Kelly Akharaiyi will have plenty of scoring opportunities at Mississippi State

Kelly Akharaiyi will likely lead Mississippi State football in receiving, and that means he should have plenty of chances to score.
Mississippi State Spring Football Game
Mississippi State Spring Football Game / Justin Ford/GettyImages

UTEP transfer Kelly Akharaiyi is expected to lead the way for Mississippi State football in the receiving corps for 2024. Playing in Jeff Lebby's offense, there's a real chance he challenges the single-season school record for receiving yards.

But how many touchdowns will he catch this fall?

How many touchdowns did Kelly Akharaiyi catch at UTEP?

To say Kelly Akharaiyi was UTEP's primary scoring option would be an understatement. He caught seven TDs in 2023. As a team, UTEP only had 13 receiving TDs, so he had more than half of those. Also, no other player caught more than one. It was Kelly Akharaiyi and basically no one else for the Miners.

How many touchdowns does Jeff Lebby's leading receiver typically catch?

As you could expect, the top WRs in Lebby's offenses usually have little trouble finding the endzone. On average, his receiving TD leader brings in about nine scores, but he's had three players reach double-digits (plus a fourth in Elijah Moore who was on pace to in a shortened 2020).

UCF's Gabe Davis caught 12 receiving TDs in 2019, the most by a Lebby receiver. In 2022 at Oklahoma, top receiver Marvin Mims had just six TDs, but technically he didn't lead the team in that category. TE Brayden Willis actually led OU with seven scores.

How many touchdowns will Kelly Akharaiyi have playing for Jeff Lebby at Mississippi State?

While seven receiving TDs in 2023 isn't far off from what Jeff Lebby's WRs tend to churn out, Kelly Akharaiyi is going to get more opportunities to put points on the board in Starkville than he did in El Paso.

But I don't know that he'll make a serious run at breaking the school record of 12 TD catches in a year, shared by Fred Ross and Akharaiyi's current WRs coach Chad Bumphis. The reason is I believe there's a chance he sees fewer targets in the redzone. Bigger frames in Trent Hudson and TE Seydou Traore could be the main looks closer to the goal line. The same could apply for a shiftier option like Kevin Coleman.

I still expect Akahariyi to lead the team in TDs, but I'd set his over/under at about an 8.5 as opposed to double-digits. But I'd by no means be surprised if he does in fact go above that mark.