Tag Archives: Courtney Dalcourt

NOTEBOOK: Former quarterback Dalcourt requests move to wide receiver

Courtney Dalcourt

By Zach Greenwell

Courtney Dalcourt’s career as a quarterback is over.

And so begins a transition to wide receiver, a spot on Western’s roster that doesn’t have a trio of ample candidates vying for the No. 1 job.

It was finally confirmed Wednesday that Dalcourt will make the switch upon his return from knee surgery — the second one in his short Topper career.

Head Coach Willie Taggart said that he was approached by Dalcourt about making a position switch.

If Dalcourt’s knee continues to heal, Taggart said the Franklin-Simpson High School product may be able to return to the field as early as October.

But the careers of a few other Toppers have officially ended.

Taggart elaborated on the status of  senior linebacker Mike Gothard (multiple concussions) and senior offensive lineman Derrick Elder (back), saying both are done playing football. Both may continue to help out the team in some capacity, Taggart said.

Senior linebacker Chris Bullard, who had minor surgery on his knee during the summer, may be ready to go by next week, and freshman defensive back Jerome Speights was held out of practice today with a tweaked knee, according to Taggart.

On the offensive

Quarterback Kawaun Jakes is listed in the No. 2 slot on the Western depth chart entering fall camp. Jakes started eight games at quarterback in 2009. PHOTO BY PETE RODMAN/HERALD

To be honest, it was a strong day for each of Western’s three quarterback candidates because each did something a little different.

In the 45 minutes media were allowed into practice, we saw junior Matt Pelesasa throw some beautiful deep balls, including a long touchdown strike to receiver Marcus Vasquez.

Sophomore Kawaun Jakes looked much more crisp today and also impressed with a few scrambles, and true freshman Brandon Doughty made several good plays in the pocket.

Doughty, leading a third group, even connected with freshman wide receiver Austin Baker for a touchdown of at least 30 yards on the team’s first-string defense.

He wasn’t immune to the occasional freshman blunder, however, once throwing a quick out-route that was picked off by junior linebacker Tenerio Davis. Had it been a game situation, the play might have been returned for six.

“Every day one of the guys will do something a little better,” Taggart said. “We’re rotating those guys every day — not one guy is starting with the (first-string). We’re grading them every day, and we tell them that depth chart is going to move every single day.”

With several of the veteran wide receivers still dropping passes at a frequent pace, don’t put it past the Toppers to implement some younger guys into the mix.

Taggart has already sang the praises of freshman receiver Donald Campbell, and others like Neil Wilson, Jim Murphree and Baker showed flashes of potential today.

Related: Taggart says Tops are improving at Wednesday’s practice

Taggart said that several younger players at the skill positions have potential and will benefit from increased meeting times once summer school ends Thursday.

“Some of it they can’t do because they just don’t know it,” he said. “We come out here and put them in the plays that they do know, and they’re making plays, and again, just having fun. They still make some bonehead freshman plays too, but it’s good to see them make plays and their teammates get excited about it.”

On a final note, kickers Casey Tinius and Monte Merrick did not look their best Wednesday.

Tinius’ lone field goal and extra point attempts while the media were in attendance both clanked off the uprights, and Merrick’s only field goal try – albeit it a fairly long one (hard to tell from where the media was standing) – came up way short.

Smith, Beard shine on defense

While Wednesday wasn’t Western’s best practice on defense, both junior safety Ryan Beard and sophomore defensive lineman Quanterus Smith managed to receive from praise from the coaching staff.

Beard, who has had a tumultuous career to say the least, has gotten off to a strong start this fall, Taggart said.

Taggart said he had a conversation with Beard this summer and told the safety that he wasn’t the same player Taggart knew during his previous stint at Western.

Beard recorded 41 tackles in 11 games — starting 10 of them — during his redshirt freshman year in 2008, but has struggled through injuries and off-the-field issues since.

“I told him, ‘Things are in the past, and you can’t do anything about them,’” Taggart said. “’You learn from them, and move forward. You’ve got your future ahead of you.’”

Beard said that after his talk with Taggart, something just seemed to click.

“He told me that he wanted the player back that he recruited — that guy with the fire, that guy that made plays all that time and that guy that could really bring something to a defense,” Beard said. “That’s what I’m trying to do lately.”

Video: Ryan Beard talks defense after Wednesday’s practice

Beard was all around the ball during Wednesday’s practice, making plays and forcing fumbles.

“He comes out here and does everything that you ask him to do to the best of his ability, and from a coaching standpoint, there’s nothing more you could ask for,” defensive coordinator Clint Bowen said. “On the flip side, he’s a good athlete with good football instincts and intelligence, and a guy that’s going to have to take a leadership role in the secondary and embrace that, because we’re going to have some young guys back there.”

Beard said he doesn’t expect to slow up soon, because a positive football career is a fragile thing.

“You’re only a play away from being on the sideline again, and I really don’t want that,” Beard said.

Smith, who dominated defensive drills toward the end of practice, was actually in line to be interviewed by the media until he suffered cramps right before the final whistle.

“Q. Smith is a very talented individual,” Bowen said. “He’s a special athlete – there’s no denying that. As he continue to learn how to play the position, he could obviously be a guy that could make plays for us on defense.

“He needs to embrace that role and do that, because his physical skills really are pretty special.”

Bowen said junior defensive linemen Bo Adebayo and Jared Clendenin were also helping Smith anchor the line, but that the group as a whole still has strides to make.

“We’re not the biggest on the inside, so we’ve got to make sure we stay fresh and play hard with those guys in there,” Bowen said. “There are a lot of bodies in there, but some of them need to step up and take control and show that they’re the guy.”

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THE MORNING AFTER: National Signing Day and Five Questions

It hasn’t even been 24 hours since Western signed 26 recruits to play football, and the dust has settled.

First off, I would encourage you to check out our coverage at wkuherald.com, which includes stories on Franklin-Simpson quarterback Courtney Dalcourt, the popularity of signing day, an overall look at the class, and a column by David Harten.

I had the opportunity to stop by the Topper Club last night as Western hosted their first Signing Day celebration.

With just about a month before spring practice starts, an event like the celebration could be the link between the regular season and spring practices that Western needs to keep momentum and excitement building around the program in the offseason.

Like David talks about in his column, we won’t see the fruits of these players’ labor for quite some time. Nonetheless, it forces you to start thinking about spring camp and the storylines that could arise from those practices.

Five questions about the class of 2009:

1) How quickly do we see quarterback Courtney Dalcourt’s impact? It’s already a crowded quarterback race, and Dalcourt just makes it more interesting.

2) With four offensive lineman that average 271 pounds, how do they develop, and how can they improve an offensive line that gave up 25 sacks for 204 yards last season?

3) How do kickers Casey Tinius and Zac Minturn improve in spring camp before the 16th-best place kicker in the country according to ESPN.com, Monte Merrick, arrives on campus and potentially threatens their jobs?

4) According to Scout.com, Western’s 2009 class is the best in the Sun Belt Conference. How long before Western finishes at the top of the Sun Belt Conference standings and earns a bowl bid?

5) Ten years down the road, when people look back, will there be a player from this class that they talk about?

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First glance at the recruiting class

It’s been just two short hours since David Elson announced that he received all 26 letters of intent earlier this afternoon, and we still await his first comments outside of a press release when he meets with the media today at 4 p.m.

The class includes four offensive lineman, averaging 271 pounds. That’s somewhat light by Football Bowl Subdivision standards, but you can expect that average will be up by the fall after these players get on the Western training regimen. Perhaps headlining the offensive linemen that have signed is Sean Conway from Father Ryan High School in Nashville. He received an offensive game grade of 91 percent in 2008, as well as being the 44th rated offensive guard in the U.S. by ESPN.com.

As for those prospects from Kentucky, plenty of notable tidbits about those players to go around. Wide receiver Jamarielle Brown led a resurgent Lone Oak High School team and rushed for 922 yards and 17 touchdowns on 123 carries. Quarterback Courtney Dalcourt is rated as the sixth-best prospect in the state by Rivals.com.

Even kicker Monte Merrick, from Bell County High School in Pineville, Ky., brings quite a resume to Western. He kicked a 56-yard field goal in 2008 which stands as the fourth-longest field goal in state history. Merrick is the 16th-rated kicker in the U.S. by Scout.com.

Elson was also able to snag two recruits from Texas, a state that is coveted as a recruiting paradise in college football. Wide receiver Will Adams is the sixth-rated receiver in the Dallas area by the Dallas Morning News. Safety Denton Allmon from Irving, Texas is also the 181st rated safety in the U.S. by ESPN.com.

– Andrew Robinson

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Elson, Toppers land another recruit

In a break from the basketball madness (not that I’m okay with that), David Elson has been cleaning up on the recruiting ranks, especially on the local level, and his latest show of assertiveness on the Kentucky gridiron could be his biggest of the off-season.

Early reports say the Toppers got Franklin-Simpson athlete Courtney Dalcourt to commit, putting to rest a long and arduous process for the talented prospect. It is also a great triumph in the recruiting world for Elson, as he beat out Football Bowl Subdivision heavyweights
Georgia Tech, Louisville, Kentucky and Stanford.

Being able to get top-level players is the first step in being able to compete early and often. And Elson is doing that to the fullest extent.

We won’t know all of what Elson thinks or expects from Dalcourt until Feb. 5, when Elson is officially allowed to comment on recruits after they have signed their National Letter of Intent on or after that day. Western has announced that the program will be having a National Signing Day Celebration in the club level of Smith Stadium. The event is open to the public.

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