D.K. Metcalf could have ignited the NCAA last season.
The son of former Rebel and NFL offensive lineman and NCAA All-American Terrence Metcalf had the potential to set college football ablaze with his elite physicality and dynamic pass-catching ability. But fans were left wondering “what if?”
Last year, Metcalf came out on a tear, starting his first two collegiate games with a touchdown in each. Those games were not cupcakes, either; his scores came against Florida State and Alabama. Metcalf’s freshman season came to an abrupt halt after a foot injury against Wofford ended his season 10 games too short.
When asked about how concerns surrounding his foot could affect his play this year, Metcalf responded with the type of confidence one should expect from one of the SEC’s most dangerous wideouts.
“It really did not hurt me emotionally. I just looked at is as a time to get better on my mental game,” Metcalf said. “I watched a lot of film and made some connections with the training room people, and they just helped me get back to 100 percent.”
The foot injury should not be a concern for Metcalf this season. He feels healthy and the team doctors agree he’s ready to see the field again.
“It’s a dangerous sport, and I lay my body on the line everyday,” Metcalf said. “I was told I can’t think about the foot”.
The coaching staff, led by promoted offensive line coordinator Matt Luke, has spent plenty of time preparing this year’s group of receivers for the season. And the players have run with it.
“We have all been working. The defense is pushing us everyday, and the offense is pushing the defense even harder,” Metcalf said.
Ole Miss receivers coach Jacob Peeler, described by Metcalf as “a real technical coach,” has wasted no time making his mark on the younger players, teaching them new releases and new ways to manipulate their hands to create separation from defenders.
Keep in mind, Peeler has plenty of athleticism to work with. Metcalf possesses all the physical tools needed to be a consistent passing threat. In high school, Metcalf set school records in the triple jump, 110m hurdles, 4x100m Relay, and the 4x200m relay. And try not to forget, he set those records with a 6-foot 4-inch frame, now weighing just over 225 pounds.
A four-star recruit out of high school, he received both US Army and MaxPreps All-American honors and earned Co-MVP in the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Classic. His pedigree was clear. Having a former Ole Miss football star for a father probably helped.
Metcalf was ranked the fifth-best player in Mississippi out of high school and the 14th-best wide receiver in the country. As a senior at Oxford High School, he racked up 94 catches for 1,455 yards and 49 touchdowns.
This year, perhaps more than ever, the Rebels’ offense needs Metcalf’s production. The change of coaching staff could result in some initial adversity, but fresh faces could also bring good fortune. Recently hired offensive coordinator Phil Longo’s previous team, Sam Houston State, set a national record for offensive yards last year. That has to be music to Metcalf’s ears.
This season could make or break Rebel football for years to come. If Ole Miss hopes to achieve success, whatever coach Luke defines it as, it will need to rely heavily on Metcalf.