have them as Red Raiders.

    Thanks for the memories this year! Wreck’Em and give ‘um hell in that Cotton Bowl!

  16. Steer on December 12th, 2008 4:13 pm

    There won’t be much of a drop off, if any, in Tech’s receiver talent next year if Crabtree decides to go pro. Emory Blake from Austin HS in Austin is the real deal. He is also a huge threat running from the QB position, and he knows how to throw too.

  17. Darnce Ritchey on December 12th, 2008 10:58 pm

    Greatest future Sunday Tech team of them all…..

  18. Darnce Ritchey on December 12th, 2008 10:59 pm

    Aren’t Austin comments like “Steer” above as predictable as the vote of a Washington, D. C. resident?

  19. Rodney Gestes Class of '96 on December 14th, 2008 12:22 am

    Darnce, Emory Blake sounds like he will be a great replacement for Crabtree, not to mention the already talented existing WR core. He’s big, fast and comes from a winning tradition!
    I wish MC all the best in NFL!! It will be great to see a Red Raider go the first round. Crabman, stay humble and God bless!

    Ohhh, don’t forget to kick some Ole Miss butt at the Cotton Bowl!!

    WRECK ‘EM TECH!!!!!!!

  20. DWR on December 15th, 2008 5:31 pm

    Bradford might have won the Heisman,
    but Crabtree is the BEST COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYER.
    There’s not a lot of people who could argue with that

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