(Photo: BRIANNA PACIORKA/NEWS SENTINEL)
Diana C. Nearhos, USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee
DaShon Bussell has become the No. 1 receiver at Catholic High
Even without the drawl the rest of them have, the senior fits right in with the Fighting Irish. Most quarterbacks don’t care where their 6-foot-2 speedy receiver comes from and Jack Sompayrac is no different. And quarterback sees more than that in Bussell.
“He’s such a special talent you don’t see every day,” Sompayrac said. “He’s really made this team better since he’s gotten here. He’s so athletic. And personality wise, he adds another dimension to our team.”
He was referring to Bussell’s goofiness that brings some levity to the team. But Bussell’s biggest impact has been on the offense.
Bussell, who is considering offers from Iowa and Tennessee so far, has caught 40 percent of Sompayrac’s passes and he has four of the team’s five passing touchdowns. His 110 receiving yards and two touchdowns last week against Cleveland were the most for any Irishman in a game this season. He tries not to worry about stats, though.
“I try to let the stats come to me,” he said. “I found in the past that I thought about it too much and wouldn’t necessarily be focused in on the now. So, I’m really focusing in on the now.”
It’s been working for Bussell in his first four weeks with Catholic. He’s become a “go-to guy” for coach Steve Matthews.
“He’s electric on the field,” Matthews said. “He’s typically the fastest guy out there and he’s really improved running routes. He can make cuts going at full speed and that’s somewhat rare.”
Bussell came in with a strong reputation and Matthews cautioned against wanting too much too quickly. Matthews focused him on offense to start and now that Bussell’s head isn’t spinning, is working in more defense, where Bussell has shown potential as well. Catholic is a bigger school and Tennessee 6A football is a higher level than he was playing in Fort Wayne.
Players are bigger and stronger here. But that’s what Bussell wanted. When he and his mom moved back to Knoxville to be around family while she goes through some health issues, they looked for a chance for him to play football at a higher level.
He had already talked to Big 10 schools while playing in Indiana, but moving down here has opened conversations in the SEC. Bussell isn’t sure Tennessee would have offered if he had stayed. He has been to UT twice – it’s a lot easier now that he lives right here – and Iowa once, but wants to go back to both to learn more about the schools.