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'I think he's here to stay': KU's Daylon Charlot reinvigorated by return to WR

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Kansas wide receiver Daylon Charlot (2) gets past Kansas linebacker Denzel Feaster (18) during an open practice on Saturday, April 28, 2018 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas wide receiver Daylon Charlot (2) gets past Kansas linebacker Denzel Feaster (18) during an open practice on Saturday, April 28, 2018 at Memorial Stadium. by Nick Krug

Daylon Charlot didn’t transfer from Alabama to Kansas to play safety.

So this spring, and a return to his old position, wide receiver, invigorated one of the most intriguing talents on the Jayhawks’ roster.

Late this past fall, Charlot’s first as an active member of KU’s roster, a void at safety, as well as the apparent inability of the one-time four-star prep prospect form Patterson, La., to crack the offense’s two-deep, inspired coaches to move Charlot into the secondary.

Too raw and inexperienced at his new position to get onto the field in any of the Jayhawks’ final five games, Charlot tried to make the best of his predicament at practices. In that setting, he often let the receivers he had spent more than a year working alongside know he looked forward to squaring off with them.

“Daylon always tried to hit us,” KU receiver Steven Sims Jr. said, grinning. “That’s all he talked about, ‘He’s gonna catch us slipping,’ and stuff like that. It’s good to have him back.”

The extent to which Charlot feels revitalized, for now, is known only by the the 6-foot, 209-pound receiver and those with which he has shared that notion directly. Though requested for interviews throughout the spring, a KU communications staff member said Charlot had a schedule conflict on each of the three days in April when players were made available. Interview requests were not taken following the spring’s final, open-to-the-public practice.

Sims, who has spent plenty of downtime and prep time around Charlot since the Class of 2015 Alabama signee arrived in Lawrence as a ballyhooed transfer in 2016, shared his assessment of Charlot’s mindset this spring.

“I know he’s happy to be back. He feels a little rusty, but I know he’s happy to be back on offense,” Sims said. “Nobody wants to play defense. He got abused by us every day in practice.”

The KU offense needs Charlot to start resembling the type of receiver many envisioned when he was a consensus four-star prospect in Louisiana, as a high schooler. The kind of player renowned Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban didn’t want leaving his program.

Kansas wide receiver Daylon Charlot (2) works out his arms on the ropes during practice on Wednesday, April 4, 2018.

Kansas wide receiver Daylon Charlot (2) works out his arms on the ropes during practice on Wednesday, April 4, 2018. by Nick Krug

Redshirt junior Carter Stanley said he and KU’s other quarterbacks noticed the short-lived safety responding positively this spring upon returning to the offense.

“I think it’s his natural spot. I really like Daylon as a receiver. He’s put in great work already,” Stanley said. “I think he’s there to stay.”

According to fourth-year Kansas coach David Beaty, the need for some depth at safety forced what proved to be a temporary relocation project for Charlot.

“You know, we always knew that if we were able to go and get what we needed in recruiting, we wanted to bring him back over (to offense),” Beaty remarked. “So he's back in the position that he started at. I know he's excited about that.”

Charlot added 14 pounds to his frame from a year ago this offseason, but Sims related his fellow receiver might cut some of that weight in the weeks ahead in hopes of maximizing his speed.

“I do think moving him back refocused him,” Sims observed. “I feel like Daylon’s ready to take on his role now at wide receiver and I feel like he’s focused. He’s learning it over again, because he kind of forgot the stuff a little bit,” Sims noted early in the spring. “He’s getting his confidence back. It’s good to see that.”

Among the 15 Jayhawks who caught a pass in 2017, Charlot ranked last in productivity. His one reception, in a Week 2 loss to Central Michigan, registered no gain — a zero-yard catch. Kansas has to get substantially more out of the receiver in his upcoming junior season.

Kansas loses two of its top three receivers from a year ago, with Ben Johnson graduating and Chase Harrell transferring. While Sims, Evan Fairs, Jeremiah Booker, Ryan Schadler and Quan Hampton give the receiving corps capable options with varying degrees of experience, Charlot finally living up to his potential and performing like one of the Big 12’s top-flight receivers should stimulate the offense.

Remember: KU only averaged 14.3 points and 237.8 yards per game in Big 12 play in 2017. The Jayhawks will take an uplift anywhere they can find one, and Charlot holds the pedigree and potential to do his part in putting a more effective offense on the field, if focused and eager.

Comments

John Fitzgerald 6 months, 1 week ago

It was tough to see Harrell transfer, although with the DUI it was understandable. I feel like he can do some big things wherever he ends up as long as he keeps his mind right and stays out of trouble. But hopefully Charlot can get on the field and show why we brought him here. With Baldwin off the team he's our only hope to show at least one of the Bama transfers was worth it.

Jeff Coffman 6 months, 1 week ago

Two Juco safeties are the recruits that gave Beaty the option to send Charlot back to receiver.

Jacob Zutterman 6 months, 1 week ago

"Daylon always tried to hits us"

Among the 15 Jayhakws

Sure hope this kid makes it

[''] 6 months, 1 week ago

Last year he wasn't able to work his way into the top, what 6-8 receivers we had? And other than Sims and flashes from Harrell, the rest of the receiving group was pretty marginal. But he was billed as the second coming when he signed here ....so I'll believe it when I see it.

Dirk Medema 6 months, 1 week ago

Sounds like Daylon might have had a bit of pretentious entitlement. Maybe he thought that a 'Bama recruit could just step in and be given starts and passes because we just weren't good enough. If he asserts himself, he has plenty of potential, and can transform the team.

Edward Daub 6 months, 1 week ago

Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo

Daylon Charlot Light my Fuse

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