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Posted on Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 1:47 p.m.

Michigan's Junior Hemingway, buried on most draft boards, has a believer in ESPN's Todd McShay

By Kyle Meinke

This year's NFL Draft pool is deep with big-bodied receivers, several of whom project as first-round selections.

That could hurt a player such as Junior Hemingway, a former Michigan football receiver who posted pedestrian numbers while battling injury and illness throughout his career. There also are questions about his measurables, particularly his speed.

That means Hemingway is buried by most draft experts. Others project him to go undrafted all together. One, though, believes he can make it in the league.

ESPN draft guru Todd McShay said in a teleconference Thursday afternoon that Hemingway "has a chance to hang around (in the NFL) for several years."


Junior Hemingway's strength could serve him well in the NFL, one analyst says.

Melanie Maxwell I

"I’m high on Hemingway, compared to some other scouts in the league," McShay said. "What he brings to the table is, first of all, he’s competitive.

"He's built like a running back and uses that size to get out of jams."

Hemingway is 6-foot-1, 222 pounds, and used that frame to become a virtuoso on jump balls last year, often beating more athletic corners to underthrown balls.

The Conway, S.C., native finished with 34 catches for 699 yards and four touchdowns last season, which are all career highs but modest relative to other big-time receivers. He averaged 20.6 yards per catch, though, which was third in the country.

McShay said NFL clubs valued speed over size in receivers for several years, but that one of the league's latest trends is to invest in bigger wideouts. This class is loaded with them, too, with players such as Justin Blackmon, Michael Floyd, Alshon Jeffery and Rueben Randle expected to be taken early.

Hemingway is of that mold, but he's far from that kind of class. McShay ranks him the 39th receiver and notes he could struggle on shorter routes at the next level.

"He’s not very sudden, not very explosive, won't provide many home runs and will struggle to separate on intermediate routes," McShay said.

But, there also is some interest in his potential, evidenced by his invitation to next week's NFL Combine. He'll be joined by former teammates David Molk and Mike Martin.

A strong showing, especially in the speed drills, could improve his stock significantly.

Kyle Meinke covers Michigan football for He can be reached at 734-623-2588, by email at and followed on Twitter @kmeinke.


Jeffrey Forrester

Sat, Feb 18, 2012 : 10:13 a.m.

What if at the next level there not looking at him as a wide out.... Maybe a transition to TE. He has the size and can block. Has the hands to catch.


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 6:03 p.m.

I would guess a few teams would give him a look. I hope the best for the guy. I remember people saying Manningham's stock plummeted after a weak combine. Seems everything is working juust fine for him right now.


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 3:47 p.m.

A combination of size and ability to catch makes for an interesting reciever. They do block now & then & that can be as helpful as speed. It all depends on the offense system being utilized.


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 3:52 a.m.

Update- Blair white was just cut- but he gets to keep the $1.22 million. Not bad for a years work.


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 3:50 a.m.

Unsigned free agents make teams all the time. Some of them turn out well. Blair White just signed a $1.25 million dollar three year contract.


Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 9:29 p.m.

Hemingway may have his shortcomings compared to more recognized wide outs - but his talent is in catching "impossible" balls. Some NFL team will see that - and will probably end up being credited for their astute pick of Hemingway.


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 5:54 p.m.

@rightmind250: that's LOL funny!


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 3:41 p.m.

Most qb's in the nfl don't close their eyes and throw the ball whithout pupose.

Howard Elzinga

Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 9:27 p.m.

For what its worth and a bit too late. Junior is a big bodied man . His down fall as I have alluded to with his father is his quickness. Possibly with a work out with Barwis along side Martin and Molk would have suited him well. They preach speed but most of all quickness and how to attain it. Explosiveness; Junior as I see it is 5 to 10 pounds overweight from the weight which would make him extremely quick and explosive. A time back I was his size and trim to 217 the quickest, strongest in my life with unbelievable numbers & I never had the natural abilities of others around me but work unbelievably hard to a 4% body fat with unbelievable strength numbers most line men would have been proud to have. I know it is possible and attainable. I wish him well realizing he has the drive and determination to succeed. Just needs the proper preparation and tutelage to succeed at the next level and move up on the draft board.--COACH --Z WHO EVER GETS HIM WILL HAVE A MAN WITH A GREAT HEART--A WINNER. A MICHIGAN MAN!


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 4:33 p.m.

He'll do fine in the NFL as many Michigan receivers do... Avant, Manningham, Breaston, the list goes on and on. Haters to the left


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 3:39 p.m.

I am sure the fact you call him a "Michigan Man" will affect his draft status. Give it a break dude. Are we supposed to shake our keys now?