Player Bio: Keary Colbert

Keyshawn Johnson was one of the most talented, and sought after rookies in the 1996 draft, and was taken with the first pick overall by the New York Jets. A graduate of USC, Johnson put up big numbers in the Pac-10. But despite his high draft spot, and his great collegiate career, Keyshawn does not hold USC's school career record with 207 receptions (sixth on the all-time Pac-10 Conference list). Who does?<br><br> Keary Colbert.

Keyshawn Johnson was one of the most talented, and sought after rookies in the 1996 draft, and was taken with the first pick overall by the New York Jets. A graduate of USC, Johnson put up big numbers in the Pac-10. But despite his high draft spot, and his great collegiate career, Keyshawn does not hold USC's school career record with 207 receptions (sixth on the all-time Pac-10 Conference list). He isn't even second with 204, an honor that belongs to Kareem Kelly (1999-2002). Keyshawn does not even rank in the top three on the Trojans' all-time record chart. Who does?

Keary Colbert.

Selected in the second round (62nd overall) of the 2004 college draft by the Carolina Panthers, Colbert's 2,964 career receiving yards rank third on USC's all-time record chart (eighth on the all-time Pac-10 list), surpassed only by Kareem Kelly (3,104) and Johnnie Morton (3,201, 1990-93). Keary caught a pass in 36 consecutive games and joined Keyshawn Johnson (1,362 yards in 1994 and 1,434 in 1995) and Mike Williams (1,265 in 2002 and 1,314 in 2003) as only the third player in school history to gain over 1000 yards receiving in a single season, twice in a career.

Interestingly enough, this isn't the first time a line between Colbert and Johnson has been drawn. When asked about his jersey number, Colbert himself was quoted as saying; "When I was in high school, I wore No. 3 because of Keyshawn Johnson. I wanted to come here (USC) and wear it, but (2002 Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback) Carson Palmer was wearing it. I think I'll stick with No. 83 now. I think I'm making it look pretty good." Carson Palmer agreed. "He's the best receiver I've played with. He's worked for everything he's got. He's not the most physically talented, not the fastest, not the tallest or strongest. He's a product of his work and he sets his goals high."

Born May 21, 1982 in Oxnard, Ca. Colbert attended Hueneme High and as a senior in 1999 caught 25 passes for 600 yards (24.0 avg.) and 10 touchdowns as a wide receiver on offense, had 10 tackles for losses, five sacks and six forced fumbles as a safety on defense, and returned a punt 70 yards for a score. Thus earning him athletic honors of Super Prep All-American, Prep Star All-American, Super Prep All-Farwest, Tom Lemming All-West, Long Beach Press-Telegram Best in the West first team, Orange County Register Fab 15 first-team, Tacoma News Tribune Western 100, Las Vegas Sun Super 11 second-team, All-CIF Division IV first team and Los Angeles Times All-Valley second-team honors. In one game, all three of his catches went for touchdowns averaging 62.0 yards. As a junior in 1998, he caught 40 passes for 920 yards (23.0 avg.) with 14 touchdowns and had five tackles for a loss, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and two blocked punts. Earning him honors of All-CIF Division IV first-team, Los Angeles Times All-Ventura County second-team and All-League Offensive MVP.

Colbert also ran track at Hueneme, with bests of 10.8 in the 100 meters and 21.8 in the 200 meters.

As a true freshman in 2000, Colbert started 5 games (Arizona, Oregon, Stanford, Washington State and UCLA) at wide receiver and was impressive. He had 6 receptions for a game-high 113 yards (both career bests) at Arizona while starting, joining Kareem Kelly and R. Jay Soward as the only Trojan true freshmen with 100-plus receiving yards. He was an often-used backup in the other contests. Overall while appearing in all 12 games, he was second on the team in receptions with 33 for 480 yards (14.5 avg.) and 3 TDs. His 33 grabs were the second most ever by a Trojan true freshman. He broke a bone in his left wrist against UCLA, but he continued to play the rest of that game (and against Notre Dame in the season finale), defining his toughness.

As a sophomore in 2001, Colbert started 11 games (all but Utah) at wide receiver and came up with a number of big catches. Against Utah, he had 2 receptions for 38 yards, including a spectacular one-handed 31-yard pickup. Overall in 2001 while appearing in 12 games, he was second on USC with 34 receptions for 442 yards (13.0 avg.) with 2 Tds, had 1 carry for 9 yards, and 1 kickoff return for 22 yards and 2 tackles.

Colbert started for his third year at wide receiver as a junior in 2002 and came up big. He caught 11 passes for 125 yards (both career highs and game bests) at Kansas State, had 7 receptions for a career-high 146 yards against Washington (his third 100-yard career outing), then proved he could get it done on a large stage when he had a game-best 6 catches for 81 yards against Iowa in the Orange Bowl. Overall in 2002 while appearing in all 13 games, he had 71 catches (second on USC) for 1,029 yards (14.5 avg.) with 5 TDs. He also ran for 36 yards on 2 reverses (18.0 avg.) with a TD and posted 2 tackles. His 71 receptions in 2002 are fourth on the USC season list. He made the 2002 All-Pac-10 second team. He also won USC's Bob Chandler Award (top underclassman student/athlete/leader).

In 2003, after a hamstring strain sidelined him for some of the spring drills, Colbert emerged as one of the country's top wide receivers while starting for his fourth season as a senior. Playing in all 13 games, he had 69 receptions for 1,013 yards (14.7 avg.) with 9 TDs, plus 29 yards on 3 rushes (9.7 avg.) and a tackle. His 69 catches in 2003 were sixth on the USC season list (28th on the Pac-10 season ladder). He was named to the 2003 All-Pac-10 second team. He was a 2003 USC team co-captain and won USC's Most Inspirational Player Award. Colbert, and once again proved he was ready for a larger stage by upping his performance in the Orange Bowl in 2002 by becoming USC's career receptions leader with 6 catches for a career-high 149 yards, including a pair of touchdowns against Michigan in the Rose Bowl. He also participated in the Senior Bowl.

Second in receptions for USC 3 years in a row, second team All-Pac-10, selected in the second round of the 2004 NFL college draft, is his constant second placing what sets him apart from Keyshawn Johnson?

No.

What sets Colbert apart from Johnson was summed up by Colbert himself as a sophomore when he was asked about his high school being a run first offense; "I had to sacrifice, not being able to catch a lot of footballs. I realized then that it was a team game. That's just the way I think football should be played…There were guys out there at other schools getting 60 and 70 catches. I just worked hard. People still noticed me."

Indeed we did Keary. Welcome to Carolina.

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