Spencer launches receiver skills
When he first came to UH, Daniel Spencer didn’t know what position he was going to play.
The coaching staff placed him at a number of positions, including running back — his position in high school — inside receiver, outside, then back to the inside, a position that has allowed him to wreck havoc on opposing defenses.
Spencer has developed into one of the Cougars’ most explosive players, as his 34 receptions and 562 yards are both second-best on the team.
“To his credit, he busted his butt in the spring, in the summer, and has really rose to the occasion. His production as far as his speed, his explosiveness, has pretty much been night and day compared to last season,” said receivers coach Brandon Middleton.
“Last year, he looked like a running back trying to play receiver. Now, he’s looking like a legit receiver. If I looked at him this year for the first time, I wouldn’t have known he was initially a running back.”
It not only took Spencer a while to get acclimated to the new position, but also the tempo of playing at the next level.
“The biggest thing for me was to get used to the speed of the game. It was obviously a whole lot faster at the college level versus high school,” Spencer said. “There were dudes who came in that were like 25, and I was just 17.”
Since then, Spencer has been a receiver whose play-making abilities have made him a threat by allowing him to turn a negative play into a positive.
One of his decorated plays of the season was when he took a screen pass, ran across field and evaded defenders en route to a 41-yard touchdown against BYU on Oct. 19.
“He’s one of the — if not the – most explosive player we have on offense,” Middleton said. “That’s why we have to continue to try and get him the ball, and get him the ball in space.”
Spencer’s explosiveness has opened up plays for teammate sophomore Deontay Greenberry, and he serves as a mentor for Greenberry as well.
“He played as an inside receiver pretty much since I’ve been here. He’s got an extra year under his belt and has really helped me out,” Greenberry said. “He lets me know that we’re always going to be a target because, no matter what the play is, you’re always going to be looking for the ball because, as an inside receiver, (we’re) one of the first reads that the quarterback has.”
In the Cougars’ first game this season against Southern, Spencer’s name was called for a reverse handoff, which he took 45 yards for a touchdown.
He said it took him back to his days in high school.