The Lowcountry isn't loaded with receivers considered Power 5 football prospects, but there is a solid group of seniors at that position who are getting noticed this season.
The area currently has one major FCS commitment in Berkeley speedster DJ Chisolm, who has pledged to East Carolina University. Chisolm is generally regarded as the area’s top senior pass-catching prospect. The 5-9, 170-pounder has been clocked in the 4.35 range in the 40-yard dash and is an electrifying player with the ball in his hands.
Chisolm’s production is down from his junior season when he set school records for receptions (69) and yards (1,133) while scoring 13 touchdowns. Through seven games, Chisolm has 21 receptions for 345 yards and five touchdowns. But, defenses are paying much closer attention to Chisolm this fall.
His teammate, 6-4 senior Dervon Pesnell, caught 48 passes last season and already has seven touchdowns among his 22 catches this season. Pesnell received offers from Navy, Newberry and Limestone last spring and is hearing from Furman and Old Dominion this season. He will make his official visit to the Naval Academy on Oct. 20.
“I’m really excited to visit and learn more about everything because it’s a big honor to have an offer from them,” Pesnell said of Navy.
Pesnell’s strength is his hands and his ability to go high in the air and catch the football at its highest point. He made one such catch in Berkeley’s 34-30 win over Summerville. It’s a skill he has worked to develop since moving from quarterback to receiver in middle school.
“Being able to jump comes natural but you have to work on the timing, plus using your hands to catch the ball at its highest point takes practice,” he said. “I feel like if I can get the ball coming my way, I am always going to catch it.”
Summerville’s Andre Banks (5-10, 190) is a multi-purpose receiver, capable of lining up in the backfield as an H-back or in the slot. Banks is among the most productive players in the area with nine touchdowns among his 33 receptions through six games. He is also the Green Wave's backup quarterback.
“Andre can do it all and does everything well,” Summerville head coach Joe Call said earlier this season. “He’s a guy that needs the ball in his hands. He’s great after the catch because he runs hard and breaks tackles.”
One receiver who has gone mostly unnoticed is Stall’s Tyshon Richardson. The 6-3, 185-pound senior played in the defensive secondary as a sophomore and junior, but was moved to receiver during spring practice in May.
He currently leads all area receivers with 32 receptions for 670 yards and four touchdowns for an 0-6 team.
“He has really developed into a very good receiver in a short amount of time working at it,” Stall head coach Joe Bessinger said. “The kid is a worker and when we told him we needed him to learn receiver, he put everything he had into it over the summer. He’s not a burner (4.7 speed) but he has great size and athleticism and he’s hard to cover with one guy. He’s really just touching the surface of what he will be but he’s already a very productive player for us.”
Another versatile performer is West Ashley’s Dominique Kershaw. The 6-1, 190-pounder rarely comes off the field for head coach Bobby Marion. He is the team’s leading receiver with 22 receptions for 228 yards and also has 160 yards rushing. This while starting on defense as an outside linebacker and defensive back.
Porter-Gaud’s Andrew Thomas is among the leading receivers in the area with 30 receptions for 453 yards. First Baptist’s Tylan Major is the top threat for the two-time defending SCISA AA state champions. He has 22 catches for 338 yards and four touchdowns.
Top 10 Lowcountry senior receivers
1. DJ Chisolm – Berkeley
2. Andre Banks – Summerville
3. Dervon Pesnell – Berkeley
4. Tyshon Richardson – Stall
5. Tylan Major – First Baptist
6. Andrew Thomas – Porter-Gaud
7. Dominique Kershaw – West Ashley
8. RJ Hamilton – James Island
9. Demarr Proctor-Floyd – Ashley Ridge
10. Chaz Jones – Fort Dorchester