Among the many roles a wide receiver can play, Southern Illinois sixth-year senior Landon Lenoir has been there and done that.
Possession receiver? Check.
Deep threat? Indeed.
Short routes and screen passes? Oh yes.
Contested catches? For sure.
Willing blocker? Absolutely.
“Landon’s done every level of what a wide receiver is,” SIU head coach Nick Hill said of the Crete-Monee High School graduate. “That’s why I think he’s an elite receiver. We’ve seen Landon do a little bit of everything here.”
Amid all of his accomplishments, Lenoir has been especially valuable this season for the Salukis (6-3), who are ranked No. 15 this week in the STATS Perform FCS national poll.
With All-American Avante Cox missing multiple games with injury, Lenoir has taken center stage, which his numbers show.
Lenoir has posted career highs in receptions (54), receiving yards (820), yards per game (91.1) and has the third-most touchdown catches in the FCS this season with a career-best nine.
On Saturday, when the Salukis travel to Terre Haute to play Missouri Valley Football Conference foe Indiana State (4-5), Lenoir will be playing in his 50th career game.
Along with his numerous on-field roles, Lenoir has also exhibited plenty of leadership on a veteran team, Hill said, pointing out that leaders are especially needed in difficult times, such as SIU’s current two-game losing streak.
After last weekend’s home loss to Missouri State, Lenoir said, “It’s tough, but I believe in this team, and I think we can turn it around quickly.”
Lenoir, who has a TD catch in seven of SIU’s nine games this season, has been a model of steady play. For the past four seasons, he has at least 41 catches every year while contributing all over the field, such as his 52-yard TD catch on a double move against Northern Iowa.
“The consistency of Landon over his career is (why) he’s a top two, three, four wide receiver here,” said Hill, a former SIU quarterback. “It’s one of those positions where you’ve got to consistently do it, and Landon has done that against some top competition.”
Among the all-time leaders in Carbondale, he ranks third in receptions (197), with current NFL tight end MyCole Pruitt’s total of 221 in sight. Lenoir’s 2,559 receiving yards is third all-time, while his 18 touchdown receptions ranks fifth in Saluki history. With three more TDs, he would move into third place.
“He’ll continue to climb those ranks as long as we’re playing,” said Hill, whose team is chasing a second consecutive playoff berth.
“There’s no question Landon Lenoir one day will go in the (SIU) Hall of Fame,” he said.