For De’Quan Hampton, the wait for the spotlight was worth it

first_imgAs the band boomed the Fight Song for the final time of the night, senior wide receiver De’Quan Hampton clambered up the director’s ladder and shoved the sword in his left fist into the air. Hampton bobbed up and down, shimmying and bouncing to the beat. On the field, his teammates cheered for him — “Yeah, ‘Quan! Get it, man!” It lasted for a minute, this moment in the spotlight. But for a transfer senior who’s seen little of the field and even less of the endzone, it was a moment to soak in. And after a 36-14 victory of UCLA — which he could take 12 points worth of credit for — Hampton was loving every second of it.“It was amazing,” Hampton said. “It felt like a dream.”Hampton’s role this season had been fairly secure — playing back-up behind the talented wide receiver unit of junior JuJu Smith-Schuster and senior Darreus Rogers, scrapping for minutes where he could get them. In the first 10 games of this season, he snagged four catches for a total of 22 yards, ranking 12th in team receiving yards behind redshirt sophomore Jalen Greene.But the UCLA game — like all rivalry games, tempestuous and unpredictable — called for a hero. And for three plays and a handful of minutes, Hampton became that player for the Trojans.It takes a perfect combination of variables to create a breakout game. For Hampton, that was a hip flexor and his quarterback’s trust.Smith-Schuster was hurting from the first drive of the game. He roped in a 28-yard catch to bring the Trojans to the 1-yard line, and sophomore running back Ronald Jones punched it in to tie the game with a typical USC offensive play. But in the second quarter, redshirt freshman quarterback Sam Darnold threw an interception and Smith-Schuster, favoring his hip, limped into the locker room. The Bruins scored off a 7-yard touchdown pass, and suddenly the Trojans were trailing 14-7 in their rival’s home stadium.They needed someone to step up, and Hampton did it in style.He touched the ball three times in total, despite coming second behind Smith-Schuster in receiving yards for the game. But those three touches changed the momentum of the final game of conference play.The first time, Hampton ran his route down the left side of the field, stutter stepped, then lept into the air and snatched the ball from over the outstretched arms of his defender. Hampton had 6 inches on his defender, but the lofted toss required trust from Darnold that his receiver could make the play. For Darnold, it wasn’t hard to trust Hampton.“[Our coaches] really preach giving our guys a chance when they have one-on-one coverage,” Darnold said. “I think you’re never wrong throwing it to a guy one-on-one, especially when he’s in the position [Hampton] was. I always feel great throwing it up to them.” His second touch was a simple 6-yard pass that happened to be in the end zone, and happened to put the Trojans up 30-14 in a momentum-swinging third quarter. And the third was a 14-yard catch for a first down at the 50-yard line. Together, the three plays doubled Hampton’s season yardage. For head coach Clay Helton, this type of break-out play is necessary for the team to continue the success of their seven-game winning streak. “You have kids who have just been dying for their opportunity and they made the most of it,” Helton said. “That’s what a team is. You hope that when one guy goes down, another one has prepared himself to make those types of plays.”Saturday’s success was a welcome change for Hampton. Last year, he expressed frustration with the one-track focus of former quarterback Cody Kessler, who completed three times as many passes to Smith-Schuster than to any other receiver. It was a long season for Hampton. He had transferred from Long Beach Community College as a junior  and caught the ball only 15 times in his first year as a Trojan, and this year was going even more slowly until the game against UCLA. But Hampton said that after this year, he trusted that he would have his moment.“I didn’t doubt it, because I’ve seen chances come for other players,” Hampton said. “So I just say that means just keep grinding, because my chance might come this game or the next or the next. I just have to be ready.” When that moment came, he was an easy guy to cheer for, Darnold said. He describes the senior as a “goofy guy,” the type to lead dance parties on and off the field, cheering on his teammates from the sideline no matter how many minutes he played.The party in the Rose Bowl ended eventually, with Trojan fans booming out chants and singing along to “Tusk” as UCLA fans trickled out of the stands. After the final notes of the Fight Song rang out, Hampton climbed down from the ladder, joining his teammates in the locker room and basking in a flock of reporters’ cameras and recorders pressed into his face. That might be it for his moment. As a senior, he’ll have one, at most three, games left with the team. But if that’s the note he ends on — two touchdowns and a rivalry win — well, that’s just alright with him.“It was worth the wait,” Hampton said. “As much frustration as I had being in the position I was, waiting for the opportunity, when it came it’s all worth it.”last_img read more

Inter officially approaches Manchester United for Lukaku

first_imgItalian club, Inter Milan are eager to pen-down Belgian top goal scorer, Romelu Lukaku from Manchester United.The striker has emerged as Inter’s prime target ahead of the upcoming season.Antonio Conte is has long admiration for the centre-forward and he tried signing him for Chelsea but there were no substantive approach from Chelsea.Romelu Lukaku is the subject of a formal bid and move for Inter Milan who have outcast Argentine, Mauro Icardi.Inter Milan sporting director, Piero Ausilio has met with Manchester United’s officials over the likely transfer of the big Belgian striker.The English club is reported to be demanding for £75 million outright cash with no installationsHowever, the Italian giants are reported to be offering a two-year loan offer worth £40 million with an option to buy after the third year for £25 millionAfter the meeting, Ausilio disclosed:“It was an official approach between two important clubs. We’ll see what happens. All the players we’re following are targets we’ve agreed with Antonio Conte. We want to satisfy his request within certain financial parameters.”The Manchester United striker has made it clear to United top hierarchy that he is hopeful of departing Old Trafford after being told he will not be the teams first-choice striker in the upcoming season.The Belgian goal machine is in contract with the Red Devils until 2022 with an option for an extra year after joining from Everton for £75 million.last_img read more

England Golf coaches rewarded for Ôoutstanding contribution’

first_img Five golf coaches who go the extra mile to support their players and squads have been recognised by England Golf with new awards to mark their outstanding contribution during 2014. Mark Day from Hertfordshire, Ryan Fenwick from Sussex, Lysa Jones and Graham Walker from Yorkshire, and Andrew Nicholson from Co Durham, are all coaches to England Golf squads. The received their awards at this week’s England Golf Coaching Conference at St George’s Park, the FA’s national football centre. Now, all five will be considered for the “Coach of the Year” award which will be announced in April 2015. England Golf Performance Director Nigel Edwards commented: “We know that the players who succeed have talent and ability, together with resilience and the desire to work hard and to achieve. “But we all also know that around successful players there is always a team of people who encourage and guide and support them during both the good and bad times.  So, for the first time this year, England Golf is recognising individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to coaching during 2014. “The nominations were received from volunteers and managers, the people who see the work behind the scenes, and the awards are being presented to coaches who have gone the extra mile to support the players and squads they are working with.” The award winners: Mark Day of Whipsnade Park Golf Club, Hertfordshire Coach to the England Golf Thames Valley U16 girls’ squad Mark has transformed the junior talent pathway for girls and boys within Hertfordshire. He established The Futures Tour and then worked with others in the county to develop the pathway with the iTour, ensuring players get their handicap and are encouraged to play in the local Junior Opens. Young players are encouraged into Academy groups for extra coaching and well over 100 are now involved. Mark coaches the England Golf Thames Valley U16 girls’ squad, is also involved with the Hertfordshire boys’ U16 squad and works with Hertfordshire University, developing Strength and Conditioning classes for golfers. His individual pupils include Harry Bigham (Redbourn, Hertfordshire) who won the 2014 English U14 boys’ championship for the Reid Trophy and has been selected for an England Golf regional U16 squad. Ryan Fenwick, Golf at Goodwood, Sussex Coach to the England Golf South East U18 squad Ryan has been involved with AASE – the Advanced Level Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence – for many years, inspiring and supporting many students to improve their golf and complete the NVQ Level 3 course. His students have included Jack Floydd of Sussex, who has gone on to study at university in the USA, and George Mullins of Kent, who won the South East Group junior championship and set a course record at Moor Park, Hertfordshire, in the English boys’ U18 championship. Ryan has a great reputation for developing excellent young players and is well respected by the Sussex County Golf Union and the Sussex Ladies’ County Golf Association. He regularly coaches county golfers at all levels. Lysa Jones, The Oaks Golf Club, Yorkshire Coach to the England Golf East Midlands U16 boys’ squad Lysa is a highly regarded member of the coaching community and her skill, enthusiasm and passion for coaching is seen at every group and individual session she manages. Her quest for extending her golfing knowledge spreads far and wide and this year she travelled to the USA to further her short game credentials. During 2014 four members of the East Midlands boys’ squad were selected to play for the national U16 team, reaching the pinnacle for their age group. Several of the squad players have also chosen to see Lysa for individual coaching Always practical by example, Lysa leads from the front and coordinates all round support to the players she works with. Andrew Nicholson, Wynyard Golf Club, Co Durham Coach to the England Golf Yorkshire U16 girls’ squad Andrew has been coaching, mentoring and providing professional support to international, national and county golfers over the past 12 months. Among them is Yorkshire’s Nick Marsh, who he has coached for many years and who is now the English amateur champion and England’s top placed player in the World Amateur Golf Rankings. Andrew coaches the Durham County Boys’ squad, who had their best ever finish at 2014 Boys’ County Finals, and the England Golf Yorkshire girls’ squad, who were undefeated this year. One member, Megan Clarke, beat a professional field when she won on the WPGA one day series. Andrew also works with professionals including Chris Paisley who recently secured his European Tour card for 2015. Graham Walker, The Oaks Golf Club, Yorkshire Coach to the England Golf men’s squad Graham has had successes at every level, coaching beginners, aspiring young golfers, club members, elite amateurs and tournament professionals who have won on the European Tour. He is also devoted to helping develop the coaches that have worked with him at his academy. He sets the highest standards and the coaches respond and are motivated to improve by the environment he creates. His player success list over just the last two years includes coach to: the 2014 English Girls’ and Scottish Lady Junior Champion; 2013 Deloitte Ladies Open Champion on the Ladies European Tour; 2013 European Men’s Team Champions and Home Internationals Champions and 2013 British Amateur Champion. He has been England Golf Men’s Lead Coach since 2011 and before that was the England Boys’ Coach. Caption: From left, Mark Day, Lysa Jones, Graham Walker, Ryan Fenwick and Andrew Nicholson (Image © Leaderboard Photography). 17 Dec 2014 England Golf coaches rewarded for Ôoutstanding contribution’ last_img read more