He is a slight-framed wide receiver with a larger than life personality and an even bigger game to match. He impressed at the Senior Bowl in Mobile last month. Now Boise State wide receiver Titus Young will be taking his show to Indianapolis where he has some awfully lofty personal goals with respect to the drills at the NFL combine later this week.
Young, who is widely seen as one of the best vertical threat receivers in this year’s draft class, has already displayed his top end speed on game tape. However, the Boise State wideout is determined to leave jaws hanging open when receivers run the 40 in workouts on Sunday.
“I’m looking to run a 4.2,” said a straight-faced Young. “I’ve run a 4.35 and that’s my fastest time, but that’s without any technique or anything like that. God has blessed me with a lot of of talent and speed is one of them. Hopefully I can keep on running and run a little bit faster.”
Only two players have run verified sub-4.3 40 times, 2011 Hall of Fame inductee Deion Sanders and Tennessee running back Chris Johnson. Young wasn’t just throwing a number out there when he said ‘4.2’ at a Senior Bowl press conference in late January. He intends to make it happen after working with U.S. Olympic sprinter Maurice Greene the past month.
“I’m working with a world class sprinter,” said Young. “He’s definitely good at what he does with starts and sprinter stance and technique. I feel like I’m more of a natural runner and with his experience and technique I feel like he can cut my time down a little bit. So I’m grateful he’s working with me.”
Young knows his strength is his deep speed, which allowed him to get behind defenders for most of his college career. Boise State’s all-time receiving yardage leader, Young became the first Bronco to put up back-to-back 1,000-yard receiving seasons with a career best and school record 1,215 as a senior.
“If you’re looking for vertical guys Titus Young from Boise State (is a name),” said NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock. “I thought he was the best senior receiver at the Senior Bowl this year coming in and out of his breaks. (He) catches everything. He reminds me a little bit of DeSean Jackson both on and off the field.”
Young would be very happy if he heard Mayock’s comparison first hand since he openly models his game after the Eagles game breaking receiver, who like Young is from the Los Angeles area.
“I really look up to DeSean Jackson,” said Young. “He’s a very electric player. I love watching him. I look at his high school tapes before games. I look at his college highlights before games and I look at his NFL highlights before games just to visualize what he can do. I feel like he’s blessed with a lot of God-given talent and I feel I’m blessed with just as much. I really look up to that dude from my area. He does a good job getting into the end zone and I like getting into the end zone too.”
Jackson had 11 in his big junior season at Cal before declaring himself eligible for the 2008 NFL draft.Young had 19 touchdown catches over his last two college seasons and a pair of kick return touchdowns to his credit with Boise State.
“I feel like I stretch the field. When I have the ball in my hands I feel like I can make a play out of no play,” Young said. “I’m blessed with a lot of God-given talent I’ve been putting in the work the past few years that no one has been able to see. You guys out here see the finished product, but it’s been years of work. It’s not just something you wake up in the morning and do.”
Both Young and Jackson were of a slight build entering the draft. Coming out Jackson was 5’10” 169 pounds. Young stands 5’11” 174. Being that size there were plenty of doubters about the kind of impact Jackson could make in the NFL and the story is no different for Young.
Young chooses to use the naysayers as fuel instead of frustration.
“I feel like it doesn’t hurt me at all,” he said. “I feel like it motivates me. I’ve been doubted my whole life. I’ve always been a sleeper. I’ve been wondering why I’ve been a sleeper for so long. I kind of take it personal when people doubt me, but at the end of the day it’s just motivation.
“I feel like I have a love for this game that no one else has so I’m going to keep on grinding regardless of the outcome. I know with the Lord’s strength on my side I can do all things.”
And later this week Young intends to do many things that leave those in attendance at his workout speechless.
“I’ve got a lot of goals for the combine,” he said. “And I feel like I can reach them.”