MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - While the euphoria is still in the air after the University of Memphis' big comeback win over UCF Saturday, perhaps the biggest part of the story is the Tigers did it without their All Conference receiver Damonte Coxie, who’s no longer with the team.
Coxie announced Monday night he will forgo the season to prepare for the NFL Draft.
He thanked former head coach Mike Norvell, who recruited him, and the rest of the coaching staff for developing him into the player he is today, third all-time in receiving yards and touchdowns in UofM history.
What does this means for the Tigers receiving corps going forward?
Head coach Ryan Silverfield says Coxie left the team unexpectedly in the middle of the week leading up to the game, not giving much time for the young receiver corps to prepare for their new, larger roles.
But they clearly showed up and embraced the next man up mentality. Silverfield used the word “proud” a handful of times when talking about the way guys like Calvin Austin, Tajh Washington and Javon Ivory stepped up.
Silverfield says, “I know they were watching extra film because you could tell they were dialed in, locked in. And it showed. I think that’s great. Look, that’s why we always talk about preparing our guys. Even yesterday coming off the field I told our young guys you never know. I said there’s going to be guys on this field right now that didn’t see a single snap that just waved a towel on Saturday that will get significant playing time as the season rolls on. That’s why I encourage them to make sure they’re studying their plays, they’re locked in at practice. Even if they’re not getting second team reps. Those receivers, gosh I know I’ve used the word proud about 6,000 times, but that’s the reality of it.”
The storyline of the season has shifted. At the beginning of the year it was Memphis bringing back so much experience. Now, Brady White is the only skill player who had a role last year.
The Tigers next host Temple Saturday, Oct. 24 at the Liberty Bowl. Kickoff is 11 a.m.
It will be televised on ESPN+.