KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Opposing coaches know all about Karns running back DeSean Bishop but it has not made their jobs any easier figuring out how to stop him.
The Karns Beavers are in the midst of one of the football program’s best seasons at 6-3 and sitting second in their region. While football takes all 11 players on the field to get the job done, there is no mistaking the team’s success is largely due to number eight.
“He’s kind of a complete package in the fact he has the size and the strength to be able to run between the tackles,” said Karns head football coach Brad Taylor. “And once he gets past linebackers he has the ability to make an explosive play.”
Through nine games played, Bishop is averaging 7.7 yards per carry and 289.6 yards per game. Bishop has racked up a whopping 2,607 rushing yards on 338 attempts for 26 rushing touchdowns.
“If I’m going to run the ball 50 times, I’m going to run it 50 times, I’m not going to make an excuse. I’m just going to do it,” said junior DeSean Bishop.
Bishop said he spends time in the gym, lifting weights to be able to take on a heavier workload carrying the ball. Bulking up to breakthrough more tackles. “I’m probably carrying the ball 45 times a game so can’t be too small carrying the ball that many times, taking that many hits,” said Bishop.
Bishop’s ability to play as a receiver out of the backfield and in the slot has coaches drawing comparisons to one of the best all-purpose NFL running backs and,” Vol For Life,” Alvin Kamara.
“That’s what Tennessee looks to match me as him,” said Bishop on his recruiting. “They see a lot of stuff that I can do that he does and that’s who I really look up to.” Bishop has 11 total receptions for 118 yards and two touchdowns.
Bishop said he watches Kamara’s film and it shows. In his junior season, Bishop is putting up numbers that mirror Kamara’s senior season of high school. Kamara rushed for 2,264 yards and 26 touchdowns while averaging 7.5 yards per carry. He also recorded 22 catches for 286 yards and five scores.
“I think that is a good comparison for him the Alvin Kamara comparison, just because of his ability to catch the ball as well,” said Coach Taylor. “I think he does a really nice job at that.”
A versatile football player, he has even thrown a touchdown pass this season, scoring 29 total touchdowns this year. While Taylor said he has coached some special running backs in his career like Devrin Young when he was at Bearden, who went on to play for the University of Tennessee, he said Bishop’s speed and power sets him apart.
“Devrin Young was a really good running back for us at Bearden, but DeSean has a lot of speed but also the power,” said Taylor. “So, I don’t know if I’ve had a big back like DeSean.”
Taylor said what makes Bishop special is his true love for the game.
“He [Bishop] likes football. He enjoys playing football, whether that’s football games or football practice he enjoys doing those things,” said Taylor. “So I think the way he practices, the way he works allows him to do what he does on Friday nights.”
Credit to Karns’ O-line
It’s no denying the talent DeSean Bishop possesses however it’s the big guys up front blocking who help pave the way for his success.
The Beavers’ offensive line takes a lot of pride in doing their job and wears Bishop’s rushing yards as a badge of honor.
“We take every practice seriously, we love DeSean, we want him to get as many yards, we know if we give him a little bit of space he can make it work,” said senior Gaurd Tommy Robbins. “We know his yards are our yards at the same time it’s a reflection of us so it really gets us excited.”
Brad Taylor said the line and Bishop feed off of each other’s energy and “want-to” creating a snowball effect of success.
“I owe all my credit to them honestly. Day after day they’re working hard. Everybody knows we’re going to run the ball and they don’t care they’re still going to get out there and block,” said Bishop. “If they’re not having a good game, I’m not going to have a good game.”
“I mean, he’s the hardest worker. He’s always first in conditioning, up in the weight room he weights lifts with us, the offensive line,” said Robbins. “He’s just a special player.”
Robbins said blocking for a talented running back like Bishop is fun for him and his fellow linemen.
“We know we can score at any given moment. Last week we had a quick possession change off of a turnover and the next play was a 70 yard something touchdown,” said Robbins about Bishop’s long touchdown run against Carter.
Racking up offers
Bishop is the state’s leading rusher according to MaxPreps and his run game is grabbing the attention of area coaches, including at the next level.
The junior has picked up offers from power five schools including Michigan State, Virginia Tech, and Tennessee.
“They [Tennessee] really like him, they really like him,” said Coach Brad Taylor. “They’ve been impressed by what he’s done both on film and at their camps. They’ve got a lot of good things to say about him.”
Bishop said Tennessee’s staff look at him as another Alvin Kamara, having a similar skillset to the VFL.
“That’s what Tennessee looks to match me as him,” said Bishop. “They see a lot of stuff that I can do that he does and that’s who I really look up to.”
Bishop said he talks “frequently” to Vols running backs coach Jerry Mack. He said he keeps up to date with him, sending him his stats and critiquing his game.
Coach Taylor mentioned Memphis and Tulane as other division I programs interested in Bishop. Taylor said Tulane has been talking to Bishop “very early on.” Karns high school alum and Green Wave’s cornerbacks coach J.J. McCleskey recognized Bishop’s talent as a freshman in high school.