Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Keeston Terry’s prep coach: Move to safety could be a good one


The most surprising move of the Kansas University football team’s preseason camp may have been sophomore running back Toben Opurum’s shift to linebacker.

The most fruitful?

That could be true freshman Keeston Terry moving from wide receiver to safety. At least that’s the take held by Blue Springs (Mo.) High football coach Kelly Donohoe, Terry’s prep coach and supporter.

“The move to free safety could be a really good one,” Donohoe told the Journal-World shortly after KU coach Turner Gill announced the switch.

Donohoe’s not just guessing here either. He’s seen Terry, a four-star prospect at wide receiver, perform in the defensive backfield and he believes Terry’s skills on defense match those he’s shown on offense.

“He played free safety for us his junior year and was phenomenal,” said Donohoe, who played quarterback at Kansas from 1986-89. “His senior year he had a shoulder injury and the way the shoulder injury set up, if he exposed himself like he was tackling somebody he was really prone to hurt it more seriously, so the doctor recommended he just stay on offense.”

Donohoe continued: “That was a big hit to us because the kid’s a phenomenal free safety. The way he covers the field, hits people, his instincts, his run to the football, hand-eye coordination to pick balls off, he’s a freak back there, he really is.”

Although most of Terry’s high school accolades came because of his receiving prowess, Terry is no stranger to the defensive side of the ball. His father, Doug Terry, lettered at KU as a defensive back from 1988-91 and went on to play four seasons in the NFL with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Donohoe said Doug Terry’s impact on his son’s career was easy to spot while watching him patrol the secondary in high school.

Clearly, Gill, who mentioned his team’s depth at wide receiver while explaining the switch, saw enough from Terry on defense to agree.

“We looked at him as a safety or wide receiver when we recruited him, so this is not totally out of whack for us,” Gill said last week.

“We just thought that he would give us a little bit more speed (at safety) and that he was somebody that would want to take a chance to have a chance to play. And this gives him an opportunity to play and go from there.”

Gill said Terry would have to prove he could play 15-20 snaps per game at safety before becoming a regular part of the rotation. Because Terry came to KU with the knowledge that such a move could take place, Donohoe believed that wouldn’t be a problem.

“We always talked about, ‘Keeston, you may end up being a free safety,’” Donohoe said. “He knew that going in. I think in high school he caught so many touchdowns and stuff and that was fun for him, but he’ll be a special, special talent at free safety and I think Turner and those guys probably saw that.”


Dirk Medema 9 years, 6 months ago

That is all the more encouraging to hear. It seems that we are fairly deep at DB also, tho I guess we're likely to play a few more per game than WR.

What's a bit confusing is are they really a guy who runs a 4.7 adding speed to the DB's? Someone please confirm that he is faster than 4.7.

Swamphawk 9 years, 6 months ago

I can't confirm that, but 40 speed isn't necessarily everything when you need to also be quick running backwards. Maybe that's where he excels.

Also, on the pessimistic side, perhaps our existing free safeties are just not that fast either.

slowplay 9 years, 6 months ago

Speed is not as critical for a safety as it for the CB's who need to stay with the wide-outs. Quickness, the ability to close fast is a safety's greatest asset. He needs to be hitter and have the intelligence to read the offensive plays quickly. One of the safeties is usually the QB of the defense and will call out formations.

dashaughn 9 years, 2 months ago

4.47 is Keeston's 40 time the 4.7 time everyone is getting was recorded in his sophomore year of high school

gardenjay 9 years, 6 months ago

Another phenomenal article to go with an exciting free safety. This recruitment must have been exciting long before I read this article - holy smokes! Thanks for this article to get us excited about KU F-ball, a real collegiate feel to this team. Go KU!

rolo2383 9 years, 6 months ago

I like the fact that he is tall and has long arms. Once he adds some meat to his bones he could turn out to be a great player.

Randy Bombardier 9 years, 6 months ago

Wow, this is really good to know. Having a father who played defensive back with the Chiefs you know he got a good education. So, considering the suspicion on Toben's move, what don't we know????

newjayhawk 9 years, 6 months ago

wait a f*^%'n minute....He didn't play one freakin minute of safety his senior year! He practiced all summer at WR, couldn't cut it now he's an all world safety in college, ahead of of kids like Linton,and other two /three year players.....This is the reason Kansas is a freakin' BB school. It seems as if they truly want this kid success at all cost.Dumb move....period.! I don't care if his dad was the president of KU and his arms are 10ft long..and he runs a 4.7, they[coaches] must be high! or extremely stupid.....

rolo2383 9 years, 6 months ago

I didn't go back and re-read the article but I don't remember it saying he was ahead of those other players. I remember it saying if he wasn't going to get 15 - 20 reps a game he would redshirt.

JBurtin 9 years, 6 months ago

Not to mention, nobody said he "couldn't cut it" at WR. We just have a very young, deep, and talented group of WR's that will all be battling each other for snaps over the next few years.

Safety isn't all that bad right now, but we do lose one starting senior and another senior on the 2 deep next year while we only lose 1 significant player at an overloaded WR position. If one of those WR's looks like he will be equally capable of making some plays at safety then why not even out the depth a bit.

The only reason he didn't play safety his senior year was due to an injury. You'd think newjayhawk would at least read the story before making idiotic comments.

gardenjay 9 years, 6 months ago

:( new. I predict we win more than 8 games on TG's enthusiasm alone.

justanotherfan 9 years, 6 months ago

Gill is looking at this football team as athletes. You put your best athletes on the field.

At RB we had Quigley, Opurum, Sims, Bourbon, Sands, etc. Only three of those guys were probably going to get substantial time. So Opurum goes to LB (where we are dangerously thin) and upgrades both positions (LB because of depth, RB because it allows the others to get more reps).

At WR we have too many different guys to name. Terry has experience at DB. Actually was a well thought of DB. Some scouting services were rating his as an athlete or DB rather than WR prior to his senior year, when the injury forced him only to offense. But the skill level is there.

Best athletes go on the field. Offense, defense. Safety, corner, WR, RB, LB. Who cares. We need high caliber athletes on the field at every spot. Period.

Keeston Terry is a high caliber athlete. We need him on the field somewhere.

Jonathan Briles 9 years, 6 months ago

Well said justanotherfan. We need to get our best players on the field and Gill is doing just that.

newjayhawk, you need to settle down just a bit. Gill has not come and said we are going to start Terry. He is putting him at free safety for his POTENTIAL. He still may red shirt, but he has all the ability needed to be a great FS. He is the son of a former NFL DB and was scouted at safety just as much as WR. It says in the article that the only reason he did not play safety his senior year was because of injury. I'm not concerned with this move at all.

On another note, Terry was known for being a sure handed receiver. Someone who has the instincts and ability that he does with great hands stands to make a lot of interceptions. Turnovers is something that this defense will need. I'm looking forward to seeing what he can bring to the field.

newjayhawk 9 years, 6 months ago

Listen fellas...this is in no form or fashion to disrepect the young man. He is a definite HIGH CALIBER ATHLETE! I humbly apologize for the rant. The coaches are GREAT and not all stupid/that's why they get paid millions and I only get 100k. I hope for nothing less than success for the young man. I have watched videos of him and he is good, end of discussion! My point should have been his speed...and nothing more. You put a 4.7 kid{safety} on a 4.4 or possibly faster WR and what do get? You get burned!__ I have nothing but pure respect for each coach and player, and for that pointless rant.....I apologize to all. Here's to a winning season....God Bless all.

slowplay 9 years, 6 months ago

Check my post above. Speed is not as critical for a safety as it is a CB. You'll find many pro safeties with similar times. That said, he needs to bulk up a bit.

David Lara 9 years, 6 months ago

Yeah, not too often will a FS be one on one with a reciever, in particular one with 4.4 speed. Just not going to happen very often so I wouldn't put it at the top of the list of things to worry about.

youowethehawks 9 years, 6 months ago

...I guess it's a good thing that a safety gets a 15 yard head start on the receiver, and usually is supporting coverage, not one man on an island in a pure footrace with a WR.

Mix all that in with the smarts to take a good angle and you can be slower than 4.4 and make a play on the ball (especially at 6'2") or lay a lick on the wideout.

Wait till this kid gets some meat on his bones and then tell me he won't make an intimidating safety.

JBurtin 9 years, 6 months ago

To be fair, I do agree that he's going to need better than 4.7 speed to keep up on this league. There is something to the notion that a safety has to do more backpedaling and strafing than actual straight line running, but there are always going to be broken plays where a safety needs to catch up from behind or at least be able to make the angle to force a guy out of bounds.

Terry strikes me as gangley guy that is still growing into his body. He has more in common with Demon Briscoe than with a more prototypical safety like Stuckey. Hopefully with a bit of strength training he'll be able to tighten up his movements a bit and bring up his forty time.

I guess we just have to choose whether or not to trust that the coaches know the players better than we do and can get them to the right positions. I choose to reserve any possible criticisms with these kinds of decisions until the staff has at least had a fair shot to prove themselves.

jayhawkintx73 9 years, 6 months ago

Running a 40 at a fast speed even when you do reach full speed has a lot to do with his first step. I'm speculating, but I bet he's a lot faster than that when he gets going. First Step depends a whole lot on strength.

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