Who leads all of college football in receiving yards? Such a simple question could yield countless responses. No, it’s not Jerry Jeudy or any other studs from a Power 5 program. It’s not even a standout from an FCS powerhouse. The leading receiver in all of college football is none other than Tennessee State’s star wide receiver Chris Rowland.

The senior originally got his start as a standout return man, a role he stills flourishes in today. Since his freshman year, Rowland has steadily grown into a larger role on offense. Featured at both running back and receiver, the Tigers have implemented his dynamic skillset in any way possible. Over the years, however, he has emerged as one of the best receivers in the FCS.

If you want to garner attention as an “off the map” prospect, there are certain things you have to bring to the table in order to even get a look. For one, you have to dominate the competition and produce at an almost unsustainable rate. Numbers aren’t always enough, however. The traits also have to pop off the tape. For Rowland, he checks both of these boxes, although there are various other factors. 

The easiest way to get people talking about you: start off strong. You can’t get off to a hotter start than Rowland. He’s the only player throughout all of college football with at least 11 catches, 170 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown in each of the first two games. Talk about a remarkable feat. Watching to see if Rowland can continue this pace will be intriguing over these next few weeks.

Middle Tennessee State is the best competition the Tigers will get all season. In that game this past weekend, Rowland was the star with 11 catches for 202 receiving yards and a pair of scores. If he can do that against a team who made Michigan sweat in the opening week, just imagine what he’s capable of from here on out.

While there aren’t any trademark games on Tennessee State’s remaining schedule, Week 9 is one I have circled. Last season against Austin Peay, Rowland balled out for 11 catches, 179 receiving yards, and three touchdowns. I’m looking forward to seeing if he’ll have a repeat performance against a familiar opponent. For now, Rowland looks ahead to this week in a matchup with Jackson State.

As if the odds weren’t already stacked against Rowland, his lack of size doesn’t help matters. Rowland is noticeably small, standing in the 5’8”-5’9” range. Rowland’s meager frame brings a limited catch radius. He doesn’t have the hands or length to pluck balls out of the air. Instead, Rowland relies on good placement and securing the ball into his body.

However, you start to overlook Rowland’s size the more you watch him. He’s a dynamic playmaker who poses a homerun threat every time he touches the ball. Often utilized on screens and quick passes, the Tigers maximize his skillset by getting him out into space. Rowland is bouncy and elusive and his athletic tools only enhance his abilities.

Rowland has legit speed, quickness, and acceleration. He glides in open field and can stop on a dime to make guys miss. The most admirable trait is his scrappiness through contact as he never bails on a battle despite his small stature.

Leading up to the season, you didn’t see Rowland mentioned on any top FCS wide receivers list. Guys like Jequez Ezzard, Aaron Parker and Josh Pearson stole the spotlight. Now it’s time to make room for Rowland. It won’t be an easy uphill battle en route to being an NFL Draft pick. However, there’s nothing more he could’ve done through two weeks to get himself on the right track.

Over the past four drafts, there has only been one HBCU wide receiver selected. That man being Chad Williams, hailing from Grambling State. Rowland looks to add to that list, as do Ezzard and Pearson. Whether he’s drafted or not, Rowland is bound to catch on somewhere as an undrafted free agent. Between his athleticism, playmaking ability and prowess as a return man, he has the right mix to carve out a role at the next level.