Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A nice catch for Kansas

Freshman WR vying for playing time

Kansas University freshman Dezmon Briscoe looks a pass into his hands. The Jayhawks worked out Monday at the practice fields.

Kansas University freshman Dezmon Briscoe looks a pass into his hands. The Jayhawks worked out Monday at the practice fields.


As the Kansas University football program's recruiting efforts advance to higher levels, signing ready-made athletes is becoming more commonplace each year.

Finding a future star, however, is more than just measurements.

For freshman wide receiver Dezmon Briscoe, it's his attitude that will put him on the field right away while others reluctantly red-shirt. At 6-foot-3 and 201 pounds, Briscoe physically is college-ready. What's putting him over the top, though, is a mindset that's way beyond his years.

"Aside from his physical presence and his physical skills he brings to the table, he's a competitor," KU offensive coordinator Ed Warinner said. "When you throw the ball up, there's a good chance he's going to come down with it. He's not the typical freshman that can be intimidated by older veteran guys. There's no fear factor of competing against our best players on defense, and we have some pretty good ones.

"That's what's impressive. The physical skills he has and the fact that he loves to compete. He has great hands, very good speed and just a big physical presence."

Briscoe has parlayed a big bang of a first impression into playing time - and a possible starting assignment - just a few months removed from Cedar Hill (Texas) High. It's significant, considering KU isn't short on big wideouts with 6-4 Marcus Henry, 6-3 Marcus Herford and 6-3 Raymond Brown all in the fold.

Even 6-3 true freshman John Wilson is a strong candidate to skip a red-shirt. Yet Briscoe is wowing enough of the right people to keep his name front and center.

"It's way different than high school," Briscoe said of the college game. "The tempo is faster. But other than that, I think I can come in and do my part."

Briscoe wasn't sure of himself just two months ago. When he moved to Lawrence from the Dallas suburbs, he went through a week of strength coach Chris Dawson's intense workouts and thought he was out of his league.

But the adjustment came quickly, and soon came a goal of getting up to 207 pounds to bring physicality with his height. He's just six pounds away and continues to work at it.

Briscoe has made the biggest splash among a talented group of true freshman receivers, which includes Wilson, Rell Lewis and Free State High graduate Ryan Murphy.

But Briscoe still realizes what's ahead of him. Watching players like Marcus Henry - who also skipped a red-shirt - is a reminder of where he could still go.

"He's really helped me out a lot with his releases off the line and his playmaking ability," Briscoe said. "He really reminds me of me."

Briscoe was part of a sensational state champion team at Cedar Hill, catching 37 balls for 707 yards and 11 touchdowns as a senior. He helped the Longhorns to a 16-0 record, though it was his good friend William Cole, the team's quarterback and now an Oklahoma State freshman, who got most of the headlines.

Still, Briscoe benefited greatly from his time at Cedar Hill. After picking Kansas over Boise State, Iowa, Missouri and Oklahoma State, he arrived in Lawrence, started getting used to the Jayhawks' offense and soon realized it was more familiar to him than he expected.

"They run a spread, and we ran a spread at Cedar Hill," Briscoe said. "With the coaches I had at Cedar Hill, they really helped get me to the next level."

The pleasant surprise is, he's already at that next level. KU coach Mark Mangino praises Briscoe's "tremendous football aptitude" while Warinner said "it wouldn't surprise me a bit" if the freshman played extensively this fall. At KU's most recent open practice, Briscoe was working with the first team alongside Henry and slot receiver Dexton Fields.

Whether he gets significant snaps Sept. 1 against Central Michigan or not, Briscoe considers himself a work in progress. While he's trying to steal playing time from them, Briscoe is watching the older guys around him and taking notes.

Notes he could be putting to use very soon.

"With them being veterans, they know the game way better," Briscoe said. "I can learn a lot from them."


justanotherfan 15 years, 5 months ago

You have to like the fact that KU has so many big receivers that can go get the football. These playmakers might be the difference between being an average team and a team that wins 8 or 9 games.

CasperCorps 15 years, 5 months ago

Well welcome to the team young pup. I really like that confidence in ya... The Hawks are gonna surprise a lot of folks this year. More than two losses will be upsetting.

Michael Leiker 15 years, 5 months ago

Shouldn't he have his hands in the triangle position when he's trying to catch that pass????

Kyle Crenshaw 15 years, 5 months ago

yea, looks like he's catching it with his body instead of his hands. but its nice to see we have a freshman already makin his way up the depth chart

bmcmich1 15 years, 5 months ago

From what I can see, he is running a deep post, in which the QB leads him and he goes and runs under it. If that's the case, he has his hands in the easiest anatomic postition to cradle catch the ball without breaking stride. If he tried to use the 'triangle' position for that particular route, it would be really unnatural and would hinder his ability to run after the catch. The best times to use the triangle are for short slant routes and buttonhook, or 'dig' routes. In either case, you should never use your chest to help catch the ball. It's too hard to tell in the photo above whether or not he is going to reign it in with his hands or try to trap it with his pads. Anyway, that's my take...I'm pretty sure that our staff will break him of any bad habits he may have gotten away with in HS though...

justanotherfan 15 years, 5 months ago

It almost looks like he's trying to catch a punt, but it's hard to tell because the picture is so tight.

JBurtin 15 years, 5 months ago

Yeah, it looked like a punt to me as well, the angle's wrong for it to be a pass. You can't really use a triangle position when you're catching a ball coming at such a severe downward angle from such height. You have to get your hands on it up high and let your hands fall with it or it will just bounce off, the triangle would hinder your mobility.

JBurtin 15 years, 5 months ago

BTW, nice to have a big physical receiver like this to beat up on the small corners of lesser teams. Guys like him can body up and use their hips to push a smaller man out of the way when a pass is up for grabs. Kind of a poor man's TO without the bad attitude.

Excellent pickup staff!!!

Alan Halvorsen 15 years, 5 months ago

The best part about all this is that we have a QB that can get these guys the ball....before it seemed pointless having awesome recievers catching all those WR screens. Kind of wasted away Murph's senior year.

actorman 15 years, 5 months ago

Since KU seems to have such a plethora of these big, talented receivers, and the secondary is still somewhat of a question mark, I wonder if one of them will end up playing cornerback or going both ways, a la Gordon and Randle.

FlaHawk 15 years, 5 months ago

I don't think it is a punt as a well punted ball would have it's noise up. A thrown spiral would lower it's nose as it descends. Thats my story and I'm sticking to it :-)!

MitchumMan 15 years, 5 months ago

It's good to see that we have freshman that can come up and replace some of the veterans. It says a lot about our recruiting. Yeah, these recruits may not have as many stars above their names, like on, but sounds like they have a lot of heart and the attitude to win football games. And I may not know a whole lot about anything, but when you're out on that field, those two things mean a lot.

Beak'em Hawks!!

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