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Courtesy: David Barfield
Receiver now consistent performer for Kats
Courtesy: Gene Schallenberg/Huntsville Item
Release: 10/24/2012
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With more of an emphasis in the passing game this season, the  Sam Houston football team needed someone to step up and be the definition of consistency as well as being a leader.

The No. 5 ranked Bearkats have gotten that from senior wide receiver Trey Diller who has become a big play maker for the Kats not only in the receiving game but also on special teams.

 "No doubt, he's one of the best receivers I've had the privilege of throwing the ball to," Bearkats quarterback Brian Bell said. "That's always nice to be able to throw the ball up to a receiver and having the faith that no matter what, he's going to give it everything he's got to go up and get it.

"Trey's a heck of an athlete and having a great year. Hopefully he continues to have a great year for us."

Since there's much more of a concerted effort to quell Sam Houston's running game and tailbacks Timothy Flanders and Richard Sincere, the Bearkats have had to put more of an emphasis on the passing game.

Two of the Bearkats' top three receivers are newcomers. With the uncertainty in the receiving corps of who would emerge as the top playmakers and where Sam Houston could be the most effective at the beginning of the season, Diller has been the main weapon in the passing game that has made the Kats go.

The senior receiver, who redshirted in 2010, in his third season with the Bearkats leads the team 30 catches and 413 yards.

"With my personal goals, I could never be at the top of my game. There's always room for improvement," Diller said. "I want to be the top receiver in the country, that's my goal. I just need to keep making plays when my time is called.

"If I just keep doing what I'm doing, the stats will just keep rising and the team will get better. Other teams will begin to look at me and that will open things up for other guys. It's a team sport. As long as I do my one-eleventh, everything will take care of itself.

Catching the ball and turning upfield for yardage isn't the only area in which Diller has made the Kats even more multi-dimensional.

Whenever plays are called that aren't designed to go to Diller near the sideline, the Bearkats still get plenty of big plays from him whether it's in the option running game or in blocking downfield on running plays.

A prime example is when Diller was shut out against Texas Southern in the receiving game, but got the ball on an option and took it up the sideline for a 32-yard touchdown run. That was his second rushing touchdown of the season after also scoring an 18-yard rushing TD in the season opener against Incarnate Word.

"It's not just me making plays, it's me blocking, too," Diller said. "I've got to play big in our blocking because our running game is a big-time deal. That's what I take a lot of pride in. I take more pride in my blocking than my play-making ability. Everybody can go make a play, but can everybody go make a block when they're not getting the ball? That was one of my goals to be one of the team's best blockers as well as big-time playmakers on this team."

Although Diller has made big plays for the Kats all season, the stat sheet shows that he only has one receiving TD on the year, which came against Stephen F. Austin. What the statistics won't show is that throughout the fall, Diller's catches have helped the Bearkats move the chains and also put them within striking distance of the end zone to put points up on the scoreboard.

"There's obviously been times where we've been struggling offensively and trying to get something going and Trey will make a big play for us. He just goes and gets the ball," Bell said. "Even on a run, maybe I'm giving him the ball on a run and get it to him out of the backfield and he takes it for a long run. He's just a big-time player and makes big-time plays. He's an impact player for us."

"Trey's an unselfish football player. There's a lot of receivers out there who just want the ball, want the ball. Of course he wants the ball, but he goes at it with an unselfish act. He doesn't care if he scores or how many catches he has. He just wants us to win the game. If he has to catch it 13 times for us to win, so be it or if he doesn't have a catch, so be it. That's the way he is."

Diller has also been a force in special teams. As one of the Bearkats' primary returners on punts and kickoffs, his returns have been essential in providing Sam Houston with advantageous field position.

The senior is averaing 136.1 yards per game in all-purpose offense. He ranks nationally in both kickoff and punt returns with game averages of 31.1 and11.0 yards .

"He helps us get in good field position," Bearkats coach Willie Fritz said. "People don't realize that we're probably not going to have a great punt return average because he tries to catch everything and return it. Some teams will fair catch everything. That hurts us with our punt return average, but I would rather have that than letting the ball bounce. I would rather get those 4 yards than just standing still."

Diller has also produced three long punt returns that nearly resulted in scores. The senior returned one punt for 20 yards against Texas Southern and  also had 49-yard returns against Baylor and Nicholls before being tripped up by the last defender between him and the end zone. After having so many near touchdown returns so far, Diller thinks it's just a matter of time before he brings one back all the way.

"Right now (my teammates) are calling me the magnet for the kicker. I've had four or five opportunities against teams like Baylor, SFA and Nicholls and I've gotten tackled by the kicker," Diller said. "Coach (Fritz) always tells us that if we can get 10 yards on punt returns, that's as good as a first down.

"I've got to give credit to my blockers. Without them, I couldn't have accomplished anything I've accomplished this year. There's 10 guys blocking their tail off every single play. I get the most credit because I'm the one carrying the ball, but in reality they're the ones that need the most credit. They're the ones creating the lanes and giving me the looks I've seen so far."

Diller is one of 21 seniors who will be honored on "Senior Day" at the final home game of the 2012 season at Bowers Stadium on Nov. 3 against Southeastern Louisiana.

Tickets for the Bearkats' Nov. 3 game with Southeastern Louisiana and SHSU's regular season finale at Texas A&M Nov. 17 are available now online at www.gobearkats/com/tickets or at the SHSU Athletic Ticket Office located in the Ron Mafrige Field House at Bowers Stadium.

The ticket office is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The ticket office telephone is (936) 294-1729.

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