We have watched a lot of great athletes come through the University of Louisville. Recently. We have started to see a trend of guys who are not only great athletes but guys of great character also. Dez Fitzpatrick is a guy who is both. You can spend two minutes talking to him and tell that he was raised right. Dez is courteous, kind, respectful, well mannered, confident and charismatic. Those traits were instilled at an early age and has carried him well through college and will do the same at the next level.
But what will help him the most at the next level is his work ethic. If you got paid on work ethic alone, Dez would be one of the highest paid players in the league.
After redshirting in 2016, Dez burst onto the seen his freshman season (2017) where he tied the schools freshman touchdown record. He appeared in all 13 games starting in eight of them.
While most of us want to forget the 2018 season, Dez still managed to average 13.6 yards per reception.
The 2019 season brought the Cards a new coach and a new offense. Dez could have transferred and gone to a more pass happy offense but he stayed loyal to his commitment to Louisville.
And despite many fans clamoring for more targets to Dez, you never once heard him complain or take to social media to say he wants the ball more. Instead, Dez practiced harder and did his job. If you follow Dez on Twitter you may also have noticed that after some tough losses he Tweeted how he loves his teammates as well as things like this…
This is what it’s about 🖤 https://t.co/BLfOrkN2cl
— Dez Fitzpatrick (@dezfitz8) November 1, 2020
🖤 this is awesome!! https://t.co/mvHyJ19bAl
— Dez Fitzpatrick (@dezfitz8) November 21, 2020
There is no doubt Dez will be missed and I’m sure Dez will miss us. I’m also very sure we will see Dez in the stands with his family watching his brother carry on the Fitzpatrick receiving dominance.
In an interview with Tom Lane of WDRB Dez said “You know, I’m gonna remember the catches I had and the touchdowns and all that stuff, but at the end of the day, it’s really not about that,” he said. “It’s about the relationships that you make with the people. I know I’m gonna keep in touch with a lot of these players and my teammates and my coaches for the rest of my life.” These words from Dez tell you everything you need to know about his character.
Dez finished his UofL career with his name scattered all over the record books. He finished with 154 reception, 2589 yards and 21 touchdowns with a receiving average of 16.8 yards per catch.
(This catch is my favorite of his career. I like to say he intercepted Malik’s pass.)
Here is my interview with Dez –
(I also asked his dad, Coach Fitz, a few follow up questions)
I want to start by thanking you for taking the time to answer a few questions with me. I also want to thank you on behalf of all Cardinal fans for all your hard work during your time at Louisville.
Here we go…
CSZ – Do you have a favorite game, or a game that you thought was your best? Maybe 10 receptions vs NC State in your freshman year or 182 yards vs BC this year?
DEZ – It’s actually a toss up between those 2 games. The NC State game was a nationally televised game on a Thursday night. It was my first game as a starter and I had over 100 yards in the first half. The BC game was special, because I had a chance to show all aspects of my game with route running, speed, contested catches and ball skills. I guess I would say the BC game.
CSZ – I’ve had many players and parents describe to me what the atmosphere in the locker room was like after most games in the 2018 season. How would you describe the locker room atmosphere during the 2-10 season?
DEZ – 2018 was a tough season for a lot of reasons. We were losing, Coach Petrino’s Dad passed away and we had some negativity in the locker room. It was the toughest season of my life, because we were losing games and didn’t know why. I hate losing and we were losing every week.
CSZ – I know you would be happy to play for any NFL team but is there a dream situation for you? Maybe with Lamar or a team you grew up rooting for?
DEZ – I really don’t care where I land. I just want an opportunity to play on Sundays and help a team win. I feel like I’ve been ready for a couple years, so I would play for a team in Alaska if there was an NFL team there. It would be nice to go somewhere with an established passing attack and an elite QB.
CSZ – With both you and Tutu headed to play on Sundays next year, who will be the go-to receiver for Louisville in 2021?
DEZ – It’s hard to say. If I had to guess, it will probably be Braden, because the offense throws to the slot receiver a lot and Braden is ready.
CSZ – What did it mean to you to have your brother go through your senior year with you… even though this was far from a normal year?
DEZ – It was cool to have Christian on the the team. He spent the entire season hurt, so I felt bad for him. He did really well in spring ball and for most of summer camp. He suffered a couple injuries that set him back, so the season didn’t shape up the way we thought, but I was happy that he got a chance to see me practice and learn from my work ethic.
CSZ – Coach, How did it feel or what did it mean to you to have both your boys playing power 5 football on the same team?
Coach Fitz – I really enjoyed hearing their season long journey together. All the ups and downs made for some pretty interesting teaching moments for both of them. Chris spent the majority of the season hurt, so he was pretty disappointed. I just love the fact that he had an opportunity to see Dez WORK and hopefully he learned something that will make him a better overall player on and off the field. It’s not always about the successes! I believe that adversity can be equally as valuable when a player is navigating his journey.
CSZ – What part of your game do you think you need to work on the most to have a long successful NFL career?
DEZ – I think that I need to clean up a couple small things and totally eliminate taking my eye off the ball. Every once in a while, I will try to run before the catch because I want to make a big play. It was due to me not getting many targets, so I would try to do something big on short passes. I very rarely drop balls, but my goal is to have seasons with zero drops like Larry Fitzgerald or Deandre Hopkins.
CSZ – You were one of the best downfield blocking receivers I have seen in my time as a Cardinal fan. Is that something your dad worked with you on when you were younger or did that just come naturally?
DEZ – My Dad always coached us to be complete receivers and stressed the importance of being an aggressive blocker if you want to win football games! We worked on blocking at a very young age and had to take it seriously. Sometimes we worked on blocking just as much as footwork and route running. He would always say “If you don’t block, you don’t play”. Being an aggressive blocker always has the DB thinking, especially on my releases in press coverage.
CSZ – You get one last meal in Louisville – you could go anywhere in the city for free – you can take three teammates with you. Where you going and who you rolling with?
DEZ – I would go to Sapporos and I’m taking my brother Christian, Malik and Josh Johnson. I’m also getting a special seat for Coach Brew!
CSZ – When Bobby Petrino left, you had an opportunity to change schools. You stayed loyal to Louisville. What was it about Satterfield and his staff the made you want to stay at Louisville?
DEZ – My Dad encouraged me to give the new staff a chance before I consider transferring. In my heart, I really didn’t want to leave my school. Once they got here, I saw that they cared about the players and would change the culture.
Coach Fitz – At the time, I thought that Dez had invested too much into the program to transfer. He questioned what type of offense the new staff would run, because he came to UofL to play in a pass heavy, pro style offense with sophisticated concepts. I told him that he had already experienced 3 years of that sophisticated passing game under coach Petrino and it was more important to just win, enjoy being a college football player and have fun moving forward. Dez can play in any offense, so no matter what scheme the new staff installed, I told him to just adapt and play hard. I also told him that being a COMPLETE receiver means that you can play in any scheme. I’m glad he stayed and toughed it out. I think it prepared him for whatever is on front of him.
CSZ – Should Louisville fans be upset that Satterfield listened to an offer from South Carolina? What about the team, should they feel betrayed or upset?
DEZ – The fan base should give Coach Satt an opportunity to clear things up. I believe that he wants to be at UofL and just made an honest mistake on how he handled things. Coach Satt is a good person. I believe that the team has already moved forward and just wants to get back to winning football games and supports Coach Satt 100%.
CSZ – What was your favorite uniform combination?
DEZ – My favorite jersey combination probably is the Muhammad Ali jerseys when we play Boston College in 2019…… To be able to represent the cities greatest athlete and where it on our chest was a honor!!
CSZ – What emotions were you feeling when you walked out of the locker room for the last time after the Wake Forest game? Did you do anything special after with your family or teamates?
DEZ – Walking out on that field for the last time was more emotional than I originally thought. Everyone was talking about how many targets and yards I should get, but I just didn’t want to lose my last game in Cardinal Stadium. I’ve had big numbers in games that we’ve lost and it never feels good. I want to win more than anything. I was really sad after the game and wished that the season would have been different. My high school coach came down to the game, along with my family. We had a lot of fun reminiscing about my 5 years at UofL.
CSZ – I asked Javian and Tutu this but I want your opinion… Foot race! – Javian, Lamar and Tutu are all lined up on the goal line. Who is the first and who is last to run to the 50 yard line?
DEZ – I think it would go TuTu, Lamar, Hawk. It would be close with all 3!
CSZ – In his prime, could your dad cover you?
DEZ – Nah…… He couldn’t cover me! My Dad was a long corner, ran 4.4 and had hops, but my routes are too advanced for him I’m also fast. He was good at jamming guys at the line, but I DON’T GET JAMMED!! LOL I would have tore his ankles up and frustrated him! LOL
Coach Fitz – Dez would have definitely presented some problems for me, because of his size, quickness and route running. He’s super quick for his size, which would have caught me off guard and he has multiple releases at the line, so I couldn’t be too aggressive. I’ll just say this…… He would have to work his ass off if he wanted to have good day against me, because I would be a pain in his ass and make him bring it EVERY PLAY! Lol
CSZ – You have the floor to send all the Card fans one last message…
DEZ – I just want to say that no matter how tough things got over the years, I always loved my university. Card Nation always treated me well and accepted our family as a part of the Cardinal Family. Thank you for always supporting me. Louisville will always be my second home. L1C4 !!!!
As Always, GO CARDS!
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