‘I just know he’s smiling’: BYU’s Darius Lassiter is thinking about his late father on eve of matchup with his brother
Kansas defensive back Kwinton Lassiter and his brother, BYU receiver Darius Lassiter, are sons of Kwamie, who died at the age of 49 of cardiac arrest
LAWRENCE, Kansas — New BYU receiver Darius Lassiter does not know how often he will be matched up against his brother, Kansas defensive back Kwinton Lassiter, in Saturday’s battle of unbeatens at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium.
He does know, however, that his late father, Kwamie Lassiter, would have been darn proud to see two of his football-playing sons on the same field together in a Big 12 college football game.
“I just know he’s smiling. It is something that he wanted to see happen. We finally get to have it happen. It is just a big day for the family, having two brothers compete and go at each other.” — BYU receiver Darius Lassiter
“I just know he’s smiling. It is something that he wanted to see happen,” Darius said Monday in a Zoom interview with local reporters. “We finally get to have it happen. It is just a big day for the family, having two brothers compete and go at each other.”
Kwamie Lassiter, who played in the NFL for nine seasons, most notably with the Arizona Cardinals, was 49 when he died of a heart attack while working out in Chandler, Arizona, on Jan. 6, 2019.
“No matter what the score is or the outcome, he just wants us to go out there and play our hearts out with no regrets,” Darius Lassiter said after being asked what his late father would think of the rare matchup of his sons on the gridiron.
Kickoff is at 1:30 p.m. MDT and the game pitting the 3-0 Cougars and 3-0 Jayhawks will be televised by ESPN.
Another of Kwamie’s sons, Kwamie Lassiter II, also played his college ball at Kansas and is a wide receiver on the Cincinnati Bengals’ practice squad.
Coincidentally, the last time and only time BYU faced Kansas, Kwamie starred defensively for the Jayhawks in a 23-20 win over the Cougars in the 1992 Aloha Bowl.
Kwinton Lassiter, who has been at Kansas for three seasons, wears the same No. 8 that his father wore. Darius Lassiter wears No. 5 for the Cougars.
“It means a lot,” Darius said of the matchup of brothers. “We always dreamed about either playing with each other or playing against each other, whether it be at this level or the next level after that. So just us having the opportunity in our first Big 12 game for BYU, it is just great. It is a blessing to even be in this position.”
Darius Lassiter began his college career at Butler (Kansas) Community College, then transferred to Eastern Michigan, where he caught 40 passes for 471 yards and four touchdowns. Why not follow his father and brother’s footsteps to Kansas?
“Oh, they had the same opportunity as any other school to recruit me when I entered the transfer portal,” Darius said. “After you kinda don’t get that offer out of junior college, you kinda move on from wanting to go there.”
Furthermore, Darius said he wanted to go somewhere and build his own legacy “and show people that I didn’t get to this opportunity because of my brothers or my dad.”
At BYU through three games, Lassiter has nine catches for 116 yards and a touchdown, a 42-yard catch-and-run against Southern Utah.
Cougars on the air
at Kansas (3-0)
Saturday, 1:30 p.m. MDT
David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium
Radio: 102.7 FM/1160 AM
He said on the very day he signed with BYU he talked to Kwinton about the possibility of facing each other on Sept. 23 in front of a sellout crowd at the venue locals call “The Booth.”
“We talked about it, a little family trash with each other, just knowing that I am going to get the best out of him if we do get that matchup,” Darius said. “He’s going to get the best out of me, regardless of we being family. We still try to represent for both of our teams. So at the end of the day, we are both going to work.”
And think of their father, who assuredly will be grinning ear to ear. And perhaps shedding tears of joy.