One of the most intriguing wide receiver prospects in the country is leaving Ole Miss for the NFL draft. Redshirt sophomore D.K. Metcalf told Yahoo Sports in a telephone interview on Friday he’s declaring for the draft.
Metcalf had generated considerable buzz as a high-end prospect before a neck injury ended his season in October. He told Yahoo Sports that he’s recovered to where he’ll be cleared to fully participate in all football activities on Jan. 22 and will fully take part in the NFL draft process and team workouts.
“I had a month to weigh my options,” Metcalf said, referring to his October injury, in a phone interview on Friday. “I prayed to God and told Him to put the right decision in me. After meeting with Coach [Matt] Luke, they did everything they could to give me the right information, and I made my choice.”
Metcalf earned All-SEC Freshman honors in 2017 after catching seven touchdowns and averaging 16.6 yards per catch. (A broken foot cut short his true freshman season after just two games in 2016). He was on pace for a monster season in 2018, as he’d caught five touchdowns in seven games, before the injury occurred in the first quarter of Ole Miss’ game at Arkansas on Oct. 13. He finished this season with 569 receiving yards and an eye-popping 21.9 average yards per catch.
Metcalf will be a fascinating prospect. He’s 6-foot-4, 230 pounds and has tantalizing athleticism. He’s been timed at 4.46 in the 40-yard dash and has a vertical jump that’s been measured at more than 37 inches. He scored Ole Miss’s lone touchdown against Alabama this season on a 75-yarder that gave the Rebels a short-lived lead.
“He’s raw, but there’s a lot of upside because he’s so big and talented,” an NFL scout told Yahoo Sports on Friday. “He’ll probably go in the second round because he’s so talented. He’s going to kill workouts, and he’s a good kid and football is important to him. I’d be shocked if the health checks out if he lasts past the second round.”
Metcalf brings elite genetics, as his father, Terrence Metcalf, played nine seasons in the NFL on the offensive line, primarily for the Chicago Bears. He started 25 games and was part of the Chicago Bears Super Bowl team in 2006. Eric Metcalf is a cousin who also had a distinguished NFL career. Terrence Metcalf is the offensive coordinator at Pearl River Community College and told Yahoo Sports he’s overjoyed that his son is continuing the family tradition.
“I was very excited,” Terrence Metcalf said. “You know any dad wants to see their kid prosper in this sport, especially if it’s a road you traveled.”
D.K. Metcalf told Yahoo Sports that he wanted to thank his mom, Tonya, who he joked is the secretary of his life and rolled off a list of Ole Miss coaches – Luke, OC Phil Longo, WR coach Jacob Peeler, co-DC Jason Jones and former DC Wesley McGriff.
“When I think of Ole Miss I think of loyalty,” he said. “Going there wasn’t a moment decision, it was a lifetime decision in my eyes, being loyal to my school and city meant a lot to me.”
D.K. Metcalf said his father began training him in sixth grade to prepare him for this moment. (D.K. plans to go to EXOS in the Phoenix to do his pre-draft work.)
“There’s no fear in D.K. as far as the neck,” Terrence Metcalf said. “Being a former NFL and college player myself, I know he’ll do what he has to do to prepare himself for the NFL evaluation process.”
D.K. Metcalf looks forward to carrying on in the family business. “It means a lot,” he said, adding with a laugh. “I’m working to be better than my dad right now. I’m about to start talking trash about it.”
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