Wide receiver should be a position of strength for Kentucky football in 2023. However, new offensive coordinator Liam Coen and wide receivers coach Scott Woodward are looking to develop depth this spring. Dekel Crowdus has a big opportunity to begin his redshirt sophomore season.
The Lexington (Ky.) Frederick Douglass product played in 10 games for Kentucky last season logging 71 snaps and reeling in four receptions on six targets for 82 yards. The Wildcats are now hoping Crowdus is ready to make a third year leap. The 5-10, 171-pound wideout can add another element to the offense.
As a recruit, Dekel Crowdus was a top-300 prospect in the class of 2021. That was mostly due to speed. Even though there were no track times on record, the tape showed a player with big-time vertical speed that can be a weapon on go-routes, posts, and deep overs. That speed is showing up early in spring camp.
“Last week in one of our practices, took a 10-yard out and went 70 to the house. The corner kind of slipped and he took it to the house,” Coen told KSR about Crowdus. “He has long speed. Barion [Brown] has some speed, Dane [Key]’s more of a jump ball kind of guy that can work the intermediates, Dekel hopefully can give us some top shelf things. Be able to push the ball down the field.”
When looking at the vertical passing game, Kentucky has not had a consistent vertical threat since Jeff Badet left for Oklahoma after the 2016 season. The passing game had some real tough issues under Eddie Gran and Coen’s only offense in Lexington centered around Wan’Dale Robinson and Josh Ali in the short-to-intermediate passing game. Kentucky figures to be strong in that area again, but the offense could use a real field stretcher. Crowdus may be able to provide that vertical element this season. The local product appears to be locked in.
“Dekel went down to Florida over spring break and was working with some really good football players around the National Football League and college landscape,” Coen said. “So I think he’s taking football really seriously right now and I’m excited to see some of the improvements that he makes throughout this spring to be able to give us some role on this offense.”
According to new Kentucky quarterback Devin Leary, the redshirt sophomore made a quick first impression and is consistently working to carve out a role in this offense.
“I think Dekel is very eager and hungry to take that next step,” Leary said. “He’s one of the first receivers that I met when I first came here on a visit and he told me that he’s just going to work for me. That he’s going to try and be a guy for this team and he’s trying to prove that each and every day. “
Spring practice is all about development. Dekel Crowdus appears to be on the right path and could provide a much-needed element to the offense on Saturdays. Want to help out the running game? Let safeties know you have a receiver that can get behind them for a shot play at any moment.
We’ll see if Crowdus can become that wideout in 2023.