Former Alabama WR Daylon Charlot trying to make up ground, climb up depth chart
From the day he arrived in Lawrence a little more than a year ago, people in and around the Kansas football program looked forward to the debut of former Alabama receiver Daylon Charlot.
But Saturday, after sitting out a year as a transfer, Charlot found himself wrong side up on the Jayhawks’ depth chart, hovering on the border of second and third string, and played sparingly in the second half of KU’s victory over Southeast Missouri State.
Such a scenario didn’t seem possible after the physically gifted 6-foot wideout from Patterson, La., proved to be one of the highlight-makers in KU’s spring game, with three receptions, 45 yards and a touchdown (one of just three scores in the scrimmage).
A four-star recruit in his days at Patterson High and a player college football icon Nick Saban didn’t want to lose, Charlot came to Kansas with visions of turning into a Biletnikoff Award candidate. As recently as the first week of August he said his goals for 2017 included becoming a better leader on and off the field, making his teammates better, “hopefully” helping Kansas earn a bowl game invite and reaching the challenging statistical targets of 1,200 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Those numbers now look implausible after Charlot played as a reserve versus SEMO, and had one catch negated by a penalty.
Even so, Charlot’s upside for the weeks and seasons ahead shouldn’t be abandoned. Offensive coordinator and receivers coach Doug Meacham, asked whether the receiver was held back for any reason in particular in Week 1, said Charlot was just “behind” for injury-related reasons during the preseason.
“If you’re not going to get reps in practice you’re just not going to play as much,” Meacham said. “He struggled a little bit with some physical stuff in camp.”
KU is fortunate to have a number of Peyton Bender targets in Meacham’s Air Raid offense, with the likes of Steven Sims Jr., Jeremiah Booker, Chase Harrell, Ben Johnson, Kerr Johnson Jr., Ryan Schadler and freshman Quan Hampton, whom Meacham said will be “really good” down the road.
“You’ve got to show us that you can do it first,” Meacham added, in reference to Charlot, “and then part of his problem was he maybe wasn’t able to demonstrate all that because he’s hampered with this or that through the course of August.”
Is Charlot making up any ground as KU prepares for a Week 2 matchup with Central Michigan?
“A little bit,” Meacham offered. “I just think there’s a lot of undue pressure put on him because of where he came from. Everybody thinks he’s going to walk in here and be Drew Pearson (former Dallas Cowboys receiver). I mean, he’s still a young kid, too. He’s got to learn a lot of stuff.”