Meet Khalil Shakir, Boise State’s dynamic WR prospect

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In a 2022 NFL draft class loaded with talent at the wide receiver position, Boise State’s Khalil Shakir has managed to stand out as one of the best.

Shakir was a constant presence for the Broncos’ offense over the course of his collegiate career, tallying 208 receptions, 2,878 yards and 20 touchdowns in the four seasons he spent there. The 2021 first-team All-Mountain West receiver solidified himself as one of the best receivers in the nation by topping 1,100 yards in his final year with the team.

Draft Wire had the chance to speak exclusively with Shakir about his tenure with Boise State, his Senior Bowl experience, being a role model in the community, and much more.

JI: You had quite an accomplished career at Boise State. What’s your favorite memory of your time in the program?

KS: Yeah, I would say my favorite memory – I wasn’t even on the field, to be honest – it was my freshman year, I was out the last couple of games because I’d been hurt. We played BYU, and it came down to the last damn play on the on the goal line, and like I said, the defense is on the field. I wasn’t even playing the game. I couldn’t even watch; the nerves are going up. Obviously, there’s a big rivalry between us and BYU, and I had my eyes somewhat closed, turned away. You can tell the reaction by the crowd and the cheering, so I had my eyes closed, turned away. And then, the next thing you know, the crowd’s going crazy, and our defense held them off. For me, it’s the moment with my brothers and those guys, smiling and happy that we won that game is probably my favorite memory.

JI: You’re one of the best route runners in this WR class. What goes into developing a such a deep route tree, and disguising route concepts?

KS: I would say just running routes, like, are you trying to master the craft of route running – and I’m far from that – but you try and get as close to perfect when you’re running these routes as possible. It’s really just a feel for the game and understanding the game, and for the most part, for me, it’s just getting out there and getting reps in, running those routes. Depending going into game week, the preparation that goes into it as far as, “Okay, we have these routes in, but what type of defense are they? Are they the type that’s…where I can run this route a certain way, or am I going to have to run it a different way, do I cut out, stem it a different way?” Because they’re going to be ready for it.

Just kind of all the personnel that they got going on, as well, goes into route running, too. You can’t just create this route tree in your head and not change it up depending on your opponents, so it was just the preparation that went into it. It was getting out there, getting live reps, running the routes, getting those reps with my quarterback, depending on the coverage and stuff we’re gonna see, as well, so just things like that.

(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

JI: You’ve proven you can line up in the slot, as well as outside. How does your route approach differ depending on how much space you have to work with?

KS: Yeah, I mean, it changes a lot. Like I said, when you’re trying to run these routes, and the alignment and all that within everything, it just depends. Are they a press-man team, so am I gonna have to run my route a certain way? Are they a zone team? If they’re in man, are they playing off coverage? Are they a hard-pressed team? Is he a hard-jam [cornerback]? Or it’s things like that. Everything that you can imagine goes into running routes. You go out there, and you just draw it up on paper, but you don’t have to run everything picture perfect. When it comes to it, you’re gonna have to change up a lot of things when it comes to running those routes to be able to get open in the first place and create that separation.

JI: You’ve been involved with the youth community during your time at Boise State. What does it mean to you to serve as a role model for young fans?

KS: It’s huge. I mean, I remember when I was younger, I had a lot of older people who reached out to me and helped me out and helped my mental game. As far as you know, when you’re a young kid, you’re not really sure what to expect when you get to these moments, so you reach out to your peers, you reach out to people you look up to, and for me, it was “Okay, so I had guys do that for me, so it’s only right that I do the same.” Any chance or opportunity that I get to reach out to the young ones and help them out, whether that’s talking football or talking personal life, I’m there for them. Regardless of who it is, I’m always [there]. If someone has a hand out, I’m more than welcome to help anybody out.

JI: You had the chance to go down to the Senior Bowl a few months ago. What was that experience like?

KS: It was fun. It was a really awesome opportunity that I got to get out and got to have the opportunity to be a part of [it], and I definitely appreciate Jim Nagy and the guys at the Senior Bowl to give me that opportunity to go out there and showcase my talents. It’s a blessing. It was a fun week. [I] got to show scouts not only…they see the football player, but [I] got to show them who I am as a person from a personal standpoint and the type of guy that I am. Like I said, it’s just blessings on blessings. Not many people get that opportunity to go out there and showcase their talents. It was a fun week: awesome week, busy week, but very, very fun.

Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

JI: Which wide receivers have you grown up idolizing?

KS: My dad is an Atlanta Falcons fan, so I watched a lot of Julio Jones growing up, just the physical aspect of the game and the way his physical presence [is] able to threaten DBs using his size. I’ve always wanted to adopt that into my game; [I’m] obviously not as not as big as he is, but just playing with that aggressive mentality, the “go up and get the ball” mentality. “It’s mine when it’s in the air” type of stuff. And that’s all that Julio Jones does, so watching him growing up, I take his game and take aspects from his game and put it into my game, but just with my own little twist on it. He’s definitely somebody that I’ve looked up to pretty much my whole football career.

JI: How do you like to spend your free time outside of football?

KS: I hang out with my fiancé a lot; I’m pretty much with her 24/7. We like to bowl. We bowl a lot; we go every week. That’s something that I’ve pretty much gotten really, really, really into. I got my own bowling balls, own bowling bag and all that. So that’s definitely number one on the list when I’m not busy football.

JI: What’s the best you’ve ever bowled?

KS: 235.

JI: Let’s say I’m an NFL general manager. What would I be getting if I drafted you to my team?

KS: I believe I’m the most versatile player in the draft. I can play slot, I can play ‘X’, I can play ‘Z’, lineup in the backfield and take Wildcat snaps, as well. Not only am I saying that, but [I have] the four years of film to back it up, as well, along with doing that at an elite level. [I’m] a guy that’s going to work, put his head down, work hard, getting the respect of his teammates and just be there for everybody. I’m a team guy. I’m somebody who [wants] everybody on the team to know that they can lean on me whenever they need it, to pick up the phone at 2 a.m. and call me, and I’ll be there for them. That’s just who I am as a person, who I am as a player, and I love the brotherhood aspects of the game, and playing for their brother to my right and to my left.

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2022 NFL draft rankings: Wide Receiver