Around the Region
Catch him if you can
|When the ball is in his hands, Dushawn Brown kicks it into another gear.
Photo by Jace Delgado
Some receivers can pick up speed when they get the ball in order to gain a few extra yards.
When Dushawn Brown hits the gas, though, good luck trying to catch him.
The senior Denison standout is coming off an outstanding season in which he became the first receiver to earn the NCAC’s Offensive Player of the Year award. He set program records with 83 catches for 1,397 yards and 13 touchdowns. His 1,807 all-purpose yards set a program mark as well.
Furthermore, his 1,397 receiving yards broke the single-season NCAC mark set by Wittenberg’s Josh McKee in 2010. In Denison’s 45-7 win over Allegheny last season, Brown recorded the eighth-best receiving day in NCAA D-III history with 15 catches for 339 yards and four touchdowns. That came after a 225-yard receiving day against Ohio Wesleyan and 272 yards receiving vs. Wooster.
“He is a special athlete. For our level, he is really fast. His acceleration and ball skills are exceptional,” Denison coach Jack Hatem said. “He will catch a ball in a crossing route and immediately get separation. His strengths are his athleticism and acceleration, more than just flat-out speed. It’s not like he runs by people and catches the deep ball.”
Brown, who finished third in the country in receiving yards last year, looks to make the most of his opportunities once he hauls in a pass.
“I am just trying to make a play after the catch,” he said. “Getting yards after the catch, that’s always our goal.”
It’s about more than just catching and running, though. Brown has worked hard at the mechanics of the position.
“Coach (Braden) Layer has had a huge impact in my game. He’s the first (receivers) coach I have had for more than one year. I am happy to have him back,” Brown said. “He has improved my route running and reading coverages and knowing what to anticipate.”
The 6-foot, 196-pounder is off to another strong start this season. He had 24 catches for 477 yards through the Big Red’s first four games. That puts him on pace to surpass 1,100 receiving yards again this year. His 100-yard receiving game streak came to an end at seven last Saturday in a 10-9 win over Ohio Wesleyan. In blustery conditions, he caught nine passes for 91 yards. More importantly for Brown, Denison moved to 4-0 for the first time since 1985 and ran its winning streak to eight.
“It feels really good. We’ve always had high expectations. This last year, it’s really showing the progress we’ve made,” Brown said. “This year has been wonderful. Everyone is all in and there’s a fantastic atmosphere. I can’t wait...
Joe Sager is a freelance writer based in Pittsburgh. He has written about sports since 1996 for a variety of newspapers, magazines and websites. He first covered D-III football in 2000 with the New Castle (Pa.) News.
2012-14 columnist: Brian Lester
2011 columnist: Dean Jackson
2007-10 columnist: Matt Florjancic
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