Lake Forest Academy’s Joseph brings basketball skills to football

SHARE Lake Forest Academy’s Joseph brings basketball skills to football

LAKE FOREST — Daniel Joseph started playing basketball as an eighth-grader in Toronto.

In 2011, he enrolled at Lake Forest Academy and made an immediate contribution on the Caxys’ varsity basketball team. That was also the year Joseph began to play football.

Now the 6-foot-3, 240-pound Joseph is finally making the type of football plays he’s been making on the basketball court for years.

“He’s a huge guy. A crazy athlete for his size,” senior running back Christian Tchamitchian said.

Joseph was primarily a blocking tight end for his first three years at Lake Forest Academy, but coach and offensive coordinator Robin Bowkett is now designing pass plays for him.

“He’s doing more than just the five-yard stick route. He runs a lot of drags, digs, corner and intermediate routes,” Bowkett said. “He’s developing into a nice tight end.”

One who does not shy away from contact, although that has taken some adjustment.

In basketball, under-the-rim collisions are common. As a power forward, Joseph is conditioned to expect touching and bumping from opposing defenders. Running downfield routes as a tight end has exposed Joseph to much of the same physicality.

“The hardest part is getting used to people trying to knock you off your route. That’s a big adjustment,” Joseph said.

For Joseph, the next part is regaining his forward momentum and leveraging his size advantage. In most one-on-one matchups, he is taller and heavier than the defenders.

“That’s the best part of the position. When you are that big a guy who can line up as a tight end and athletic enough to catch balls from the slot, that’s a great weapon,” Tchamitchian said.

Joseph and the Lake Forest Academy (1-3) offense struggled in the season’s first two games. But on Sept. 13 against Aurora Christian, the Caxys erupted for 33 points. One play signified Joseph’s development as a receiving threat.

Lake Forest Academy had the ball on the Eagles’ 16-yard line, trailing by two scores. Joseph lined up on the right side of the formation. The play called for a corner route to the end zone.

“[The defender] got his hands on me, so I had to cut down [on the route],” Joseph said.

As he ran into the Aurora Christian end zone, Joseph turned around to look for the pass thrown by senior quarterback Alec Mesrobian.

“Right when I looked, the ball was there. It was right above my head and I reached up a grabbed it,” Joseph said.

All it took was one hand for Joseph to corral the pass for a touchdown. Joseph finished the game with four catches for 58 yards and two touchdowns. Lake Forest Academy lost the game 35-33 but won its first game of the season over DePaul Prep 28-20 Saturday.

As the season progresses, and as Joseph gets more comfortable, expect the Caxys to continue to throw the ball to their tight end.

“I feel like I’ve grasped the offense and know my strengths and weaknesses,” Joseph said. “My [quarterback] can throw it up and its like a rebound. I can go up and get it.”

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