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Dartmouth’s Scott catching on quickly

  • Dartmouth College wide receiver Paxton Scott reaches for a catch during practice on Memorial Field in Hanover, N.H., on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. valley News photographs — James M. Patterson

  • Dartmouth College wide receiver, sophomore Paxton Scott, practices with the Big Green on Memorial Field in Hanover, N.H., on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Dartmouth wide receiver Paxton Scott, left, slaps hands with quarterback Derek Kyler during practice on Memorial Field in Hanover, N.H., on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. James M. Patterson

  • Dartmouth College wide receiver Paxton Scott watches a pass come in from quarterback Derek Kyler while covered by Tyron Herring during practice on Memorial Field in Hanover, N.H., on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. valley news — James M. Patterson

  • Dartmouth College wide receiver Paxton Scott takes off his gloves during a water break at practice with the Big Green on Memorial Field in Hanover, N.H., on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. James M. Patterson

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 10/8/2021 9:51:30 PM
Modified: 10/8/2021 9:51:37 PM

HANOVER — From the day he was born, Paxton Scott never needed long to stand out.

The Dartmouth College wide receiver was born with an extra partial chromosome. Scott’s mother, Choy Leng, said she discovered it while he was still in utero. At the time, he was just the 32nd known person in the United States that tested for the partial chromosome.

Doctors warned it could lead to two genetic disorders. One of them, Angelman Syndrome, has symptoms including “frequent smiling and laughter.” So Paxton’s parents were concerned, at times, about how happy he was as a baby. The other, Prader-Willi Syndrome, had the potential to enable overeating.

The Scotts confirmed Paxton didn’t have either of the syndromes when he was a toddler. It doesn’t impact Paxton at all now. He laughs with his peers about being in such a small group with that condition.

“It’s kinda cool,” Paxton said. “I always joke with friends like, ‘I’m built different, literally.’ I just think it’s kinda funny.”

With 17 receptions, 144 receiving yards and two touchdowns in his first three college football games, he’s quickly made his mark at Dartmouth.

Scott knew the Big Green entered preseason camp with plenty of opportunities available at wide receiver. After losing his freshman season because of the pandemic, coaches were unsure what to expect from Scott. He practiced with the limited group from the team that was around in last fall and used that time to learn the offense. He picked up from there in spring ball and entered camp this August ready to roll.

He caught coaches’ eyes quickly, and the Dartmouth staff has raved about him since then.

Wide receivers coach Dave Shula likes that Scott can line up at any position on the field as a wideout.

“I tell my guys, ‘Your goal is if somebody needs a (rest), I can look at you and put you in, no matter who it is.’ And that takes a while,” Shula said. “And it takes a very bright, football-smart, quick-thinking person. Not all of our guys, nor in any position, can do that. He’s one of those guys.”

A play early in Dartmouth’s win over Penn last week showed what coaches love about Scott. On the Big Green’s opening drive, they faced a third-and-11 approaching midfield. Fifth-year quarterback Derek Kyler hit Scott on a variation of a hitch route seven yards short of the first down. Penn’s cornerback grabbed Scott four yards shy of the stick. But Scott fought and pulled the defender with him across the line to gain.

He made a similar effort against Valparaiso in the Big Green’s opener to score a touchdown. Head coach Buddy Teevens said those hidden yards are crucial.

“He’s fighting for every yard, every inch, and it makes a difference,” Teevens said. “His team respects that. It comes to be the expected norm for him.”

Scott entered camp aiming for a starting role, and he’s still surprised at how often his number’s been called so far. He said he had more targets — 10 — in the Valparaiso game than he did in any game in high school.

Part of that is due to the coaches being drawn to his intangibles and his consistency in getting open. It’s also a credit to the connection he’s formed with Kyler.

That rapport was built through repetition. Kyler worked with Scott last fall in a small group, so they got to know each other well. By the time spring ball came, they were on the same page.

Kyler compared Scott to former Dartmouth receiver Drew Estrada, who’s playing at Baylor this season as a graduate transfer.

“Paxton is really good at creating separation. He’s super quick,” Kyler said. “If he gets these matchups where I think he can win, it’s tough to look away from him because I know what he can do. He can create separation for me, and that’s exactly what I need as a quarterback to be able to deliver him the ball.”

Scott attended St. Mark’s School of Texas, an all-boys school in Dallas. With 877 total students, per Wikipedia, it’s a smaller school in comparison to some others in the area with large football stadiums.

And the Metroplex teems with football talent. Scott recalled facing Episcopal High, which sported three future NFL players in Jaylen Waddle, Walker Little, and Marvin Wilson, and getting crushed.

Scott said his high school team comprised of only 30 players — by local contrast, Hartford High has 37 players and Hanover High has 34. But St. Mark’s has sent many athletes to play college sports, including four to Dartmouth from 2017-21. Scott and sophomore linebacker Carr Urschel are two of them.

Big Green offensive coordinator Kevin Daft was at St. Mark’s to observe another player, and Scott stood out to him. Teevens said the program was drawn to his productivity, both on the field and in the classroom, and his attitude.

But Scott wasn’t always high on Dartmouth.

“The first time I came (to Dartmouth), I got mono while I was here,” Scott said. “And so, at first, I hated Dartmouth, just because I was miserable.”

He said Shula reached out and made him feel wanted, which prompted him to take a second visit to campus. He then fell in love with the program and the coaching staff, and eventually committed.

The demeanor that initially piqued Dartmouth’s interest continues to be a defining trait of Scott’s as he’s emerged as one of the team’s top receivers. Teevens praised his work ethic and humility.

Shula and Kyler both called him a great teammate, that he’s bought into the system and gets just as excited about a good block that opens a lane for a teammate as he does about a touchdown catch.

Though Scott is just beginning his Dartmouth career, Shula said he masks the inexperience.

“He is just getting started; I mean, he’s played three college football games. But you don’t get that feeling around him,” Shula said. “In any situation, whether it’s in a meeting, on the practice field or in a game, he acts like he’s been there before. He handles the intensity of a game very well and keeps calm.”

Seth Tow can be reached at stow@vnews.com.




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