DARIEN – By now teams know that if they want to beat Hinsdale South, they must key on stopping Destin Talbert.
Knowing and doing, of course, are two different things, especially where Talbert is concerned.
The 5-foot-11, 170-pound senior receiver has a sprinter’s speed, cat-quick reflexes and a mind that sops up football knowledge.
The Hornets have utilized Talbert with devastating effect lately. He has topped 150 yards in each of his last three games and scored 11 touchdowns in that span.
That included an 11-catch, 193-yard performance on Oct. 6 against visiting AddisonTrail.
Talbert caught touchdown passes of 46, 45, and 44 yards from quarterback Justin Kolzow in a 23-15 West Suburban Conference Gold Division victory that put the Hornets (5-2, 4-1) a win away from clinching a playoff berth.
“He’s an electric player,” Hinsdale South coach Mike Barry said. “We refer to him as a speed merchant.
“He’s at full speed in a matter of steps, which is why a lot of colleges like him. Plus he’s got great intellect.
“He’s got a 31 or something ACT, so super-smart, super-athletic. He’s that complete package and the epitome of what we want at Hinsdale South.”
Certainly Kolzow, who completed 17 of 34 passes for 284 yards against Addison Trail, knows he’s got exactly the target he wants in Talbert, who scored on a pair of pop passes up the middle and a fade route.
“First of all, it’s speed,” Kolzow said. “One of our coaches hand-timed him during the summer and I think he ran a 4.29 40.
“Besides that, it’s his football IQ. It’s knowing where to run. I would say more than anyone else in the state, Destin has that football IQ where he knows just where to go.”
Talbert is going places. He has drawn interest from several Ivy League and MAC chools.
That’s nothing compared to the interest he draws from defenders, who struggle to prevent him from catching the ball and then from stopping him when he does. Talbert’s 11 receptions against the Blazers (2-5, 0-4) were a career-high and came two weeks after he had a career-best 248 yards and five touchdowns in a 38-33 loss to Willowbrook.
“Destin always finds a way to get open and obviously with the intangibles that he’s got, people start keying on him,” Kolzow said. “I think we’ve got a pretty strong receiver corps as a whole, so that opens up other opportunities to for my other receivers.
“So I think having Destin as that ‘security blanket’ is a big part of our offense.”
Indeed, Kolzow has thrown for 1,501 yards and 15 touchdowns this fall. Talbert has accounted for 38 catches, 916 yards and 14 TDs.
“I’m not going to lie, (his success) is on the coaches,” Talbert said. “The coaches set up the plays; I just execute.
“I do what I need to do to maybe make a little move to get (the defender) out of my way, but as long as I run my route, that puts me in the right place.”
Talbert credits his rapport with Kolzow for much of his success.
“It’s amazing,” Talbert said. “It’s great to have that guy out here.
“I wouldn’t be the same without him. When you’ve got that big guy back there throwing the ball, putting it where it needs to be, I couldn’t ask for more.”