October 4, 2013
Chesson could provide a boost
Jehu Chesson will draw plenty of eyes heading into the Big Ten season. The 6-3, 196-pound redshirt freshman out of St. Louis' Ladue Horton Watkins High School knows he can give Michigan some of what it needs right now.
Chesson's classmate, Amara Darboh, went down with an injury in fall practice. While Darboh was perhaps more game ready when the season hit, Chesson has as much long-term upside, according to observers.
He showed that early in the season, making a key block to help spring fifth-year senior wideout Jeremy Gallon for a long touchdown catch against Notre Dame. Chesson followed that up with a start and a 33-yard TD grab versus Akron.
Blocking, he noted, has always been part of his makeup.
"I took pride it in in high school," Chesson assured. "At Ladue, Coach [Mike] Tarpy always taught me, 'You got a be a guy that does something when the ball isn't in your hands. I started playing football in high school, and I was very unselfish.
"I didn't get the ball all that much. We had a very good running back, Devin Edwards. And he got a lot of carries, so I was blocking for him. That's how I got noticed, how hard I blocked for him in practice. And I transferred it to the game. Here, I learned more technique from the older guys."
The rest, Chesson insists, will fall into place.
"My catches will come," he said. "My time will come. Right now, it doesn't matter to me if I don't catch a ball, as long as I'm playing hard."
He's caught three so far, for 56 yards. That's a far cry from fifth-year senior Jeremy Gallon's 22 grabs for 328 yards and four touchdowns, but Chesson insists he's learning from Gallon every day.
"It's about his attitude," Chesson said. "A lot of people look at his size and judge him up front. They look at me and say, 'He's a deep threat, blah blah blah.' Gallon has taught me, it's not your size. Even Braylon Edwards, when he came over the summer and worked out with us, said 'It's about your attitude and how you want to play. There are a lot of big receivers out there who don't necessarily make big plays, who don't always run fast and do this and that. Your attitude is important.'
"And Gallon has the perfect attitude, because when he goes out there it's me versus you, and he's going to win every time. It's that competitive edge that gives him the opportunity to make those big plays. It doesn't just happen like that - he does it in practice all the time."
Chesson is working to replicate both the attitude and the production. He's hoping it makes a different during this Big Ten season, and ones to come.
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