Chris Cannon, Blount Press Row
Chattanooga - It's that patented fade route to the right side of the end zone that we've all grown to love. However, even though Wesley Idlette's career at Maryville College is over, it may not be the last time the play is seen.
Idlette, the record holder in every career receiving statistic at MC, participated in the NFL combine at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga on Monday. Speed, agility, and receiving were just a few of the abilities that the Maryville College standout showed off for the NFL scouts.
And, there were plenty.
With whistles and time clocks, scouts from the Titans, Colts, Chargers, Dolphins, Bengals, Panthers, and Patriots, just to name a few, watched the participants with great detail. To most, nerves would take over. To Idlette, it was just excitement.
"I'm very excited," he said. "Word just can't express how excited I am. It's an opportunity to showcase my talents."
"I just came out here and had a lot of fun. Waking up this morning was like Christmas day…"
In fact, even the night before, Idlette said he felt fine. Playing at a Division III college, he knew he didn't have as much pressure going into the next day's events.
"The [Division I players] kind of have higher expectations due to the fact that they may lose draft spots if they perform bad," Idlette said on Sunday night. "Coming from Division III, everybody kind of projects me as that I'm not going to perform as good. I have no nervousness, so I'm just going to go out there and do my best."
That's just what he did. In the vertical jump, Idlette finished with 32 inches, before posting an impressive 9-feet-6-inches in the broad jump which directly followed. His 40-yard dash came in at an unofficial 4.53. To the scouts, he was right there with the rest of them.
"He did a good job," one prominent scout who wished to remain anonymous said. "We have to watch the film on him. He ran good enough. We'll just have to go back and take a look."
Another also said that he was right on the average, which Maryville College offensive coordinator, Shaun Hayes confirmed.
"I think it's good for his size…" Hayes said. "Those are very similar numbers to receivers that have been recruited in the past. I'm very anxious to see what the scouts think about his numbers."
That's true. Randall Cobb, former Alcoa High and University of Kentucky standout completed his 40-yard dash with a 4.46 during his NFL combine a year ago. Cobb now plays wide receiver for the Green Bay Packers after grabbing the final pick in the second round of the draft.
For Idlette, the day was something he could be proud of.
"I feel confident in everything I've done so far," he said with a smile. "I wouldn't take back anything that I've done. It was a good day."
However, Idlette wasn't the only one proud. His mother, who was in attendance for the MC senior's combine appearance, was probably one of the proudest in the stadium.
"First of all, I'm just overwhelmed that he got invited to come," Wesley is my baby. I just feel like everything he's accomplished, he's earned it. He's just a hard, dedicated worker. I just wish him the best. I wish him the best."
He's already accomplished an impressive career. Garnering records in career receptions (206), career touchdowns (25), and career reception yards (2,820), Idlette has a complete resume following his time at Maryville College.
"Talent had a lot to do with it," Hayes said of his career at MC. "That's why we recruited him. On top of that, he was able to adapt. He found out real quick that when you have that much success, a lot of people start putting three guys on you at one time. He had to adjust to it and learn to become a team player and a decoy at some times. When the time came, Wesley always made the play for us."
Making those plays for the Orange and Garnet were more than just career marks for the wide out. Idlette says that his time at Maryville has prepared him for the rough road he would face of getting to the next level in football.
"It's been a difficult process with me playing at a lower division," Idlette said of his Division III school. "Coming out here with guys of upper levels and being able to compete has brought me to where I could improve my performance."
"Whoever's willing to give me an opportunity, that's where I'm looking forward to going."