May 28, 2024

Buster Camp Report Day 7: The debut (Audio)

Garden City, Kan ( who says the anticipation never lives up to the hype. 

On Thursday night, all eyes were on Buster freshman quarterback Danarious Graham. And the Florida native delivered what everyone expected. 

“Felt good,” the soft-spoken Graham said referring to putting his pads on for the first time. “I felt at home.”

He looked at home. Despite a few early overthrows, Graham displayed poise and a rocket launcher for an arm. On one play during drills, the freshman effortlessly lofted a 50-yard pass down the right sideline that Darryl Terrell mishandled in stride. It almost looked like the wide receiver was in awe of the perfect spiral that bounced off his hands. 

“He (Graham) obviously has some talent,” Head Coach Matt Miller said. “He has some play making ability. But he’s still a little inconsistent.”

Inconsistent yes; breathtaking at times-absolutely. His numbers weren’t great (3-of-7 during 7-on-7; 1-of-4 during scrimmage), but consider this: two of his four completions were spectacular touchdown passes. 

The first one was against the Buster four-man rush. Graham rolled to his right to evade the pressure; then launched a missile that landed right on the fingertips of Lawyer Davis for a touchdown. The ball traveled 55 yards in the air. Miller’s reaction wasn’t surprising. He glanced over at the players on the sideline and gave that patented stare like: ‘what in the world just happened.’

Now in all fairness, Graham had his rusty moments. On his first snap of 11-on-11, he made a questionable option pitch that resulted in a fumble. His first pass was on a bootleg to the right where he missed Davis before throwing low to Davis on a slant. But boy did he rebound with a couple of big plays. 

And his arm wasn’t the only thing that awed the coaches; the freshman’s legs were on full display. After an errant snap on his final play, Graham instinctively picked up the bouncing ball and darted right. Before you could blink he had outraced everyone down the right sideline. It’s plays like that, minus the fumble of course, that was missing from Garden City’s attack all of last season. 

Does Graham have Nick Marshall type skills? Maybe, but it’s way too early to tell. Remember it was just the first day. Marshall wowed everyone-specifically on Saturdays. It’s how you perform in a game that counts, and if Graham wins the starting job, which there’s a good possibility that happens, then we’ll see. But it doesn’t mean we can’t hope it’s Marshall part two, right?

Rest of the field

The best of the rest definitely belonged to Gemmel. In 7-on-7, the freshman rebounded from an early interception and threw touchdown strikes to Monterio Burchfield (his first in camp) and Liddell Golden. He wasn’t as hot in 11-on-11, where he misfired on his only two attempts; one of those was picked off by University of Wisconsin transfer Jakarrie Washington, who promptly returned it for a touchdown. 

Tyler Lasalle was solid-doing most of his damage in 7-on-7. He completed 4-of-7 passes with two touchdowns, including a one-handed snare by Brandon Snell (second straight day he made a ridiculous, one-handed td grab). 

Alex Gomez didn’t take any reps in 11-on-11 or 7-on-7. 

Rushing off the edge

Garden City’s front seven appears to be pretty scary once again. That was proven Thursday with a guy you’ll get to know very quickly as the season gets underway, and that’s Tyler Gastineau. 

The Goodland product, who benches 315 pounds and runs a 4.6 40-yard dash, played his entire senior season with a torn ACL. It earned him All-League first team honors as well as All-State honorable mention. So getting back out there in his quest to become a Division-I football appears to be the easy part. 

The freshman defensive end/linebacker made a couple of nice plays during 11-on-11, recording a tackle and sacking Graham on an edge rush. 

One thing is for sure: Garden City will have no shortage of guys that can rush the passer. 

Osvelt Joseph used a nice swim move to get into the offensive backfield and bat down a Lasalle pass…Branson Glanton recorded a sack.

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