Saturday in Lincoln didn’t bring a lot of good feelings to the hearts of Kansas fans, but one player should capture the hopes of Jayhawks everywhere as we wrap up 2008 and head into 2009. Dezmon Briscoe, a forgotten receiver in a pass happy league that is producing some of the biggest names at the position. The pundits go bonkers for names like Crabtree, Maclin, Shipley and Bryant and rightfully so, but Briscoe is a kid in Lawrence who is gaining confidence hitting his stride and now not only holds the school record for touchdowns in a career as a true Sophomre but also appears poised to emerge as a headliner for the Jayhawks.
Dezmon Briscoe has quietly amassed a season total 976 yards ranking him 3rd among all receivers in the Big 12. His 16.3 yard average places him 7th in the conference and among the big 4 names in the conference only Bryant produces more yardage per catch. Briscoe has also posted 11 touchdown receptions this year again bringing him into 3rd statistically amongst his peers in the conference in this category. Numbers like these in any other conference in the country put you on the all conference first team but this year Briscoe will likely settle for 2nd team or honorable mention considering the stacked competition and big name recognition that many of these guys have earned. No shame in that in a league that is arguably the best in history from an offensive standpoint. What has me excited though is what the future holds for Dezmon and the Jayhawks.
Next year will likely see the departure of Michael Crabtree. Jordan Shipley will have run out of eligibility. Jeremy Maclin may be bound for the draft and if not will be on the receiving end of a quarterback that will be managing a significant amount of turnover at Missouri. Clearly others will emerge but this does open up the league for a battle of two Texas sized receivers in Dez Bryant and Dezmon Briscoe. Dezmon started off the season strong and has had several highlight plays but what stands out to me is the performances beginning with Oklahoma where he seemed to grab hold of a greater confidence and truly became a difference maker.
The old saying that the game slowed down for him seems to apply to Briscoe. Against stiff competition in the Big 12 he has shown the capability to take the ball, make a play and pickup a team that is in need of more leaders. 2007 Dezmon Briscoe was a joy to watch, a supporting player on an explosive offense. 2008 Dezmon Briscoe has brought cautious optimism and excitement in seeing him go from a supporting role to the leading receiver and one of the elite in the league as a true sophomore. 2009 Dezmon Briscoe could emerge a star and position himself for an amazing 4 year run at Kansas that will place him far beyond the reaches of any other in terms of receiving records at the University.
No the Jayhawks don’t have a storied history with football and our counterparts in the league don’t let us forget that. However it has to start somewhere and what I have seen of Dezmon Briscoe makes me believe this is one we will remember for awhile and can be proud of in what we all hope is the beginning to a more consistent and successful Kansas Jayhawk football program.