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Jerome Mathis WR Hampton 5í11 181
By: Robert Davis

One of the fastest risers of late, Jerome Mathis is a name everyone needs to know. There may not have been a better playmaker at wide receiver in college the past few seasons. As a sophomore in 2002, Mathis made a name for himself by catching 24 passes for 615 yards and 3 touchdowns. That's an average of over 25 yards per catch. He also ran the ball 20 times for 188 yards on the ground. In 2003, he caught 40 passes for 977 yards and 9 touchdowns. He save the best for last though, as this past season he upped his average per catch to over 29 yards a grab. He caught 29 passes for 864 yards and 9 touchdowns. The best numbers though, were his kick return numbers. He averaged 35.5 yards per kick return with an amazing 5 for touchdowns. His 6 career return touchdowns set a NCAA record. Mathis also doubled as a track star, as he was a two time NCAA East Regional 200m champ.

Mathis is the most exciting player in this draft. Give him the ball and watch him come up with something out of nothing. He averaged over 25 yards per catch during his career, over 9 yards per carry, and over 25 yards per kick return. He accelerates in and out of cuts very quickly, and gets to second gear immediately. He brings instant impact ability as a kick returner.

Playing for Hampton creates questions about the talent he faced in college. He did not face top corners on a consistent basis, so itís going to be a switch when he gets to the NFL. Heís going to need some time to develop his skills and adjust to the big leap in talent. He may be a project at receiver, but should make an impact on special teams immediately.

Mathis first started making waves as a potential first rounder during the Gridiron Class in January. He had two receptions for 59 yards, two rushes for 49 yards, and added 35 yards on his lone kick return. He only solidified himself as a borderline first rounder after he turned in a blazing 40 time of 4.32 at the combine, which some say may have been the fastest in the combineís history. Some teams are going to be scared off by his lack of polish as a receiver, but his playmaking ability is going to entice someone to call his name within the Top 50 of the draft in April.

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