Walk-on redshirt freshman wide receiver Dalton Carnes quickly became a UH fan favorite. I spent some time with him earlier this week, learning more about his story and how he plays the game. GoCoogs featured his improbable rise in a profile Wednesday night. Today, we look at his consistency and how he plays the game.
Then, enjoy Dalton in his own words in a YouTube video.
the daily #87 | 10/26/2023 | Archives
Getting reps on special teams the first few weeks, Dalton Carnes had his first offensive snaps in week three against TCU. He has caught 12 of the 14 balls thrown his way, a remarkable 85.7% catch rate. I asked him what are some of the techniques he employs, especially with balls like the photo above.
“You work on catching it away from your body,” Carnes said. “(WR coach Daikiel) Shorts emphasizes pinkies together. If your hands are apart, it will just go right through. He emphasizes having your eyes through the catch and on low balls, having your pinkies together.”
The receiving corps does lowball drills every day. They believe it’s their job to “make your quarterback right,” Carnes emphasized. “You can’t expect him to put it on your chest at every moment. If he puts it in your vicinity, you should make him right.”
He believes his baseball skills have helped him be a better receiver. As a centerfielder, tracking balls “100% translates to tracking the football. Catching balls over your shoulder, that definitely translates,” Carnes told me.
But baseball’s emotional aspect has helped him be more consistent as a football player. When he considered transferring or not getting the ball thrown his way, Carnes said baseball has helped him be more steady.
“(Baseball) helps with football. You’re not going to take the emotional rollercoaster of being up and down,” Carnes said. “I try to keep a steady head. I think I’m a really level-headed player, I don’t get too hot or too cold.”
As a smaller receiver – Carnes is 5’9″ while UH’s three starters are 6′ to 6’3″ – he knows the details matter much more for him. He won’t be the most physical receiver but works to ensure defensive backs can’t get their hands on him. His speed gives him an advantage, but only if he’s precise in his technique.
“Routes are drawn up at certain depths because they get open at certain depths versus that defense. You have to make sure you’re at the right depth.”