Ex-Lynden football star Kraght starting to catch on at Portland State
Lynden coach Curt Kramme predicted it might someday happen, and probably in the back of his mind, Josh Kraght realized the day might come somewhere down the line.
That day came last season, when the Portland State coaching staff informed Kraght they wanted him to move from quarterback to receiver.
“It came down to three guys battling to be the starting quarterback,” Kraght said of the position battle to start his sophomore season. “I didn’t make the top two, so they told me I’d be moving to receiver. I was kind of bummed at first, but then I figured I enjoyed it more playing receiver and special teams and returning punts than being a third-string quarterback. Being on the field is a whole lot better.”
With one season playing receiver for the Vikings under his belt, Kraght heads into summer practices next month knowing more what to expect.
“I had a decent year at receiver last year, and hopefully,I’ll get lots of playing time this year,” Kraght said. “I’m looking to have a good season.”
Kraght said the transition went relatively well last year.
Fortunately, he had a little experience playing the position from his time at Lynden. When Kraght was a junior, Kramme alternated senior Jordan Kreider in behind center every third series. Rather than taking one of his most athletically gifted athletes off the field while Kreider was taking snaps, Kramme worked in Kraght at receiver.
Plus, Kraght said, it wasn’t all that difficult to pick up being on the other end of passes because he already had to understand the routes receivers were running when he was playing quarterback.
“The hardest part is learning how to actually run a route,” Kraght said. “I did it at some high school camps and stuff, and you know where receivers are supposed to be as a quarterback. But actually running a route at this level, it takes a little time to learn. It’s something I’m still working on.”
The numbers show he’s capable. As a sophomore, Kraght finished third on the team with 227 yards and 16 receptions, and he caught one touchdown pass. He also rushed for 66 yards and a TD on 10 attempts.
Kraght played in all 12 games for PSU, starting one at slot receiver. He caught the go-ahead touchdown against Eastern Washington on Nov. 21 and piled up 102 all-purpose yards, including a 25-yard TD run on a fake field goal, in a win over Western Oregon on Sept. 26.
“I didn’t feel super comfortable until the end of the year,” Kraght said. “But by the end of the year, I felt I was a receiver. I realized I wasn’t a quarterback anymore – this is who I am. I started to get the nuances, and this year I hope to do even better.”
Kraght said he has similar expectations for the rest of the Vikings’ offense, which is returning several starters from last year, when PSU advanced to the second round of the NCAA Football Championship Series playoffs.
“I think our offense can be pretty good,” Kraght said. “Our defense lost a bunch, but if we don’t make a playoff run, I think it will be pretty disappointing for us. But we’ve got to take it one game at a time and get better every week.”
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