KU football MVP Countdown: No. 16, Daylon Charlot
Most of this list consists of players who made their way onto it either because of past performance or their names being brought up by players and/or coaches as making big strides without first being asked about them.
Every list needs at least one exception. Daylon Charlot, a junior transfer from Alabama in his second year of eligibility and third year in the program, qualifies as that.
As much as I try, I can't shake two factors about Charlot that make me believe that his day will come. First, Nick Saban recruited him to Alabama and tried to convince him to stay when Charlot told him he wanted to transfer. Saban doesn't make a lot of evaluation mistakes. Second, Charlot justified the hype with an impressive spring game in 2017. He soared to make a catch in traffic that made him look different from most of the rest of the Kansas receivers.
During his redshirt year, Charlot drew praise from coaches for taking every day of practice seriously, including on special teams.
Charlot, who caught just one pass for no gain last season, switched to safety late in the year when the team was thin at the position, but has switched back to receiver. He said a midseason knee sprain led to him gaining weight, so that could be part of what held him back.
Might it be a case of the offense being too complicated for a player who is at his best when left to relying on his instincts? I wondered that when running backs coach Tony Hull, who watches out for all Louisiana natives on the roster, explained where he thinks Charlot has improved since last year.
“I think he understands now what it takes to be successful here,” Hull said. “The previous system he comes from it was just run fast straight and we’ll get you the ball. Whereas this one, you have to understand coverages, you have to understand is it press is it soft coverage, a whole bunch of intricacies he didn’t understand coming here. I think now, along with his physical gifts, he’s made strides to be successful.”
At 6-foot, 209 pounds, Charlot has good size. He's not as fast as Steven Sims, but isn't slow either. He appears to have good hands. So if he can play with a free mind that isn't burdened by the complexities of reading defenses, that talent could come to the forefront.