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Archive for Monday, August 17, 2009

Rookies impress Briscoe

August 17, 2009

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During his time as a student-athlete at Kansas University, junior wide receiver Dezmon Briscoe has had an easier time getting out of the way of would-be tacklers than out of his own way. Still, he remains an easy guy for whom to root.

He projects approachability, friendliness and humility during interviews. Sure, he has a nervous habit of saying, “Know what I’m saying?” but it doesn’t come across as obnoxious, know what I’m saying? Briscoe’s passion for football and particular interest in receivers dominate his personality.

A trio of freshman receivers already had intrigued Briscoe by the time of Tuesday’s Media Day, during which he followed the script magnificently in expressing contrition for scholastic shortcomings that resulted in his suspension. It wasn’t until the conversation turned to football that Briscoe’s face lit up. What, I asked him, did he think of the newcomers?

“We’ve got a real, real good freshman receiver class, as far as Chris Omigie being out wide and Bradley McDougald and Erick McGriff,” Briscoe said. “Those three have really stood out in practice.”

McGriff stands 6-foot-4, weighs 205 pounds and comes to KU from Jesuit High in Tampa, Fla. His father, Fred McGriff, nicknamed “Crime Dog” (after the cartoon McGruff the Crime Dog), was known as one of baseball’s good guys during a 19-year career (1986-2004) in which he slugged 493 home runs. He used his hands to scoop up errant throws to first base. His son also knows how to corral throws, errant and accurate.

“He’s got great hands, know what I’m saying?” Briscoe said of Erick McGriff. “I don’t think I’ve seen him drop a ball in practice.”

As a senior, McGriff was named all-county first-team at wide receiver, second team at defensive back.

Omigie, a similarly long, 6-4, 200-pound native of Arlington, Texas, was an accomplished wide receiver and long jumper in high school.

“He made one of the greatest catches I’ve ever seen in life, in practice,” Briscoe said of Omigie. “The ball was underthrown, he made his way back over the cornerback and caught it with one hand. I mean, he has great hands as well. He uses his size well, and he’s strong.”

A candidate to help Briscoe with kick-return duties, McDougald comes to Kansas from Dublin, Ohio. A four-star prospect, McDougald played running back and safety in high school and served a three-game suspension as a senior. He originally committed orally to Ohio State.

“He seems to have a knack for getting open and going over the top to make a play,” Briscoe said. “He’s pretty much a spectacular-catch receiver.”

Briscoe isn’t the guy the coaching staff would want organizing newcomers’ appointment calendars for tutoring sessions, but he can and will share football pointers.

“I really appreciate Marcus Henry, what he did for the team and what he did for me and John (Wilson) when we were young,” Briscoe said. “He developed us, told us how to get open, how to read coverages and how to make plays like he did that year.”

The offense has room for one more big-play receiver to join Briscoe, Kerry Meier and Wilson, and there seems to be no shortage of candidates.

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