Western Kentucky outside receivers coach Josh Crawford was named a finalist for 2021 FootballScoop Coach of the Year in the wide receiver category, the news outlet announced Tuesday.

“Very grateful!” Crawford tweeted in response to the announcement.

In his first season with the Hilltoppers, Crawford led a position group that helped quarterback Bailey Zappe break the NCAA’s all-time single-season records for passing yards (5,967) and passing touchdowns (62). The Hilltoppers’ primary outside receivers – Mitchell Tinsley and Daewood Davis – both started all 14 games and combined for 130 catches for 2,165 yards and 22 touchdowns.

Tinsley’s 87 receptions, 1,402 yards and 14 scores were the fourth-most by a WKU receiver in a single campaign in the program’s 103-season history. The 14 touchdowns rank fifth in FBS this season, while his 1,402 yards rank eighth and 87 catches are 16th.

Meanwhile, Davis’ 763 yards and eight touchdowns ranked fourth on the Hilltoppers, while his 43 receptions were fourth. His 17.7 yards per catch led the team and rank 14th in FBS among players with 40-plus catches.

In addition, the trio of Craig Burt, Jr., Ben Ratzlaff and Dakota Thomas combined for 34 receptions for 437 yards and three scores. Overall, the position group had 164 catches for 2,602 yards and 22 touchdowns, while averaging 15.9 yards per reception.

Following the 2021 campaign, head coach Tyson Helton announced Crawford would add a co-offensive coordinator title to his outside receiver duties. Crawford began his coaching career in 2010 and spent the next 11 seasons coaching offense at some of Georgia’s highest-profile high school programs before joining WKU in January 2021.

Crawford joins Utah State’s Kyle Cefalo, Ohio State’s Brian Hartline, Mississippi State’s Steve Spurrier Jr. and Alabama’s Holmon Wiggins as finalists in the wide receiver category.

FootballScoop also recognized former Hilltopper offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Zach Kittley as a finalist in both the Offensive Coordinator and Quarterback category. After helping lead WKU to the No. 1 passing offense (433.7 yards per game), No. 2 overall offense (536.2 yards per game) and No. 2 scoring offense (44.2 points per game), Kittley was hired to the same position by Texas Tech – his hometown program and alma mater – in December.

The FootballScoop Coach of the Year program – celebrating its 15th season in 2021 – honors excellence in performance and character at every on-the-field position and key off-the-field posts in FBS, as well as coordinators at the FCS, Division II, Division III and NAIA levels.

Coaches must be nominated by a fellow coach to be eligible for the award, and each category’s winner is selected by prior winners of that category. Winners will be announced in the coming days and honored at the AFCA Convention in San Antonio, Texas, which will take place from Jan. 9-11.{&end}