UNC Football: Josh Downs sets Colts rookie reception record

The former UNC football star has put himself in the Indianapolis Colts' record books for the most receptions by a rookie in franchise history.
Houston Texans v Indianapolis Colts
Houston Texans v Indianapolis Colts / Andy Lyons/GettyImages

When Josh Downs fell to the third round of the 2023 NFL Draft, fans of the UNC football program knew what a steal the Indianapolis Colts were getting.

As a Tar Heel, Downs developed into the team's No. 1 wide receiver, setting the program's single-season records for catches (101) and receiving yards (1,335). There was never a doubt that his skillset would translate to the NFL, as Downs put together a rookie season for the record books.

In the Colts' heartbreaking season-ending loss to the Houston Texans, Downs set the franchise record for most receptions by a rookie in franchise history. With his three catches, Downs jumped Marvin Harrison (64) and Bill Brooks (65) on the list, as the former Tar Heel is now in sole possession of this record.

Throughout his rookie season, Downs proved that 78 teams made the mistake of passing on him. Overall, the former UNC football standout finished the season with 68 receptions for 771 yards and two touchdowns. He accomplished these numbers while working with two different quarterbacks, as highly-touted first-round draft pick Anthony Richardson was lost for the season due to injury.


Although the Colts fell just short of making the playoffs, there is a lot to like about this team moving forward. After a stellar rookie season, it appears that Downs has solidified himself as a future impact player for the Colts offense, as we'll have to wait and see what he can accomplish during his second professional season in 2024.

Given what we know about Josh Downs, it's expected that he'll continue to prove everyone wrong.

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