When Dwayne Difton verbally committed to UConn in January, the four-star dreamboat WR prospect told Rivals.com he could be the "spice" the Huskies' offense had been lacking.
But through his first five career games, Difton has been about as spicy as rutabaga.
Once proclaimed to be the saving grace of the UConn offense (probably only by me), the husky dog version of Moses in a do-rag, Difton so far has been more Jesus Colome: forgettable and irrelevant. After registering six catches for 32 yards in the Huskies' first two games, the obamiconable wideout has zero receptions over the past three and didn't even see the field against the mighty Rams of URI -- likely to shield his youthful, impressionable eyes from the slaughter.
But even when he was on the field, the product wasn't too pretty. Although he managed to accumulate four catches, Difton has the lowest YPC average (8.0) of any UConn player with at least four grabs, and he probably has more bobbled balls and drops than receptions.
But such is life for a freshman wide receiver; even Julio Jones had a few one-catch clunkers at the start of his career (albeit ones that went for at least 13 yards and a touchdown). Although it would be euphoric to see Difton bust out an 100-yard game sometime this season, especially for me and my humongous man-crush, he may never break 30 again for the rest of the season. And while that's disappointing, it's also understandable.
But what's a bit more perplexing is the sudden decent of Kashif Moore, the by-default No. 1 a year ago.
A year ago, Moore led the team in receptions (27) and yards (273) -- is that as painful to read as it is to write? -- and tied for the team-high in receiving touchdowns with ... (sigh) one. This season, though, the redshirt sophomore has only two catches for 21 yards despite seeing the field in all five games.
But Moore's plunge from No. 1 to No. 7, statiscally, may have less to do with his progess (or lack thereof) than it does with the emergence of his brother from another mother with the same last name, Isiah Moore.
Relegated to the scout team most of last year after redshirting in '07, Isiah has usurped the role of go-to Moore this season: The redshirt sophomore currently leads the team with 15 catches for 181 yards, and, along with Brad Kanuch -- who should probably just change his name to Canoe at this point -- is the only WR to have a catch in all five games.
Although Kanuch is probably the most targeted receiver (as evidenced by several cringe-inducing deep throws/near picks to him early on Saturday) and Michael Smith may be the most talented of the new Big Three (Smith, Kanuch, I. Moore), Moore has been the most reliable, with at least four catches and 36 yards the past three games.
And a big reason why could be Cody Endres. Endres was the No. 2 up until late in Week 2, giving he and Moore plenty of time to build a rapport. As long as Endres keeps that role (which, it appears, he will for at least another game) Moore should continue to reap the benefits.
Still, with about seven or eight young guys with similar skill sets waiting in the wings, it's just as likely Moore will end up with a DNP next to his name unless he can keep winning those pre-game rock-paper-scissors tourneys for a starting spot.