The criticisms of the Virginia Tech Hokies wide receivers in 2012 were well-documented. There was a YouTube video that made rounds in the national media. There were gripes with how consistent the receivers were, and that they were a big issue in the shadow of a 7-6 season.
Regardless of outside opinion, receivers Marcus Davis and Corey Fuller could become just the second wide receiver duo in Virginia Tech history to be selected in the same draft.
"It says a lot about who we are," Davis told HokieHaven.com. "We went through a lot this season, as a team and as an offense. I think at the next level they see a lot of those intangibles [as well as our tangibles]. There was a lot of people doubting us and saying what we could and couldn't do, but now we're both blessed to have this opportunity."
The only year multiple Hokie receivers were taken in the NFL draft was in 2008, when Eddie Royal, Josh Morgan and Justin Harper were chosen. For now, it certainly appears there's a good chance Fuller and Davis could join them when the seven-round NFL Draft takes place April 25-27.
Davis tested particularly well last weekend at the preparatory NFL Combine in numerous physical categories. He tied for the highest vertical jump (39.5 inches) and was sixth in bench press (19 reps) amongst wide receivers. But Davis said that he wasn't completely satisfied with his overall testing. Still, he earned heavy interest from numerous NFL teams.
"I had sit-down interviews with the coaches, general manager, and wide receivers coach of the Seattle Seahawks, New Orleans Saints, Minnesota Vikings, and Houston Texans," Davis said. "It was just us and we just talked, and they all went really good. So that was another thing I could say I came out on top on- the interview process. I feel like I left a great impression on all of them."
That kind of attention from the front office raises the possibility for Davis to be selected in the draft. He also said Buffalo was very interested. The 6'3", 235-pound receiver said that he was concentrating on running clean routes and making catches (just one drop in his workouts) rather than wowing scouts with his physical abilities, and teams appeared to notice.
Davis said he's glad he will get another chance at Virginia Tech's pro day to improve his testing numbers, but relished the opportunity to be among the nation's best at the combine.
"It was something I always dreamed about, especially as a little kid watching the combine on TV," Davis said. "You always wanted to be in that position, so it was a great situation to be in."
While Davis had been waiting for that weekend his entire life, Fuller has gone through a more complicated route to get to this point. Just two years ago he was a track-star attempting to make the transition to football- he ran track at Kansas and transferred to Virginia Tech. The fact that the speedster has enough interest to be drafted is phenomenal.
"Just being at the combine itself, trying to play football for a living, I feel like I was really blessed to be out there," Fuller told HokieHaven.com. "I ran a 4.37 hand time, I never really understood how the electronic time worked. I was aiming for a 4.35 or faster. But right now I may be finished with running the 40 depending on what the scouts tell me."
While Fuller said there wasn't any NFL team that really stuck out as having the most interest, it certainly appears there is enough interest considering Fuller might not run the 40 again at Virginia Tech's pro day on March 20. His electronic time of 4.43 was tied for the sixth-fastest amongst receivers, and his ability has helped earn comparisons to Tampa Bay Buccaneers receiver Tiquan Underwood by NFL.com.
"Once Corey got here, he picked up on everything really quickly," Davis said. "This year he had to step up, and when his number was called, he was there to make the plays."
Through all the criticism and harassment of the Hokies' inept offense, Davis and Fuller combined for 94 catches, 1,768 yards, and 11 touchdowns in 2012. Some might wonder why Kevin Sherman, the former Virginia Tech wide receivers coach of seven years, was replaced given all the recent professional success of his pupils. Sherman was hired in January at Purdue. Davis offered his opinion on why many receivers have been able to move to the next level.
"I wouldn't really say it was him," Davis said. "It was more player-coaching than anything. We taught each other, especially when Jarrett (Boykin) and Danny (Coale) were here. I sat in the back seat and just learned a lot from them. And when they left, we kept pushing each other."
Regardless of the path taken, the 2013 April draft could be one for the history books, as two Hokie receivers could be drafted in the same year for the second time in the program's 120-year history.