April 29, 2011

Multi-talented Milford Mill receiver dreaming big

Katrell Myers wears a different hat for each season. In the fall, the Milford Mill rising senior dons a helmet and pads; in the winter, he laces up the Jordans; and in the spring he puts on the short shorts and track shoes.

Yes, the 6-foot-3, 175-pound Myers is one of those gifted three-sport jocks who seem to excel in every athletic endeavor they try. As a deep-threat wide receiver, Myers led the Millers' offense with 35 catches for almost 700 yards and five touchdowns. As a small forward/shooting guard, he averaged 8 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals and 3 assists. And as a sprinter, he's clocking in at 11.3-seconds in the 100-meter and 22 seconds in the 200.


"It takes a lot of hard work," Myers said. "But it's not that bad because each sport helps with the other. In basketball, rebounding drills help with jump balls and being physical in football. And all the footwork drills I do for football help me as a ball-handler and guard. Then track helps my speed and quickness in both [football and basketball]."

Myers is rather self-effacing, but he has plenty of admirers who aren't quite as reserved with their praise. His football coach, Reggie White, has Myers pegged for stardom.

"Oh my," White said. "His athleticism is just unreal. He's a baller in everything he tries. I mean, he wants it. And how about this? He's 6-3 and runs a 4.39 [40-yard dash]. The kid is unbelievably gifted."

Now, there are a number of three-sport athletes in any given high school, but rarely are they good enough to earn a Division-I scholarship … in more then one sport. Myers, on the other hand, has the chance to pull a Julius Peppers and go D-I in either basketball or football. He's already received numerous camp invitations and letters from both.

So which will it be?

"I really like basketball, but I think I can get a football scholarship easier, so that's what I'm concentrating on," Myers said. "Around here, in Baltimore, it's a lot of competition for a basketball scholarship. But there's more opportunities I think in football."

Myers admits, however, that basketball is his natural game. He called it "more exciting" then football, adding that no-look passes and breakaway dunks are more his style. But that's not to say he doesn't enjoy stretching the field and hauling in touchdown passes.

"I like basketball more, but I've always loved football, too," Myers said. "I've been playing football since I was 10 and I do want to play in college. I've never missed a year of football, and I don't plan on starting now."

Well, he did miss one year…sort of. Instead of playing for Milford Mill his freshman year Myers decided to stick with Pop Warner ball for one last season.

When he finally decided to come out for the high school team as a sophomore the coaches were wondering what took him so long.

"When I saw him practice, I knew we had another great one," White said. "But I didn't want to take him away from the jayvee team as a 10th grader, so we left him down there. But then after I saw him play [in a game] I was like, 'Why don't we [the varsity] have him right now? (laughs). As soon as their season ended it was a done deal. He was mine."

White took full advantage of Myers' skills. Although Milford is traditionally a running team they decided to open up the offense last year, throwing the ball over 50 percent of the time.

Myers, of course, was the go-to guy.

The first time he stepped on the field for a preseason scrimmage, offensive coordinator Greg Watkins immediately tested his new toy. He sent the big receiver deep on a straight fly route, and Myers proceeded to burn the cornerback for a 50-yard touchdown.

"He was our most explosive player," Watson said. "He could do everything. He had speed, he had great hands, he wasn't afraid of contact and he had great moves."


Myers continued to shine in the regular season, highlighted by a stellar catch against Franklin, who went on to play in the class 3A championship game. On a play called "shotgun 4 shake 64" Myers ran a fly and took their talented defensive backs to task, despite the Indians deep cover-2 zone. He proceeded to split the secondary, leap over a safety, haul in the pass and trot into the end zone for a 73-yard score.

"He'd just make big play after big play after big play," said his teammate and fellow receiver Ange Nmah. "And if he wasn't open, he'd try to create opportunities for the rest of us by drawing defenders and being like a decoy. So he was a great teammate and unselfish, too."

That's not to say Myers is without his flaws. He readily admits his route running needs work. Sure, Myers can burn you deep, but short slants, hitch routes and crossing patters aren't his forte. He also could stand to improve his field awareness and add a little muscle mass.

But those same critiques surrounded another great Milford Mill receiver, who graduated two years ago. Tyrek Cheeseboro overcame those nagging deficiencies and went on to earn a full ride to Maryland.

Myers, according to the Millers' coaches, has that same ability.

"He can be right there with the Brandon McDonalds and Tyrek Cheeseboros of the world," Watson said. "He's pretty close speed-wise to Tyrek and he's just as explosive. He has big-time potential."

Myers was a sophomore on jayvee when Cheeseboro lit up the field as a senior. Myers distinctly remembers watching the varsity games, believing he could one day be the next big thing out of Milford.

"I think I compare good with Tyrek as far as catching and speed," Myers said. "He had more experience then me, and he knew what to do out there more, but as far as skills I think I stack up well. I think I can play college football at a high level. I think I can play D-I."

The talent is certainly there. But if the gridiron ordeal doesn't work out, well, there's always the hardwood.

Even White, a football coach, concedes Myers has a sick crossover move.

"You know, Katrell is going to get his looks in football," White said. "But he can definitely play basketball, too. He's blessed. The [athletic] world is open to him. He just has to take advantage of it."



 

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