DENTON – North Texas senior receiver Jaelon Darden was named a first team All-America selection by Pro Football Focus, the site announced Monday.
Darden, the Conference USA MVP, and Biletnikoff Award and Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award semifinalist, is among the nation’s leaders in all of the major receiving categories. The Houston native finished with 74 receptions for 1,190 yards and a single-season program record 19 touchdowns in just nine games. His 19 receiving scores lead the Football Bowl Subdivision and entering the postseason has two more than Alabama’s DeVonta Smith, who has the second-most nationally. Darden ranks seventh in the country in receptions per game (8.2). Darden led the nation in games with three or more receiving touchdowns, with four, and also tied for the most receiving scores in a single game in the country with four. Darden ranks third nationally in receiving yards per game (132.2) and receiving yards (1,190) and fourth in receptions (74). Darden concluded his time in Denton as the program’s career record-holder in receptions (230), receiving yards (2,782) and receiving touchdowns (38).
According to PFF, Darden ranked in the top five in the entire FBS in slot receiving grade (87.6), broken tackles after the catch (19), explosive plays of 15-plus yards (18) and yards per route run (3.91). Over 34% of Darden’s targets against single coverage resulted in a 15-plus-yard gain, the ninth-best rate in the entire FBS.This is the first time a Mean Green player has earned first team All-America status since former running back Jamario Thomas earned the distinction from CBS Sportsline in 2004.
COURTESY NORTH TEXAS ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS