Nathaniel Dell and Clayton Tune have built a strong chemistry together
Nathaniel Dell is coming off a freshman season where he led Houston in both receptions, with 29, and receiving yards, with 428, despite not having a chance to truly develop a rhythm with quarterback Clayton Tune.
Despite a productive freshman year, the 5-foot-10-inch sophomore receiver, nicknamed Tank by his mother because of the big head he had as a baby, is confident that 2020 was just a start and that he can elevate his game to another level this season.
Dell has set lofty expectations for himself in 2021, striving to take a massive step forward in terms of increasing his production from the shortened 2020 season.
10 or more touchdowns. At least 50 receptions. 1,200 receiving yards. These are just some of the goals that Dell has his eyes on accomplishing during the 2021 football season.
“I set high goals for myself that most people will doubt me on,” Dell said. “But I set them for myself so that I can attack them every day and help myself get better, help the younger guys get better and push my teammates.”
While Dell spent the spring and summer focusing on getting off the line cleanly and being able to effectively hand fight the defensive back, he put the biggest emphasis on improving his chemistry with Tune.
Tune has witnessed firsthand the kind of elite receiver Dell is capable of becoming.
“(Dell’s) a super explosive athlete,” Tune said. “He can run really fast and make real quick fast cuts. He just makes it look easy. And on top of that, you pair that with really good hands and that makes for a great receiver.”
But with the 2020 season interrupted on a weekly basis due to COVID-19 issues, the 6-foot-3-inch quarterback never really had an opportunity to develop a rhythm and routine with Dell before.
So, the quarterback-wider receiver duo made it a priority to spend as much time as possible together over the offseason to build that timing and chemistry between themselves.
“Me and Tune’s chemistry has been great,” Dell said. “We’ve been working (together) every Monday through Saturday from the spring all through the summer.”
The duo believes the timing and chemistry they worked so hard on building over the offseason has laid the foundation for both of them to make major improvements from 2020. They both have hopes that it will play a big role in the Cougars’ goal of winning the American Athletic Conference title.
Tune and Dell expect all the work they have put in to be on full display every Saturday this fall.
“The chemistry’s there,” Dell said. “We’re ready to roll.”