With the ascent of DeSean Jackson of the Philadelphia Eagles, and with more multi-receiver sets becoming a play-to-play part of the NFL, more and more teams are looking for a smaller speed receiver to function more as a primary weapon as opposed to an ancillary threat. It's possible that no receiver in the 2011 NFL draft class is better set to benefit from his new focus than Boise State's Titus Young.
Averaging over 15 yards per reception throughout his career with the Broncos, Young finished his 44-game stretch at Boise State with 198 receptions for 2,999 yards and 25 touchdowns. He also gained 1,435 yards and scored two touchdowns on 55 kick returns, 76 yards on 11 punt returns, and 341 yards and eight touchdowns on 42 carries.
We were recently able to talk with Titus about everything from his new deal with adidas, to the pre-draft evaluation process, to the things that make Boise State's offense different. This is part one of the interview; part two will be up shortly.
Shutdown Corner: Let's talk about the adiZero cleat — I was talking to Eric Berry about this, and he said that the lightness of the cleat, and the way it made him feel faster, actually gave him more confidence on the field. Do you find that to be the case?
Titus Young: It's definitely a cleat that feels like it's not even on your feet. It's like putting on some socks. They're very light — 6.9 ounces — and I believe they're the lightest cleats out there, unless you tell me otherwise. It's great especially for a skill position player, but even if you're a lineman, just having those cleats on makes you feel a bit more agile. It's definitely an advantage.
SC: We talked a bit at the Senior Bowl, and it seemed that you had a really good week there — what was that experience like for you?
TY: It was a great experience — I got to meet a lot of the guys that I looked up to through my years in college, like Jake Locker, , players like that. It was definitely a blast, and I really enjoyed everything about it.
SC: Going from the Senior Bowl to the combine, everyone has little things they want to work on. What did you take away from the Senior Bowl that you wanted to specifically get sharpened up for your combine workout?
TY: I've really just been working on the details of my game, and that's just everything. But areas that I've been trying to press are pretty much putting on a couple more pounds of muscle, and I feel I've been doing a pretty good job in that. I'm about 180 right now coming into my pro day. Maybe I'll eat a couple more peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (laughs).
SC: What's your height?
TY: 5-foot-11 ¾; nobody ever wants to give me six feet!
SC: How did you feel you did at the combine?
TY: I felt that I did my best, and that's all you can ask for.
SC: The obvious player comparison to you — and I know you've been asked about this a lot — is DeSean Jackson. How does it feel to be compared to an elite receiver like that? Do you feel it's an accurate comparison, and do you think your game is different in any way?
TY: I definitely feel that it's a good comparison, and it's great to be compared to a player who's done so much in the NFL in his first couple of years; it's very humbling. But I feel that we do have some of the same exciting qualities — the quickness and speed and elusiveness in and out of our breaks. Making the first guy miss, and I know a lot of teams like a guy like that. I feel I'm very good a those things, being blessed with the abilities I have.
SC: Talk a bit about the Boise State offense — I've been watching it for years, even before you got there, and there seems to be a bit of everything in there. What's the philosophy of the offense, and what does the coaching staff bring to that? How pro-style is it, and are there spread elements as well?
TY: I feel that one thing we definitely specialize in is getting those personnel packages out there. We have a lot of plays where players maybe get a chance to come in for two or three plays in a game, but it gives a lot of guys opportunities to make plays. We have a little bit of pro-style, a little bit of spread — I think we take a bit from everybody. The caches did a really good job getting us on and out of those different personnel packages. It's fun, because you'll have different packages named after you. Like "Bronco Young" tells me to go to the backfield and act as a running back. Or in "Bronco One," I'll be a wide receiver. It's just exciting when the coaches put different players in position to make plays in the offense.
SC: So, it's kind of like the old Gruden verbiage, where they'd have sets called "U Keyshawn (Johnson)" or "U (Keenan) McCardell" or "U (Joe) Jurevicius."
TY: Yeah, something like that.