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August 17, 2009

Difton already UConn's top WR

For additional news and notes from UConn's annual media day, and the rest of fall camp, head to The Fieldhouse.

STORRS, Conn. -- When it came time for the wide receivers to take their team photo Monday at the Shenkman Center, there was Dwayne Difton, front and center, the football resting in front of his right foot.

A sign of things to come, perhaps?

Difton, a true freshman and the highest-rated player ever to commit to UConn out of high school, said the depth chart revealed to the team after Sunday's scrimmage has him as the No. 1 Z receiver - the team's top wideout.

"That's just going to motivate me because I know people want to see me play ball," he said.

People already want to see a lot of him. He was the second-to-last player off the field when the team's annual "Media Day" concluded, with only quarterback Zach Frazer still lingering by the time Difton grabbed his helmet and headed to the locker room.

By that point, he had done interviews with nearly a dozen reporters, spoke to TV stations and posed for photos for fall preview sections for two local newspapers.

Not bad for a player who's yet to play a down of college football.

"He's as good a route runner as I've seen come in as a freshman," said head coach Randy Edsall, who will publicly release the depth chart after fall camp has concluded. "He's got good hands, he's got courage, he's not afraid to go across the middle and he's got a good background. He's been very well-coached."

A four-star prospect ranked the No. 39 receiver nationally in the Class of 2009, Difton chose UConn over offers from Boston College, Minnesota, Purdue, Rutgers, South Florida and others. He has been hyped as the savoir of a mediocre passing game that, last season, was the 11th-worst in the nation at just 139.7 yards per game.

"When I came here, they told me I have the opportunity to start, so I've had to work hard for it," Difton said. "I stayed humble, did what he said. I'm still in the process of learning the plays, but I'm going to take it from there."

Though he began work with the third team and freshmen when fall camp opened last week, Difton had been seeing time with the second string offense as soon as Friday.

By the time the Huskies took the field Sunday for their first of three scheduled scrimmages -- a practice that lasted 145 downs -- Difton was in the mix as one of Frazer's primary targets.

At 5-foot-11 and 170 pounds, Difton already has the speed and work ethic to be a top receiver.

Now he just has to keep in mind what he learned while playing 7-on-7 with his teammates after arriving earlier this summer.

"The quarterbacks were working hard and just basically letting all the receivers know that they've got to catch the ball," Difton said. "That's all they want. The receivers have to catch the ball. That's a must, a big thing."


Zac Boyer, the editor and publisher of UConnReport.com, covers UConn sports on the Rivals network. He can be reached by e-mail at zacboyer@rivals.com.
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