2004 Draft Prospect Interview: Keary Colbert

When you are the All-Time career reception leader for USC it is saying something. In fact, it said enough that every team in the NFL has Keary Colbert on their wish list and at least one representative from each squad stopped by to talk to him during the Combines. With so much interest in the young wideout, who takes him is a mystery that will unfold itself shortly.

"I think I talked to at least one person from every team," Colbert said. "I am anxious just like everybody else to see where I am going. It is really something I can't control."

Colbert owns the USC career reception record with 207 grabs (sixth on all-time Pac-10 list) and his 2,964 career receiving yards rank third on USC's career chart (eighth on all-time Pac-10 list). He also caught a pass in his last 36 consecutive games.

Cornerback, and fellow teammate, Will Poole named Colbert among the toughest wide receivers he ever faced off against in a recent interview with TFY Draft Preview.

"It helped me in a number of ways," Colbert said of his teammate. "I am not really being biased, (Poole) is my boy, but he is one of the top corners in the country. Being able to go up against him everyday just helped me get better. I am going against someone who is a real high caliber player.

"That is a compliment. I respect his game. He goes out there week in and week out showing he is the best corner in the nation."

That competitive attitude carries off the field too. The pair face off against each other in Madden 2004, among other games to lose themselves in.

But right now, it is all about impressing scouts.

Poole's comments might have something to do with Colbert's big play ability. Overshadowed by Mike Williams the last two seasons, Colbert actually had more big plays than his counterpart.

"I just know that my facts and my statistics show that I have done a number of things at USC and I am just out there trying to play. I am not worried about perception because I can't control that."

It reflects how much Colbert helped Williams as much as Williams helped Colbert. They were both teachers to each other and respect runs deep between the two.

"It was fun playing with him the last two years and we would go out each week and try and show we were the best tandem in the country," Colbert said. "We took pride and went out and worked hard at it."

They proved it all the way to a National Championship under the tutelage of Pete Carroll.

With several different quarterbacks throwing his way through the years, Colbert was able to maximize his ability with both the long ball and short passes that he could break for long gains.

"I caught a couple of balls and got long yards after the catch and I have had catches where they were just long bombs for touchdowns. It has been that way for the last couple of years."

Yet Colbert is still labeled as a "possession" receiver. The numbers, as Colbert explained, don't lie.

At 14.8 yards per catch, he had the highest average of any player on the Trojans' team with 20+ catches. Colbert has 34 "big" plays on the season, plays that went for 20+ yards, while Williams had 28 this season. Five of those big plays went for over 40 yards, eleven went over 30 yards, and eighteen topped 20 yards.

Because of his versatility, Colbert envisions himself a mix of Hines Ward and Keenan McCardell.

"Ultimately I am Keary Colbert, but I respect those two and there are a couple of other guys, but I really respect those two highly. I love watching them play and I love trying to learn things."

After a terrific collegiate career and fantastic showing at the Senior Bowl, Colbert made his way to the combines.

While many receivers choose not to run at the combines, their excuses are often less than truthful. More often than not they choose not to run because they will do so on their pro day or they saw someone else run and were dissuaded by a fast time.

Not Keary Colbert. His answer was refreshingly honest and highly logical.

"It was just a personal choice," said Colbert. "I want to give the scouts my best time and that day I just didn't feel like I could produce my best time. I just wasn't feeling it that day. It had been a long couple of days. A lot of things were going on with the interviews and being at the hospital, sitting down and I wasn't feeling that great. Meeting with team doctors and physicals and sitting. I didn't work out the few days I was there and I just wasn't really into it. I wanted to be at my best."

So Colbert will save it for his Pro Day on March 24th.

Every NFL team will be in attendance, something Colbert has firsthand knowledge of.

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