University of Louisville wide receiver Dez Fitzpatrick was targeted early and often in Louisville’s spring game on Saturday.
The redshirt freshman from Farmington Hills, Mich. did not disappoint. Fitzpatrick emerged as one of quarterback Lamar Jackson’s top targets, catching nine passes for 176 yards and two touchdowns. He was targeted 12 times during the game.
The Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Jackson will have to rely on a new group of receivers this year after the departures of key receivers James Quick, Cole Hikutini, and Jamari Staples- who combined for 131 catches and 16 receiving touchdowns last season.
The timing between Fitzpatrick and Jackson seemed sharp at the spring game, but Jackson says that the pair have a lot more work to do. Jackson says that he has been impressed with Fitzpatrick’s ability so far this spring.
“He runs his routes crisp,” Jackson said. “He’s got great hands and he knows how to use his body to make himself open when he’s not really open. That’s all you want in a receiver.”
Fitzpatrick was recruited as a four-star prospect out of high school. His last in-game action came in 2015 as a senior at Waterford Mott High School where he caught 60 passes for 1,350 yards and 25 touchdowns. Fitzpatrick decided to redshirt last season because of Louisville’s depth at the wide receiver position.
He says that his redshirt season allowed him to prepare for the opportunities that he will have this season.
“Since my redshirt year I’ve really focused on the playbook, learning the offense and learning to play fast while trying to transition from high school to college,” Fitzpatrick said. “That redshirt year I got bigger, faster, stronger, learned the playbook, and learned how to do everything at the college level.”
Fitzpatrick’s best play of the spring game came on an 80-yard touchdown reception from Jackson. Jackson hit Fitzpatrick in stride and Fitzpatrick was able to shift his way into the end zone on the explosive play.
Fitzpatrick says that playing with a quarterback of Jackson’s caliber makes his transition from high school to college that much easier.
“All I have to do is focus on my routes,” Fitzpatrick said. “If I beat my man, I know the ball is going to be in the exact spot its supposed to be."
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