UConn’s Easley does it
|02.27.10 at 9:57 am ET|
INDIANAPOLIS ‘ Considering he had to walk on at Connecticut for a chance to play college football, some would deem it ironic that Friday found Huskies receiver Marcus Easley sitting.
No, the speedster from Stratford, Conn. didn’t figure to draw enough media to deserve one of the three podiums at Lucas Oil Stadium for the second day of the annual NFL Combine. Instead the announcer at the media-crazy event (whose mentions of Tim Tebow and Dez Bryant led to stampedes that would kill Mufasa all over again) softly uttered that Easley would be available at table eight.
Similar to when he was coming out of high school, Easley didn’t garner much attention. He doesn’t have the pedigree of former Connecticut stars such as Donald Brown, Dan Orlovsky, Darius Butler, or Alfred Fincher. Why? Because though he comes from a program on the up-and-up, his stat line was flat (five total catches in ’07 and ’08) until his final season in Storrs. Sitting with seven or so reporters, the perceived one-year wonder touched on a myriad of topics, including why the tail end of his college career was like his speed ‘ explosive.
“Even at the beginning of the year, I still wasn’t playing that much, up until about five games in,” Easley said Friday. “I made some plays and happened to become a starter about midway through the season, and it’s been on the rise from there.”
Easley finished the season leading the team in receptions (48), receiving yards (893) and receiving touchdowns (8). It is worth noting that his final season was his first in a spread offense, so while he didn’t receive playing time in his first two years, he likely wouldn’t have replicated his ’09 numbers in past seasons (something he admitted) based on the fact that the 2,000 yard yard rusher and eventual Colts first-round pick Brown was the center of the offense.
His stats as a senior are good considering that they are currently the only numbers teams can attach to him, but once he runs the 40 yard dash, which he hopes to do in the 4.3 range, it could be the number displayed on a stopwatch that lands him an NFL gig. Though he has made it to one of the biggest stages the NFL has to offer, Easley, who a year ago still didn’t even have a scholarship (he received one in the summer of ’09), is well aware that he took an untraditional path.
“I don’t want to say this was hard to believe [or] out of reach,” Easley said, ” … but to be in this position here in Indianapolis at the NFL Combine is definitely humbling, knowing everything I’ve been through.”
Considering his speed and size (6-foot-2, 210 pounds), it is hard to imagine a team won’t take a late round flier on Easley. The former Huskie said he keeps in contact with Butler and Brown but “[didn’t] want to bother them too much” during their rookie years.
“Every now and then I’ll hit them up and they’ll hit me up and we’ll [talk] and whatnot,” Easley said. “They pretty much told me when I started to come onto the scene that, ‘We’re proud of you because we know everything you’ve been through. .. Keep doing what you’re doing and everything will fall into place.'”
Things falling into place is a new concept for Easley. Which team he lands with come late April will be just another stop on a ride few thought he would take.