Note: This story first appeared in the Oxford Citizen as part of 15 in 2015, a look at standout football players heading into the upcoming high school football season.
By John Davis, Oxford Citizen
Busy barely starts to describe the summer DK Metcalf has had already. Oxford’s top threat at wideout is constantly on the run, and seemingly on a plane from coast to coast.
From working out with the Chargers each day in the weight room, to 7-on-7 work on Monday nights to the various camps and combines he has attended, Metcalf has had little time to himself.
What the almost 6-foot-4 Metcalf does with football is only part of his summer work. He is also busy playing summer basketball and this past weekend, he competed in the New Balance Track & Field Championships as a member of the 4×200 meter relay team.
“It’s been real fun. To know that I’m doing more than the next person or the person behind me, that I never get a day off and I’m always working, it’s just real fun to me,” Metcalf said, who traveled to Baltimore to take part in the Rivals 100 Five Star Challenge at the start of the month. “It was fun to meet new players and see other players do their thing.”
Metcalf, who is committed to play for Ole Miss, is rated as the top player in the state of Mississippi for the 2016 signing class. He is also considered one of the top overall players, and wide receivers, in the nation. Of the things he did the best at the Rivals Challenge, Metcalf said it was putting a scare into the defensive backs just before he ran his routes.
“Neither of the (cornerbacks) pressed me at the line,” Metcalf said. “They all played off. I thought I did real well coming off the ball and catching.”
The coach who was instructing the wide receivers praised Metcalf’s body control. The recruiting staff ranked Metcalf as the fourth-best performing wide receiver at the Challenge. His “surprising” speed allowed him to stretch the field time and time again, according to the analysts, while his size made it nearly impossible for him to be defended by some smaller defensive backs.
Metcalf will get another chance to showcase his skills at The Opening Finals in Eugene, Oregon July 7-10. Outside of showing his ability to the rest of the nation, he said he was planning to recruit more wide receivers and defensive backs to Ole Miss for the 2016 season.
“I just thank God that he has blessed me with this ability and to just to different places and to meet different people with different talents from across the nation,” Metcalf said. “It’s an honor.”
This past track season was a very successful one for Metcalf as he finished third in the 110 hurdles at the MHSAA Class 5A state meet. Staying in running shape has benefited from an endurance standpoint, he said.
“Last year I had a little problem with getting tired on offense and I think track has helped me with that and now I’m out there running around and I don’t get tired anymore,” said Metcalf, who ran the anchor leg in the 4×200 and helped the team finish third in the Emerging Elite category. “We just did a 95-yard drive and I was ready to do another one.”
The 2015 season will be Metcalf’s final one as a Charger. He has thought about his high school career coming to an end, but it hasn’t hit home.
“I know we have to win (5A title) for the city of Oxford, for Coach (Johnny) Hill with it being his last year. We’ve been there three times and still haven’t come away with any hardware,” Metcalf said. “We have to step up. We want to step off the bus and everybody say ‘Dang, that’s Oxford.’ We just want to dominate everybody. We don’t want to take a day off or a play off. This is the first year I’ve sweated in the weight room.”
It may be hard to believe that a wide receiver who caught 19 touchdowns last season and 79 passes for just over 1,200 yards has yet to play his best game at Oxford, but Metcalf was positive he had more to give.
“Our offense is all coming back and we have no doubt that we’re the best offense in the nation,” Metcalf said. “It’s going to be fun.”
Hill raved about Metcalf, both as a player and as a young man and leader for the Chargers.
“He’s a great guy and fun to be around. What you see is what you get,” Hill said. “He handles himself extremely well. The thing you have to say about DK is he practices everyday and he comes and gets better everyday. We preach that but that’s hard to do in August when it’s hot and you’ve been out there and you’re tired and soaking wet with sweat. He keeps working and I think that makes him a cut above a lot of kids, other receivers.”
One of the things most under appreciated about Metcalf, at least from Hill’s perspective, is how well Metcalf blocks during running plays.
“He blocks his tail off now. I really can’t say enough about his blocking ability because I’ve had receivers to where their job was to catch the football and not to block. Well his job is to be a complete football player and do whatever it takes to help this team,” Hill said. “He runs with the ball well and he’s going to make that play for you. He catches well. I also have no qualms about putting him over at defense to cover a team’s best receiver. And we will do that if it dictates. Of course we can’t take him off the offensive side completely, but we sure can give him some reps over there if we need it.”
Metcalf has shown the ability to streak down the sideline as well as run a bubble screen to perfection. The thing he may do better than anything else is catching the ball at its highest point, Hill said.
“He’s excellent. He’s got such long arms and a great wingspan,” Hill added. “He has great body control. He can get his foot down and make a one-handed catch if that’s what it takes. He’s very good and of course Jack (Abraham) is very good at putting it in that one spot to where he can get it and the other guy can’t. It takes both of them to be able to do that.”