January 11, 2005

What's the catch with D.J. Hord?

SAN ANTONIO, Texas - A lot of the talk so far this week at the national all-star game in San Antonio, Texas, has been centered on the play of standout receivers like Patrick Turner and DeSean Jackson.

But Kansas City (Mo.) Rockhurst receiver D.J. Hord has more than held his own throughout the first two days of practices and has more than proven that he deserves to be ranked as one of the nation's top 11 receivers.

"It's been tough and hard work the first two days," Hord, who is a very well put together 6-foot-1 and 195 pounds, said. "It's been a real honor to come out here and compete against the best of the best in the nation, and I think I've done a great job so far.

"It's great to work with all these talented players, and this game will do nothing but help me get better when I'm ready to make the jump to the next level."

So what has Hord done to impress so much?

"I've been using my size and my speed to make a lot of plays," Hord said. "I've worked hard to add some weight and keep my speed where it's at. Now that I'm out there on the field with the top guys, I can see that I know that I belong with them. I can definitely be a deep threat, but I also hope to show people that I could also be a good possession receiver."

The biggest catch with Hord is where he's going to end up. Hord said he's narrowed his choices to three schools - Kansas State, Wisconsin and Notre Dame were the order of the schools as he mentioned them on Monday. But he also isn't going to tip his hand at all, but it's apparent from talking to him that Notre Dame, where he visited this past weekend, and Kansas State are the two best bets.

"After the visit this weekend, I'd say it's about the same as it was before with my interest with Notre Dame," Hord said. "It's not really changed that much. I like the education part mainly. A degree from Notre Dame means a lot. That's pretty much a big thing with them.

But the change in coaching staff is also something that Hord said has become a positive to him, especially now that he knows that they're going to be throwing the ball around even more with coach Weis in charge.

"They're going to bring in a new system with coach Weis, and he likes to throw the ball around," Hord said. "Plus, I know that Notre Dame needs receivers, and I could come in and contribute pretty quickly."

The education factor that Hord talked about is battling hard over numerous local ties to Kansas State and the fact that Wildcat coach Bill Snyder has been involved with his recruitment since day one.

"I actually like Kansas State a lot," Hord said. "Coach (Greg) Peterson and coach Snyder are two great guys, and I've dealt with those guys throughout the recruiting process. I feel they have a nice little family atmosphere around there, and I feel comfortable there.

Hord said he has several teammates, mainly Noah Strozier, and quite a few classmates that are at K-State now and are going to Manhattan in the future. And he's getting a lot of recruiting pitches from them for him to end up a Wildcat.

"I have a couple of guys up there now from our team, and I talk to them quite often," Hord said. "They made it pretty clear where they want me to go. I had a great time with everybody on my visit, and a lot of people in Kansas City want me to end up there."

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