Noah Short watched Syracuse’s safety draw to teammate Isaiah Alston and a cornerback cover an outside receiver as he was running his route. The middle opened and Short opted to take his route downfield.
Army’s longest passing play in nearly four years was the result. Bryson Daily connected with Short for an 80-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter at the JMA Dome Saturday. It was Army’s longest touchdown catch since Cam Harrison’s 87-yard score from Jabari Laws against Air Force on Nov. 2, 2019.
“Bryson saw me, hit me on the run and it was a good ball,” Short said.
Short’s emergence as a slot receiver has been one of the bright spots for Army four games or one-third into the season. The sophomore is making the most out of a spring position change from hybrid linebacker/safety to offense. Short leads the team with 11 catches. He’s caught a touchdown in two straight games.
“It’s definitely an honor for sure,” Short said of his increased role. “Last year, I was on kickoff and I just want to go and tackle (someone). (This season), I want to contribute in a bigger way and help us win. It’s definitely a privilege.”
Mentally, that was the hardest part, switching sides of the ball and a different mindset too. Defense before the games last year, (you’re) drinking energy drinks and trying to get as amped up as you can and go make a tackle. Being on the offensive side of the ball, you have to be more calm and collected.”
Short, who played offense and defense at The King’s Academy in San Jose, Calif., said he was recruited mostly as a running back. Air Force offered Short as a slotback. Short also had FCS offers from UC Davis and Northern Arizona to play in the backfield. Army envisioned Short on the defensive side at first.
“At the time, I was a little better at safety and I’m happy everything panned out here,” Short said.
Short is far from finished talent as a receiver, he says. There’s plenty to work on. He and fellow slot receiver Ay’Jaun Marshall were talking route-running during this bye week.
“I’m trying to get better and fine tune some more of the unique receiver skills and different moves and different tempo steps is definitely something I’m trying to apply to my game,” Short said.
It’s coming together for Short. For last year’s game-changing punt block in the Navy win to Saturday’s 80-yard TD catch against Syracuse, Short is proving to be a playmaker.
Touchdowns and catches aside, the game has its ways of putting things in perspective. Andre Miller’s injury did that at Syracuse. Miller was mobilized and carted off the field after a collision. He was released from a Syracuse hospital and returned to West Point over the weekend.
“You never know when you last play is,” Short said. “Gratefully for Andre, that’s not going to be the case. The game is so violent and so physical that you really never know if you’ll get injured.
“It made me appreciate the game a little more. You just got to every play like it’s your last because one day it will be.”