Scouting Combine Research: Receivers, Part 3

Part 3 of our look at the 44 wide receivers invited to the Scouting Combine is highlighted by potential first-round picks DeVante Parker, Jaelen Strong, Devin Smith and Kevin White, plus a receiver with a famous dad and a former baseball star. (Justin Ford/USA TODAY)

Tre McBride, William & Mary (6-0, 202): McBride was a three-time all-CAA selection. He finished his career ranked second in school history with 196 catches, fifth with 2,653 receiving yards, fifth with 4,281 all-purpose yards and sixth with 19 touchdown receptions. As a senior, he had 64 catches for 809 yards (12.6 average) with four touchdowns. He was selected for the East-West Shrine Game and had a strong week. As a junior, he was the CAA’s Special Teams Player of the Year.

Ty Montgomery, Stanford (6-2, 215): The senior was a finalist for the Paul Hornung Award, which goes to the nation’s most versatile player, a second-team All-American as an all-purpose player and an honorable mention on the all-Pac-12 team at receiver. He caught 61 passes for 604 yards (9.9 average) and three touchdowns, averaged 19.8 yards with two touchdowns on punt returns and 25.2 yards on kickoff returns. From an offensive standpoint, it was a disappointing. He was a consensus All-American as a junior when he caught 61 passes for 958 yards (15.7 average) and 10 touchdowns. Montgomery was a lone child but part of a really, really big family. His mom opened the door to their Dallas home to 17 foster children.

Keith Mumphery, Michigan State (6-1, 212): The three-year starter had 88 catches for 1,348 yards (15.3 avg.) and seven touchdowns for his career, including 26 receptions for 495 yards (19.0 average) and three touchdowns as a senior. He saved his best catch for last — the game-winner in the Cotton Bowl. He was nominated for the Allstate Good Works Team and was a three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection.

J.J. Nelson, Alabama-Birmingham (5-10, 161): Nelson caught 35 passes for 655 yards (18.7 average) and four touchdowns as a senior. Plus, he averaged 10.7 yards on punt returns and a stunning 38.3 yards with four touchdowns on kickoff returns. Not surprisingly, he was a first-team All-American returner. That was the good news for a player who didn’t try football until his junior year of high school. There was some bad news, too.

DeVante Parker, Louisville (6-3, 207): Parker stayed at home, and stayed in school for four years, to develop into a first-round prospect. Despite playing only three conference games and just five games on the season due to a broken foot sustained in summer camp, Parker was second-team all-ACC. He was second on the team with 35 receptions for 735 yards (21.0 average) and five touchdowns. He registered four 100-yard games, including a career-high 214 yards in a loss to No. 2 Florida State. Parker tied the school record for career receiving touchdowns with 33 when he tallied three in the 44-40 win over Kentucky on Senior Day. The quiet Parker perks up when you mention “SpongeBob Square Pants.” Coach Bobby Petrino said he learned more about Parker from a meeting with his grandmother, Yvonne, than time spent with the player himself.

Breshad Perriman, Central Florida (6-2, 209): The all-AAC first-teamer racked up 50 receptions with 1,044 yards (20.9 average) and nine touchdowns as a junior in 2014. He had a stretch of seven consecutive games with a touchdown and ended his career with at least one catch in 31 consecutive games. If his name rings a bell, his father, Brett, played receiver for the Lions and Saints for a decade. “Having that name on your back is a positive, but it's also a negative. Everyone is going to measure you as, 'Are you your dad or better than your dad, or not good at all.' ... He decided it was something he wanted to do and he loved it and I supported him in it."

Ezell Ruffin, San Diego State (6-0, 216): Ruffin led the team with 26 receptions, even while playing in only seven of 12 games due to a broken collarbone. He turned those into 422 yards (16.2 average) and two touchdowns. The injury led to a disappointing season. After a junior campaign of 68 catches for 1,136 yards, he contemplated entering the NFL. Ruffin redshirted in 2011 due to a concussion and had to sit out 2012 due to academic problems. He bounced back — not only is he a pro prospect but he graduated in December.

DeAndre Smelter, Georgia Tech (6-3, 221): Smelter was a 14th-round pick by the Twins in 2010 but chose to pitch for the Yellow Jackets. In 2013, with an ailing shoulder ruining his baseball prospects, he gave football a shot and caught 21 passes for 345 yards and four touchdowns. He returned the diamond briefly in 2014 before giving up the sport to focus on football. As a senior, he was second-team all-ACC with 35 receptions for 715 yards (20.4 average) and seven touchdowns. However, he sustained a torn ACL late in the season.

Devin Smith, Ohio State (6-0, 199): Smith caught only 33 passes in 15 games but he made the most out of them, turning them into 931 yards and 12 touchdowns. He averaged an eye-popping 28.2 yards per reception, which led the nation. That includes touchdowns of 39, 44 and 42 yards vs. Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game. For his career, he caught 121 passes for 30 touchdowns. He’s a big-play machine who admittedly was “mad” with how he was used. He also competed in track and field, with the Ohio high school long jump champion placing second in that event in the 2014 Big Ten championships.

Jaelen Strong, Arizona State (6-4, 212): In 2014, Strong enjoyed a redshirt junior season of 82 receptions for 1,165 yards (14.2 average) — third- and fifth-most in school history. Strong was one of 10 semifinalists for the Biletnikoff Award, which goes to the nation’s top receiver, and a second-team All-American. Strong spent just two years at ASU, with a season of 75-1,122-seven in 2013. He has about 30 tattoos, and they all tell a story. The first one is dedicated to his father, a former basketball star at Drexel and Philadelphia police officer who died of leukemia. The loss hit Strong incredibly hard, even if it didn’t immediately show. His behavior “really went south” in high school, his mom said.

Darren Waller, Georgia Tech (6-5, 231): In Tech’s run-heavy wishbone attack, Waller managed 26 receptions for 442 yards (17.0 average) and six touchdowns. He saved his best for last — five catches for 114 yards and one touchdown in an Orange Bowl victory over Mississippi State. A great-grandfather, Fats Waller, was a legendary jazz musician. More on that is at the end of this linked story.

DeAndrew White, Alabama (5-11, 190): White caught 40 passes for 504 yards (12.6 average) in the battle for scraps behind Amari Cooper. One of his four touchdowns was the game-winner in overtime against LSU. He missed two games with a shoulder injury. White missed the second half of his sophomore season with a knee injury. In high school, he was the Texas 200-meter sprint champion.

Kevin White, West Virginia (6-3, 211): What a difference one year made. The junior-college transfer caught 35 passes for 507 yards and five touchdowns in 2013. As a senior, he stepped up to the challenge with a Big 12-leading 109 receptions. He turned those into 1,447 yards (second in Big 12) and 10 touchdowns. The difference? He learned to use his size to his advantage. “Sometimes I may dance too much or be like a little prima donna thing not wanting to get touched, but sometimes I have to get rough and do certain things,” said White. His “epiphany” started with botched paperwork at Lackawanna College, which left him with no classes and no financial aid.

Cam Worthy, East Carolina (6-2, 220): Worthy caught 47 passes for 886 yards (18.4 average) and three scores despite being suspended by the team for two games for a violation of the student-conduct code. He had a monster game against Virginia Tech with six catches 224 yards. In two seasons, the junior-college transfer 66 balls for 1,181 yards (17.9) and five touchdowns. He allegedly has a 43-inch vertical leap. Coming out of high school, Worthy was set to play quarterback at Division II Catawba. However, he got kicked out of school, which led him a junior college in California which, literally, gave him a much-needed cold shower.

Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at

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