Dez Fitzpatrick focuses Louisville teammates as a leader

samdraut

Dez Fitzpatrick has been a leader for Louisville football’s receiving core.

In his fifth year at Louisville, Fitzpatrick is the most experienced receiver for a team preparing for the 2020 season.

As a redshirt freshman, Fitzpatrick played with Heisman winner Lamar Jackson, finishing second on the team with 45 catches and 699 yards. The 6-foot-2 receiver’s nine touchdown catches tied a freshman record and he was named All-ACC honorable mention.

When Louisville had a dismal 2018 season that included the firing of former head coach Bobby Petrino, Fitzpatrick was once again a leading contributor for the receiving core. He was second on the team with 31 receptions for 422 yards and three touchdowns.

In Scott Satterfield’s first season as Louisville’s head coach, Fitzpatrick started slowly in the new offense. He had just four receptions for 42 yards through Louisville’s first three games.

The reduction in production didn’t last long.

Fitzpatrick broke out with seven receptions for 133 yards and a score against Florida State, the first of three consecutive games where he surpassed 100 receiving yards.

Fitzpatrick had five receptions for 125 yards and two touchdowns in Louisville’s victory over Wake Forest, the program’s first road victory over a ranked team since 2011.

As a redshirt senior, the Michigan native’s experience is an asset for teammates.

“I try to give them certain sources and resources they can use,” Fitzpatrick said. “Trying to be a good leader and a good role model.”

With over 100 receptions for 1,756 yards and 18 touchdowns in his career, Fitzpatrick’s role goes beyond on-field production in his final season of college football.

Louisville wide receivers coach Gunter Brewer said Fitzpatrick recently spoke to the team about his experiences and journey as a college football player.

“He gives you so much more than production on the field,” Brewer said. “Around the building, being a student of the game, trying to show the young guys whether it is in the locker room or in meetings about how it is to be a professional, how to act the right way, how to practice the right way.”

Fitzpatrick has helped keep teammates focused on days schedule around Zoom calls and virtual film sessions.

“I always try to tell the young guys that this is just for right now,” Fitzpatrick said. “I try to tell them that it has been different in the past because there wasn’t corona in the past.”

Fitzpatrick admitted to being a little harder on one teammate in particular.

Christian Fitzpatrick, Dez’s brother, joined Louisville in the spring semester as a freshman receiver.

Dez Fitzpatrick said he wants his brother to learn the game of college football on his own, but also intervenes to help as well. 

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