ATLANTA — Jamison Crowder was a highly efficient and productive wide receiver during his four seasons with the Duke Blue Devils. He caught 283 passes during his college career for 3,641 yards and 23 touchdowns. He also ran the ball 21 times for 135 yards and a score. If that wasn’t enough, he left an impression on the field outside of his offensive abilities too.
Crowder returned 65 punts and 44 kicks at Duke. He scored four touchdowns on special teams (all punt returns) and gained 1,799 yards in the return game setting the offense up with good field position.
On Sunday Crowder will join "The Panel" on FOX Sports South to talk about his eye popping numbers in college with Marcus Stroud, Dre Bly, Clinton Portis and Tim Couch. The four panelists know a thing or two about putting up big-time statistics at the college level.
Between the four panelists there were four All-American awards, four All-Conference awards, a Heisman finalist and a member of the College Football Hall of Fame. And that’s just on the college side of their resumes.
The quartet also featured two first-round and two second-round picks in the NFL, 35 years of pro experience, five Pro-Bowl selections and a Super Bowl ring.
On the agenda for "The Panel" was just about anything. Of course the five players will discuss Crowder’s accolades.
Crowder’s 283 career receptions place him on top of the all-time ACC list for catches. He also finished third all-time in receiving yards, sixth in punt return yards and fourth in punt return touchdowns.
With a college career like that, the expectation should be that Crowder will be a first-round draft pick. The only problem is Crowder’s diminutive stature.
Crowder stands at just 5-feet-8-inches and weighs 185 pounds. With a frame like that, NFL teams began the pre-draft process with a shied-away approach to the receiver that by all accounts excelled in college, but is probably too small to the produce in the NFL.
But Crowder started changing that NFL mindset at the 2015 Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. The former Duke star was the standout player during North squad practices all week. He was extremely quick coming out of breaks, ran fantastic routes and was nearly impossible to cover one on one.
After upping his draft stock at the Senior Bowl, Crowder didn’t run a terribly fast 40-yard dash at the NFL combine. He said his main goal at Duke’s Pro Day was to outrun his combine time and to continue showing off his refined pass-catching and route-running skills.
Before his Pro Day, however, Crowder spent time in California with a few other prospects, and Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin.
"From a football standpoint, he was a guy big on being physical," said Crowder on what he learned from the experience with Irvin. "I was out there with two bigger receivers and one other receiver my size. He was saying that just because I’m smaller it doesn’t mean that I can’t be a physical guy. The main thing I took from him is being physical and knowing my opponent."
Crowder said the physical aspect of his game was already present; he’s not one to shy away from contact or playing with an edge. But speed is going to do the most to get Crowder noticed in NFL circles.
At his Pro Day, Crowder did best his combine time in the 40-yard dash when he ran a 4.39-second sprint and really impressed the scouts that watched. It was yet another step in setting himself up to be rewarded at the NFL draft.
That’s what the future NFL’er will speak to "The Panel" about Sunday at 9:30 p.m. ET. The group will impart wisdom on how to make the transition, pick apart game film and share real experiences with Crowder. Spending time with the crew is another way — just as working with Irvin or putting in time to prepare for the combine and Pro Day — to utilize the months between college and the NFL as a learning process.
"It’s a great experience doing things that a lot of people don’t get the opportunity to do," said Crowder. "Learning from the best; guys that have been in the situation, the places that I’m trying to get. Any time you can get advice from somebody that’s already been through that, or over that bridge, it’s always great. I’m the type of guy that just wants to soak in as much information, as much advice as I possible so I can use it going forward throughout this career and throughout life."
What one aspect from his time on "The Panel" will Crowder carry with him into training camp? He said it would be more a mental thing than anything physical.
"The main thing I took toward the end of the discussion was to not take a back seat being the new guy coming in," said Crowder. "At the same time, knowing the value of being patient."
Not only will that be a valuable lesson as Crowder adjusts to training camp and the rigors of the NFL. But as he begins his career as a pro he’ll likely be counted on as a special-teams ace before he gets many opportunities to run routes and catch passes.