Jason Ivester

Former Arkansas Razorbacks TE Jeremy Sprinkle turning some heads as NFL Draft nears

Former Arkansas tight end Jeremy Sprinkle has turned some heads prior to the 2017 NFL Draft.

Former Arkansas tight end Jeremy Sprinkle was among the participants in the Arkansas Pro Day this past Wednesday with 30 NFL teams in attendance. Sprinkle, despite attending the NFL Combine, did all the drills on Wednesday.

Sprinkle was asked to compare his performance at the Pro Day to the NFL Combine.

"I feel like today was more of a relaxed atmosphere just as far as times that we did," Sprinkle said. "Time in between each drill that we did. I feel like I improved my numbers that I did at the combine. So, I feel like I had a pretty good day today.

"I definitely wanted to come and improve on my jumping and I did that. Also just to show that I'm consistent as far as just grinding and running routes and things like that."

Sprinkle ran a 4.61 in the 40-yard dash, 30.5-inch vertical jump and a 9 feet, 8 inches in the broad jump.

It has been well documented that Sprinkle didn't play in the Belk Bowl. He was suspended by Bret Bielema for the game. Sprinkle was asked how that has gone with the NFL teams?

"Just sticking with my support staff that I have and getting past it and trying to move on from it, Sprinkle said. "I've got to learn from it. They asked me about it. They wanted to know the story. I just had to be up front and honest with them. it and trying to move on from it. I've got to learn from it.

"I feel like I handled it well. Also you know just learn, I mean it's obviously not the right thing to do and just trying to get past it."

Bielema talked about Sprinkle and how he has handled this situation.

"Jeremy comes from good stock," Bielema said. "I remember when I first got here one of the best meetings I had was when him and his dad sat down in my office.  I think he got overwhelmed at a bad moment and made a bad decision. 

"The only thing that was clean is I knew I had a moment here that could change the path of his life. So when I got the phone call that night that it happened I hung up the phone and walked over and told Dan Enos and Barry Lunney, we were about five feet apart having dinner, that he is not going to be in the bowl game.  I didn’t consult with anybody else because I knew I was removing him from the game.  I wanted to be firm with him because I knew what was in front of him and that if he thought he could dance around this one he might try to do that in the future.  Hopefully he has learned his lesson and I think he has."

You also played in the Senior Bowl. How intense was the Senior Bowl preparation and the NFL Combine?

"I feel like it was really intense," Sprinkle said. "Really the first time being away from the college atmosphere and being out there on your own and having to do all the interviews and talk to the coaches. Overall I fell like it was a good experience."

But overall how do you feel about this entire process to this point?

"It's been a good experience, as far as the Combine and just being able to talk to all the coaches," Sprinkle said. "Do all the interviews with scouts and things, getting to know them. Proving I can do certain things."

It's a deep tight end class though in 2017. It seems like you have a lot of competition at your position to get drafted high.

"Oh yeah, just being at the combine and being around all the guys and the numbers they put up and the seasons they had," Sprinkle said. "I mean, there's a bunch of us right there at the top. You've just got to come out here every day and just try to separate yourself from it."

You have played a lot of special teams though. Is that something that could possibly help separate you from some of the others?

"I feel like it would be a big help, especially earlier in my career," Sprinkle said. "Just showing the coaches that I'm willing to be on the field and just do whatever I can."

Have the NFL teams talked to you about being more of an in-line guy or outside tight end?

"It's really just based on team needs, wherever they need," Sprinkle said. "Some teams have a wide tight end, an in-line tight end but they need a move tight end. Some teams they told me they like me at the move tight end and vice-versa and things like that. I guess it's just team needs."

At the Pro Day, he had former Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen throwing to him. How was that?

"It was a nice little throwback we had," Sprinkle said. "He came out here zipping them. He put them on the money. I feel like it was good.

In addition to Allen, former Arkansas tight end Hunter Henry was also in attendance on Wednesday. What did that mean to Sprinkle, who shared reps with Henry for three seasons.

"It was good support for me, especially seeing those guys playing in the league," Sprinkle said. "Just knowing that a few years back we were playing together. So, seeing them have the success that they're having at the next level and then come back and support us on our pro day. It's been a real confidence boost for us, for all the guys."

What kind of advice did they give you?

"Just don't caught up with the cameras and things like that," Sprinkle said. "Just go out there and work and stay focused. If you don't do as good as you want to in one area, just don't think about it and move past it."

Sprinkle talked about what he would do between now and when the draft begins.

"Just up until the draft I'll be doing private workouts with teams and continuing to train and keep getting better until the draft," Sprinkle said.

At Arkansas, Sprinkle caught 71 passes for 921 yards and 11 touchdowns. In his final two seasons, Sprinkle caught 60 passes for 769 yards and 10 touchdowns including the game winner in the 2016 season opener against Louisiana Tech. The 11 touchdowns makes Sprinkle the all-time leader in touchdown receptions for a tight end at Arkansas. He had 41 catches that converted to first downs.


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