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Posted on Mon, Feb 27, 2012 : 5:58 a.m.

Michigan's Junior Hemingway boosts draft case with strong all-around combine performance

By Kyle Meinke


Former Michigan receiver Junior Hemingway runs a drill at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis on Sunday.

AP Photo

More combine results: David Molk reacts to posting best bench press among the offensive linemen | Mike Martin falls short of goal

INDIANAPOLIS -- While Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon and Georgia Tech's Stephen Hill were capturing the combine spotlight among receivers, a lesser-known player was making his move.

Junior Hemingway.

The former Michigan receiver is known around the Big Ten as one of the league's best big-play threats, and he was the Wolverines' top wideout this past season.

But nationally, Hemingway isn't a known commodity after his first four seasons were derailed by several factors, including playing in the run-heavy spread-option. Even this past year, after a move to a hybrid offense, he was victimized by the erratic play of quarterback Denard Robinson.

After Sunday, however, Hemingway's name is getting around after he impressed league personnel by standing out in several speed drills.


Former Michigan receiver Junior Hemingway makes a catch during a drill at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis on Sunday.

AP Photo

He was focused mostly on the 40-yard dash, in which he finished 19th among 40 receivers with a time of 4.53 seconds.

He's a big wideout (6-foot-1, 225 pounds) and not a burner, so he didn't need to crack the event's upper echelon. He just needed to show adequate speed, and he did that.

In the other events, Hemingway really stood out:

  • Three-cone: 6.59 seconds, first out of 26 receivers
  • 20-yard shuttle: 3.98 seconds, tied for first out of 26 receivers
  • 60-yard shuttle: 11.16 seconds, 2nd out of 13 receivers

"There aren't many receivers who did more for themselves than that guy," an AFC scout said of Hemingway. "He wasn't even on our radar going into this thing. He is now.

"It's way too early to say where or if he'll be drafted, I'm not prepared to make that distinction, but he's definitely in the conversation now. And that's more than you could have said about him a week ago."

The cone drill might be the biggest takeaway from Hemingway's day. The workout measures a player's ability to change directions at a high speed, which was a major concern regarding Hemingway entering the weekend.

ESPN draft expert Todd McShay said recently that he likes Hemingway, but "he’s not very sudden, not very explosive, won't provide many home runs and will struggle to separate on intermediate routes."

Hemingway also posted 21 repetitions in the bench press, which was one off the lead among receivers, and 124.0 inches in the broad jump, which was eighth. The former tests upper-body strength, and the latter lower-body strength.

So, Hemingway's strong. But, that already was known. What wasn't known was his speed, and his performance in those drills will be his lasting impression from this week's combine.

And just might get him paid.

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



Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 4:35 p.m.

I don't know about "explosive", but if you include "automatic touchdown in jump ball at the back of the end zone", that's explosive enough for me.


Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 8 a.m.

Glad to see you're posting regularly now McQueen, I always enjoyed your comments during Football game threads. I also like your insight on M football, I find it agreeable. You nailed this one on the head, I just hope Denard improves his passing so that I won't have a fit while watching him next season.

Steve McQueen

Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 9:38 p.m.

Thanks Mick. Junior can have a good career in the NFL. Look at Jason Avant who has put together a solid career with the Eagles.... not to dish on Avant, cause he is a good guy and player, but Junior is bigger, faster, and has better hands than Jason and can go up and get it... based on athletic ability alone I think Junior has a good shot.


Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 6:11 a.m.

Good luck in the NFL Jr, glad to see good things happen for a guy who has faced so much adversity from injuries and coaching changes.

Steve McQueen

Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 12:11 a.m.

Junior was always very skilled for his size...and he has excellent hands as well. He showed flashes of brilliance at Michigan, but had injuries and unfortunately had to deal with the RR error and much less emphasis on passing...he could have flourished in a typical Michigan offense...anyway its great to see him raise his stock. NFL scouts need to look harder at these Michigan players who were done a disservice by having to endure the RR error and not allowed to show their true talents on the field due to the crazy schemes on O and D, and poor position coaching by RR and his staff....which hampered their progress as players.


Mon, Feb 27, 2012 : 7:27 p.m.

Yeah... Hemmingway sure is showing off some nice ball security in that first pick.


Mon, Feb 27, 2012 : 5:58 p.m.

"victimized by the erratic play of Denard" That's certainly subjective. Sure it hurt him at times, but it also helped him too, I'd hardly say he was "victimized."

Steve McQueen

Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 12:12 a.m.

I love Denard, but it is very rare for him to hit a receiver in stride, allowing the receiver to get Yards after Catch....this is the biggest reason that Borges modified his West Coast scheme and put in more spread concepts that Denard can handle.... he is not accurate with the football and that DOES affect a WRs numbers ex734


Mon, Feb 27, 2012 : 1:25 p.m.

McShay is a dolt.


Mon, Feb 27, 2012 : 3:23 p.m.

Nice use of "dolt".

David Vande Bunte

Mon, Feb 27, 2012 : 2:47 p.m.

He is still worlds more competent than Mel Kiper Jr.