Sometimes you just get a hunch about a young athlete. Something about the way he carries himself, the intelligence he displays in an interview, the physical gifts he possesses, how seriously he takes his sport.
Kansas University receiver Chris Omigie, who red-shirted in 2009 and has four years of eligibility remaining, qualifies.
He stands 6-foot-4 and said that after packing on 10 pounds of muscle he weighs 195 pounds. After his first spring practice Sunday under new coach Turner Gill, Omigie revealed a self-confidence that seemed real, yet not the least bit obnoxious.
“I think I bring size to the table, speed as a tall receiver, and you throw it up and it has to come down with me,” said Omigie, a native of Arlington, Texas. “If it’s not coming down with me, it’s not coming down with anybody.”
A quick look at his high school highlight tape on YouTube shows a physical player opening holes for running backs. Omigie said he always has taken pride in blocking and enjoys letting cornerbacks know he’s not going to get pushed around by them.
“If you hit them first, that’s going to make them second-think the next time they run up to you,” he said. “And if they do run back up to you, you just have to keep hitting them in the mouth until they realize you’re not one to be messed with on the football field.”
Nobody can say Mark Mangino left the cupboard bare, particularly at wide receiver. Dezmon Briscoe and Kerry Meier are gone, but it still will take beating out proven receivers for Omigie to earn significant playing time.
Wideouts Johnathan Wilson and Bradley McDougald and slot receiver Daymond Patterson are the leading candidates to appear on the first team of Gill’s first depth chart. Omigie and Erick McGriff, also a 6-4 rising red-shirt freshman, bring more size to the position.
Omigie said he is grateful to Mangino for not burning his red-shirt year with minimal playing time.
“Against Iowa State, I just knew I was going to go in,” Omigie said. “It was pretty cold. Briscoe was freezing. Everybody had their big jackets on on the sideline. At first, we were winning, and then the game got kind of close. He looked at Briscoe, and Briscoe’s hands were red and numb, and he had them in a hand-warmer. He looked at me, and he was like, ‘Briscoe, I’m sorry, this game is too close, too much on the line. You have to suck it up and get back out there.’ I understood.”
Asked to name a receiver he resembles, Omigie didn’t grow shy.
“I want to say Randy Moss because I grew up trying to copy-cat everything he did,” Omigie said. “I would watch Viking games when he got traded. All through elementary school to high school I was always wanting the fade ball, all deep balls, because I was always fast and tall.”
During his red-shirt season, Briscoe was his receiving role model.
“I learned from him that you have to have a really short-term memory,” Omigie said. “If you drop a pass, you can’t be thinking, ‘Man, I dropped that pass.’ You have to let that go.”
Asked if he dropped any passes on the first day of spring practice, Omigie said, “I forgot already.”