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Daikiel Shorts Jr. - Football - University of Kentucky Athletics

DaikielShorts Jr.

  • title Wide Receivers Coach
BIO

University of Kentucky head football coach Mark Stoops announced Tuesday the hiring of Daikiel (pronounced duh-KEL) Shorts Jr. to coach the wide receivers.

“Daikiel Shorts is a young and talented coach who is a great addition to our program,” Stoops said. “I’ve been impressed by him. He’s got a lot of energy, he’s personable and he’s relatable. The most important thing is that he will be a great mentor to our players. We are excited to get him here.”

Shorts, 29, comes to the Bluegrass after three seasons (2021-23) as the wide receivers coach under Dana Holgorsen at Houston. He also spent two years as the Director of Player Development (2019-20) for the Cougars.

“I’m very excited to be a part of the Big Blue Nation,” Shorts said. “The opportunity to work under Mark Stoops and Liam Coen is very exciting and it’s an opportunity I just couldn’t pass up. I’ve watched over the years what they have been able to accomplish at Kentucky and in the Southeastern Conference and I want to help continue that success.  Coach Coen is one of the brightest offensive minds in the game and I’m very eager to learn under him. I’m already so impressed with the young men in the wide receivers room and I’m ready to bring my energy and passion to this place. I can’t wait.”

In his first season as a collegiate coach in 2021, Shorts led Tank Dell to first-team American Athletic Conference honors and top-15 national rankings in receptions (90), receiving yards (1,329) and receiving touchdowns (12). As a team, UH ranked 23rd nationally in passing offense (271.6).

In 2022, nine players combined to catch 40 touchdowns, once again led by Dell, who totaled a nation-high 109 catches for 1,398 receiving yards and 17 receiving touchdowns. He was named a second-team All-American by the Walter Camp Football Foundation and earned first-team all-conference selection for the second straight season.

In two seasons under Shorts (2021-22), Dell combined to pace the country in receiving yards (2,727), receiving scores (29) and receptions (199). He went on to be selected by the Houston Texas in the third round of the 2023 NFL Draft.  In 11 games with the team, he has caught 47 passes for 709 yards and a Texans’ rookie-record seven touchdown catches.

Also under Shorts’ tutelage, true freshman Matthew Golden set Houston’s true freshman record in 2022 with seven receiving touchdowns and he finished tied for first nationally among true freshmen with four receiving scores of 20-plus yards and second among true freshmen in total receiving scores (7).

In 2023, Houston’s first season in the Big 12, Shorts’ youthful wide receivers made an immediate impact. According to Pro Football Focus, five of the league’s Top 11 graded underclassmen wide receivers came from Houston. Three players – Joseph Manjack IV (74.7), Samuel Brown (72.9) and Golden (68.4) were in the Top 7.

Brown led the receiving corps with 62 catches for 815 yards and three scores. Manjack and Golden each had a team-high-tying six receiving touchdowns.

Before getting into the coaching ranks, Shorts was a standout receiver under Holgorsen at West Virginia from 2013-16. The four-year letter winner led the Mountaineers in receiving in three of his four years.

As a senior team caption in 2016, he earned second-team All-Big 12 honors and the Iron Mountaineer Award after totaling a team-high 63 receptions for 894 yards and five touchdowns.

Shorts led WVU in receiving in 2015 with 45 receptions for 528 yards and five touchdowns and in 2013 with 45 receptions for 495 yards and two touchdowns. He added 24 receptions for 346 yards and two touchdowns in 2014.

He closed his collegiate career ranked fifth on the WVU career chart with 177 receptions and sixth with 2,263 receiving yards and 14 scores. He owns the program’s freshman receptions record with 45 in his first year with the program.

Shorts, originally from Clayton, New Jersey and standout at Eastern Christian Academy, graduated from West Virginia in 2016 with a degree in multidisciplinary studies. During his career, he was named to the Garrett Ford Academic Honor Roll and the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll.

Shorts’ Coaching/Playing Career

Year Position School Bowl Games
2021-23 Wide Receivers Houston Independence Bowl (2022)

Birmingham Bowl (2021)

2019-20 Director of Player Personnel Houston New Mexico Bowl (2020)
2018 Program Assistant West Virginia Armed Forces Bowl (2018)
2017 Wide Receiver Buffalo Bills Practice Squad
2013-16 Wide Receiver (player) West Virginia Liberty Bowl (2014)

Cactus Bowl (2015)

Russell Athletic Bowl (2016)

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