04-22-2005, 12:40 AM
Texans select...Jerome Mathis
WR | (5'11", 181, 4.31) | HAMPTON
04-24-2005, 10:56 AM
Strengths: An absolute blazer. Is one of the fastest players in the entire 2005 draft class. Improved as a route runner and return specialist with more experience. Shows the ability to pluck on the run when he concentrates. Is a vertical threat with the initial burst and top-end speed to consistently get over the top of defensive backs in coverage. Is a huge home run threat after the catch, as well as on reverses. Also a big-time threat as a KOR specialist. Has good vision, smooth hips, good COD skills, initial explosiveness and big-league acceleration. Will win most foot races in the open field.
Weaknesses: Has character concerns. Level of competition is a concern. Lacks ideal size and strength. Will have more trouble getting off the LOS in the NFL. Lacks ideal height as a vertical receiver. Needs to improve his route running skills. Rounds off too many of his routes. Needs to learn to shift his weight better when getting in and out of breaks. Does not show a good ability to find soft spots in zone coverage. Focus and concentration is too inconsistent in terms of catching the ball. Is a below average blocker and will never get much better in that facet.
Overall: Mathis won six state track championships in high school. He was a non-qualifier because of academics in 2001. He finished with 24 receptions for 615 yards and three TD's in 2002, whjile also averaging 20.9 yards per kickoff return on 20 attempts. As a junior in 2003 he became a fulltime starter and finished with 40 receptions for 977 yards and nine TD's. He also returned 17 kickoffs for 343 yards and one punt for 42 yards. As a senior in 2004, Mathis finished with 30 receptions for 884 yards and nine TD's. He also returned 25 kickoffs for 888 yards and five TD's as a senior. Mathis ran track throughout his career at Hampton and was a three-time NCAA track All-American in the 200 meters. Mathis is a track star turned football player. He has some character concerns, lacks ideal size and needs some refinement as a route runner. However, he's one of the fastest prospects in this year's class and he improved each of the last three seasons on the gridiron. Mathis may take more time than most Day 1 prospects to develop but his versatility and speed are enticing. Mathis has the potential to develop into a vertical No. 2 or No. 3 receiver in the NFL and he also has a lot of upside as a KOR specialist at the next level, which is why it's not out of the realm of possibility for Mathis to come off the board as high as the second round.
04-24-2005, 11:20 AM
Jerome Mathis, WR, Hampton
Height: 5:11.2 Weight: 181
Overview: The Pirates' big-play receiver, Mathis possesses incredible speed that makes him a deep threat and gives him the ability to stretch short receptions into long gains. During his career, he had 32 plays of 40-plus yards, 21 of those ending in touchdowns. He averaged a touchdown every 4.4 receptions. A natural hands catcher, he is a fierce competitor and respected leader. Mathis not only excelled at football for Hampton, but also ranked as one of the nation's elite sprinters in track. The Political Science major was an All-State, All-District and All-Metro wide receiver and kick returner at Petersburg High School. He also was a six-time state champion in track and field, winning the 2001 national indoor 200-meter title at the Nike Classic. In college track, Jerome was the 2003 and 2004 NCAA East Regional champion in the 200-meter dash. He set the East Regional record in the 200-meter dash with a personal best 20.32 in 2004. He was also a two-time NCAA All-American in the 200-meter dash, thanks to a runner-up finish in 2003 and a sixth place effort in 2004. In addition, he won the MEAC championship in the 100-meter dash. Mathis was a Proposition 48 student in 2001. He moved into the starting lineup at the "Z" receiver position as a sophomore, catching 24 passes for 615 yards (25.6 average) and three touchdowns. He added 188 yards and a score on 20 carries (9.4 average) and returned 20 kickoffs for 417 yards (20.9 average) and a touchdown, averaging 93.8 all-purpose yards per game. Mathis earned All-Mid Eastern Athletic Conference honors as he led the MEAC with 1,391 all-purpose yards in 2003. He set a school season-record with 977 yards on 40 receptions (24.4 average), including nine touchdowns. He returned 17 kickoffs for 343 yards (20.2 average) and carried nine times for 29 yards (3.2 average). The best was yet to come, as Mathis earned consensus All-American honors in 2004. He caught 29 passes for 864 yards, a conference season-record 29.8-yard average (also led the nation), with nine touchdowns. He ranked third on the team with 14 carries for 173 yards (12.4 average) and two scores. He returned 25 kickoffs for 888 yards to lead the nation with a 35.5-yard average and set an NCAA season-record with five touchdown returns. Mathis also ranked sixth in the nation with an average of 160.8 all-purpose yards per game. In only 35 games with the Pirates, Mathis accounted for 4,541 all-purpose yards, an average of 129.74 yards per game. He caught 93 passes for 2,456 yards (26.4 average) and 21 touchdowns, adding 390 yards and three scores on 43 carries (9.1 average). Only Mike Jenkins (2,629, 1993-96), Zuriel Smith (2,750, 1999-2002) and Johnnie Barnes (3,090, 1988-91) gained more yards receiving in a career for the Pirates. His 21 scoring grabs are topped only by Barnes (22) on the school's all-time record list. His career average of 26.4 yards per catch broke the old MEAC and NCAA all-time record of 24.3 yards by John Taylor of Delaware State (1982-85). He also set a school record by catching at least one pass in 34 consecutive games. He also returned 62 kickoffs for 1,648 yards (26.6 average) and six touchdowns. Only Terrance Patrick (1,814, 2000-03) gained more yards on kickoff returns in Hampton annals. He also gained 47 yards on two punt returns. His six returns for touchdowns broke the NCAA career-record of five, held by Kerry Hayes of Western Carolina (1991-94), Ryan Zimpleman of Butler (1997-99) and Lamont Brightful of Eastern Washington (1998-01).
Analysis: Positives... Shows good strength to release vs. press coverage, using his hands effectively, combined with sudden acceleration to avoid the jam... Does a good job of maintaining balance along the sidelines... Has the second gear needed to separate in the open... Will body catch, but does not drop many balls... Not the type who will shy away from contact, showing aggression, leaping ability and timing to combat for the ball in flight... Does a very good job of tracking the ball in over his shoulders and has the hip wiggle and shake to easily elude defenders after the catch... Shows the ability to come back quickly for the under-thrown pass and displays crisp stop-and-go action... Unlike most sprinters, he has more than only straight-line acceleration... He is active with his hands to maintain separation with the defender and is adept at executing double moves to elude... Very effective running deep routes, posts and verticals, as he has the pure speed to win any foot race... Gives good effort and stays to fight when asked to block at the line of scrimmage.
Negatives... Has made improvements in using his hands to assist in his release, but needs to run crisper routes, especially in the short area, where he rounds his cuts and looks sluggish coming out of his breaks... Must work on maintaining concentration on the ball, as he has dropped a few easy tosses because he looks to run before securing the ball... Double catches the ball quite a bit, letting it absorb into his body and needs to show better hand extension to catch away from the body's frame... Well-liked and a hard worker, but had two off-field incidents (assault), with one leading to a conviction.
Agility tests: 4.28 in the 40-yard dash... 2.51 20-yard dash... 1.53 10-yard dash... 35.5-inch vertical jump... 10'1" broad jump... 32 5/8-inch arm length... 9 3/8-inch hands... Right-handed... 19 Wonderlic score.
High school: Attended Petersburg (Va.) High School, playing football for coach Remus James... All-State, All-District and All-Metro selection as a wide receiver and kick returner... Six-time state champion in track and field... 2001 national indoor 200-meter champion at the Nike Classic.
Personal: Political Science major... Son of Velda and Melvin Thorpe... Born 6/26/83... Resides in Petersburg, Virginia.
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