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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Q&A with Ole Miss WRs coach on Laquon Treadwell

By Andrew Krammer

Note: This is the third in a draft preview series of four interviews delving into the 2016 receiver class, one the Vikings are positioned to pick from this week. They were originally featured in last week’s Purple Podcast.

Q&A with Ohio State WRs coach on Braxton Miller and Michael Thomas
Q&A with Derek Sage, who offered WR Josh Doctson his first scholarship

One of general manager Rick Spielman’s final pro day stops came at Ole Miss, where he finally got to see top receiver prospect Laquon Treadwell run the 40-yard dash. Treadwell’s 4.63 time didn’t shed concerns about his speed, though that doesn’t necessarily become a blemish if Spielman likes what made Treadwell, a long-armed, physical target, the leading receiver in the Southeastern Conference.

Rebels receivers coach Grant Heard recently joined the Purple Podcast for a brief chat on Treadwell, with topics including his rebound from a broken fibula and dislocated ankle, the 40 time and his physical style of play.

WR Laquon Treadwell / height: 6-2 / weight: 221 / arms: 33 3/8? / hands: 9 1/2?

A five-star recruit out of Chicago and will now forgo his senior season to enter the draft at age 20 as the all-time leader in receptions for the Rebels. Came back from a broken fibula and dislocated ankle as a sophomore to lead the SEC last fall with 11 touchdown receptions, including three in his final game for Ole Miss. Among the longest arms (33 3/8?) of receivers at the combine. Visited the Vikings this month and reportedly made six other pre-draft visits to teams. Scouting reports praise his imposing style and wins on contested catches, while questioning how his speed translates to the NFL.

Stats: 82 receptions, 1,153 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2015

“My family just made sure I stayed up and [in] high spirits,” Treadwell said at the scouting combine, referring to his recovery from the gruesome 2014 injury. “I just continued to work hard. It was night and day from six in the morning to 11 at night. Sometimes I would sleep in the facility and just stay up there and watch film, watch myself before and just try to get that comfort level, that confidence back. Some days I was getting pushed out of bounds by defensive backs and talking trash to me, but that all made me the person I am today.”

1500ESPN: Losing a talent like Laquon Treadwell can’t be easy. Did he debate long about turning pro after this strong junior year?

GH: “We didn’t talk a lot about it until later on in the process. Just tried to keep him focused on the season so he could have the best season he could have, and we’d cross that bridge when we got to it. He stayed the course and had an absolutely amazing year. He asked my opinion a couple times and I told him it was time to take that next step.”

1500ESPN: What makes you confident he’s ready for that next step?

GH: “His work ethic. He wants to be great. He wants to be one of the best. I think he has all the tools he needs to succeed.”

1500ESPN: At what point did he regain form after his broken fibula and dislocated ankle in 2014?

GH: “Probably in practice. Once he had confidence in taking a hit and not thinking about it, just playing. Once I saw that, to see him take a lick and get up and be his old self and have excitement about it. I knew he was back and better than he was the year before.”

1500ESPN: How would you describe Laquon’s style of play?

GH: “He’s a big, physical kid. He’s not just a burner, but the one thing he does do is make the tough catch. He has strong hands and has great body control. He knows how to play big. He’s not just a big body that plays small, he knows how to play big. He uses his body well to shield off defenders at times and catch balls in tight spaces.”

1500ESPN: Laquon ran a 4.63 during your pro day. What would you say to those who are concerned about his speed?

GH: “To me, when you put on the tape – I know on the clock it says 4.6 – but when you put on the film he doesn’t play like a 4.6 guy. I see him run by defenders all the time and I can’t remember a time where I’ve actually seen him get run down, caught. I know on paper it might scare some guys and make you question some stuff, but on Saturdays he shows up and plays fast. He doesn’t play like a 4.6 kid.”

1500ESPN: His effort while blocking has been touted. Does he like to hit people?

GH: “He does. He loves to impose his will on a DB when he gets a chance. DBs are always taking shots at wide outs when they get a guy across the middle or something. He knows when he gets a chance to block, not only does it help our team, but he knows it’s a chance to take a shot back at them and use that size and strength that he has.”

1500ESPN: You brought up Laquon’s work ethic. Are there any examples you can provide?

GH: “He lives here for sure. He stays in the film room. He wants to know who he’s going up against, how to attack them. He’s always asking questions. He doesn’t think he has all the answers. He wants to learn and he wants to learn from the best. After practice, he always stays late. There’s times I have to tell him, dude it’s time to go in. He’d stay out there all day and I’d have to tell him: ‘We’ve got a game this week and I need you ready for the game.’ If something wasn’t right, he’d want to stay out there. His approach and want to learn has helped him tremendously.”

1500ESPN: Is there something to be said for a receiver coming from the SEC?

GH: “I would say you know they’re battle-tested. They played against the best. We play against guys that are going to play on Sunday. And so to be in this league helps you for the NFL, as long as you keep growing. You play against the best every Saturday and that’s got to prepare you for that next level.”

1500ESPN: Have you kept in touch with Laquon? If so, what has this process been like for him?

GH: “I did speak with him, he’s excited about it with all the travel and what he has to do – meeting with teams. But he’s enjoying it, taking it day by day and I told him you’ll never get to do this again.”

The post Q&A with Ole Miss WRs coach on Laquon Treadwell appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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