Telp finds a home in Towson secondary

Interception runbacks put him into record books

College Football

November 15, 2003|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

Last Saturday, Davon Telp issued his own two-minute warning.

In less time than that, the Towson cornerback "just put the dagger" into Georgetown's comeback hopes - as he phrased it - and broke or tied a wave of records in the process. By returning interceptions 49 and 95 yards for touchdowns within 1 minute, 58 seconds, Telp broke full bore into a position he had never seriously played before college.

And those two eye-catching plays - which sealed a 27-6 Tigers victory - don't even rank as the most thrilling of his career.

"I'll never forget the first one," said Telp of his 95-yard interception return to the end zone against Monmouth in 2001 that set a record at Towson.

"I was a freshman and it was my first chance to play the corner, my first start. I was like on an island on that play. The ball was on the opposite hash mark. The quarterback threw it up and I saw the ball coming right to me. I went straight down the right sideline. I was just in the right place at the right time."

The junior has mastered being opportunistic.

Telp was basically an offensive specialist at Chesapeake-Baltimore County in Essex, but through a freakish combination of circumstances, he wound up at cornerback in the Baltimore County all-star game and won the Most Valuable Player award.

He had a fractured ankle as a high school senior and didn't make the roster on offense. When Jarius Johnson, currently a Tigers teammate, was hurt early in the game, he entered at defensive back and, you guessed it, returned an interception 94 yards for a score.

"When he came here, he had never played defensive back," said Towson secondary coach Orlando Mitjans. "He's really still learning, and his best games are ahead of him."

A state high school champion in the 100-meter dash, Telp has so much speed that Mitjans reasoned that there "are probably people playing in the NFL who are slower than him. He can possibly play on Sunday if he keeps improving."

"I've never been run down yet," Telp said, not in a bragging tone.

Said Mitjans: "He can make things happen and take it the distance any time he gets the ball."

Coming out of Chesapeake, he had the attention of a number of big-name schools, including Maryland and North Carolina in the Atlantic Coast Conference, but "didn't do all the SATs" and settled for spending a preparatory semester at CCBC-Essex.

He transferred to Towson in the spring of 2001 and received his football indoctrination at spring practice.

"I don't regret coming here. My teammates mean a lot to me. I'm going to leave with a lot of friends," Telp said.

After battling hamstring pulls that played on his mind at times and forced him to play conservatively for fear of aggravating them, he has been injury free this season.

Only once at Towson has he been inserted at tailback, scoring a 1-yard touchdown against Holy Cross during his sophomore season.

"They put me in to go over the top in a goal-line situation," he said. "But we're stacked with people at tailback and I find cornerback more challenging, anyway."

Telp's big week

Davon Telp's records and honors this past week:

NCAA records

Single-game interceptions returned for TDs (2, tied with 13 others)

Patriot League records

Single-game interceptions returned for TDs

Season interceptions returned for TDs (tied)

Single-game interception yards (144)

Single-game team interception yards (171)

Single-game team interceptions returned for TDs

Season team interceptions returned for TDs (3, tied)

Towson records

Longest int. return (95, tied own record)

Most single-game interception yards

Most career interception yards (256)

Most single-game ints. returned for TDs

Most season ints. returned for TDs (tied)

Most career interceptions returned for TDs


Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week

Football Gazette's National Defensive Player of the Week

College Sports Report's National Performer of the Week

Towson today

Matchup:Albany (7-3) vs. Towson (5-5)

Site:Johnny Unitas Stadium

Time:12:30 p.m.

Radio:WTMD (89.7 FM)

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