Trautman thriving at Dayton as team’s top receiver

Chris Dobrowolski

DAYTON, Ohio — Every time Adam Trautman steps onto the football field he has a target on his back.

It comes with the territory of being the top receiving threat on the University of Dayton football team.

Trautman, a redshirt sophomore with the Flyers and a 2015 Elk Rapids alum, has become a key playmaker on offense for Dayton and leads the team in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns with two games remaining in the 2017 season.

“Coach put a big workload on me during the summer and in the spring,” said Trautman, who moved to tight end two years ago. “I knew what to expect. They told me to expect to be one of the playmakers on our team, get the most touches receiving and just be ready to take the load for the team. Play every snap on offense.”

Trautman has flourished since he switched positions. The former quarterback has already exceeded the numbers he posted as a redshirt freshman in 2016 (24 catches for 238 yards and three touchdowns) as he enters Saturday’s contest against Marist with 35 receptions for 355 yards and three touchdowns. He has at least one catch in every game this season. It’s not only a case of taking what the defense is giving the Flyers’ offense, but also the team working hard to make sure Trautman gets his hands on the ball as much as possible.

“We game plan every week for each team, depending on what kind of defense they run,” said Trautman. “Obviously, you’re going to create plays for the playmakers on your team that can beat those coverages. Yeah, the defense gives us some stuff, but there’s also a lot (of emphasis) toward getting me the ball and our other playmakers as well.”

The opposition has certainly taken notice as Trautman has started to see schemes where defenses are specifically trying to stop him.

“I get called out every time I walk to the line of scrimmage,” said Trautman. “They’re consistently double teaming me. I’ve seen that pretty consistently ever since week 3 against Duquesne. Every team’s been double teaming me and always having someone either pressed up on me in man and someone over top, in case I beat them. When it comes to the passing game I’ve got a target on my chest.

“I love everyone’s best shot. I prefer it that way. No better way to get better than to have every team take their best shot at you.”

Trautman has been on an upward trajectory ever since he moved from quarterback. It was a switch, he says, that came two years ago as a result of seeing a quicker avenue for playing time and at a position where the team needed some help. It’s turned out to be career altering in the best possible way.

“I really wanted to play,” said Trautman. “Being at Dayton we have a huge team concept where everyone plays for everyone. I thought that was really awesome and I just wanted to be a part of it as quick as I could. I still ended up being redshirted as a freshman but I don’t think I’d be seeing the field near as much, or at all, if I had stuck at quarterback.”

As a redshirt, Trautman had plenty of time to transform his body to match his new position. He already had the necessary length, and by the time he saw the field last season he looked the part and immediately excelled.

“Redshirting was definitely the best thing for me. Obviously, I needed to throw on weight. I was probably 225 or 220 when I came into college and then that offseason I probably put on 10-15 pounds. Now this season I started out at 252. It’s definitely helped having all that time, and my body can obviously take all the weight because of my length so it’s worked out well.”

Trautman sees himself as a hybrid tight end along the lines of Cincinnati’s Tyler Eifert or New England’s Rob Gronkowski. He continues to improve as a blocker and is being utilized as a receiving threat from multiple spots — including in the slot and at wideout. With his history taking snaps, he’s even been used in a wildcat QB role.

It’s opened up a lot of possibilities for Trautman, who still has two years left with Dayton. There also is the potential to get a shot at the NFL when his college eligibility ends.

“Next two years I’m sure will be the same role I have right now, but obviously gain even more. I expect to be the primary target on our offense,” said Trautman. “Hopefully all that goes well because I would like to play after college as well. Hoping that all pans out. We’ll see what happens, I guess.

“My offensive line coach, he played in the NFL for four years for the Falcons and the Buccaneers. He told me that if I stay on my track that I’m on right now there’s no doubt I could not only be signed as an undrafted free agent, but could make my way into the draft. I’m just blessed with my body type and the way that I work. Definitely something I’m shooting for and it’s definitely a possibility.”



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