TU receiver Genesis Cole striving to begin again
BY MIKE BROWN World Sports Writer
Friday, August 26, 2011
8/26/11 at 3:49 AM
Related stories: TU, Fresno State to play each other in 2-game series.
TU notebook: Up front.
Genesis Cole came to the University of Tulsa football program with a seemingly bright future in 2007.
"'Genesis' means 'the beginning'," he told reporters as a freshman, explaining that he used the same words for the voicemail greeting on his cellphone.
Cole had a swagger. It came from being named Arkansas' high school defensive player of the year in 2006 when he and Charles Clay led Little Rock Central to a 10-1 record.
Cole and Clay were among the most important signees in former TU head coach Todd Graham's first recruiting class.
Both were expected to contribute immediately, but for Cole it didn't happen.
He didn't adjust quickly to the college game, and was redshirted.
"The game is more precise at the college level, with things you didn't even notice in high school," he said. "It's a lot faster. In high school, I used my athleticism to make plays. Here, everybody is the best athlete from their high school."
Cole waited a year to play, and then two. In the spring of his redshirt sophomore year, he was moved from safety to receiver. Then he waited some more.
He waited three full years before getting his chance last season. As a fourth-year junior, he caught 17 passes for 205 yards, including a key 32-yarder from G.J. Kinne in the fourth-quarter, go-ahead drive at Notre Dame.
Now, the end is nearing for the man whose name means "the beginning." Cole has the respect of his teammates, and he's hoping for a breakout season.
"I want to be a big-time player within our offense," he said. "I want to make a lot of plays and catch a lot of passes, if possible. But it's a team thing, so whatever I need to do to help the team, I'm willing."
Cole isn't the first player most people mention as most likely to emerge as a big-play complement to all-league senior Damaris Johnson.
But it isn't out of the question that he could.
"He's good enough to be a 50- or 60-catch guy for us," offensive coordinator Greg Peterson said. "The thing we're trying to get him and all our receivers to do is play more consistently. When he does that, he's a very talented young man."
It couldn't have been easy watching from the sideline, especially when Clay, Cole's roommate and best friend from high school, was an immediate hit for the Hurricane and kept making big plays for four years.
Clay went to the Dolphins in the sixth round of the NFL draft, and is now a rookie aiming for a spot on the team.
"It was tough," Cole said, "but I had good support – my mom, my sisters, my uncle and cousins. And Charles. He always told me, 'Keep plugging away, your time will come.' He just helped me get through it, that and my family pushing me."
Cole has a different kind of swagger now. It comes from maturity and knowing how to carry himself. He does everything as if younger eyes are watching."I try to motivate these young guys to keep plugging along. I just try to catch every pass and do everything right and show them that this is the only way to do it," he said.
Cole is about to become the first male in his family to earn a college degree.
"It's a big accomplishment. My family's proud of me. It's been a tough four years, going on five. But I'm grateful for the opportunity."
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Original Print Headline: Tulsa receiver striving to begin again
Mike Brown 918-581-8390
TU's Genesis Cole was converted from safety to receiver in his redshirt sophomore year. TOM GILBERT/Tulsa World file