2015 NFL DRAFT
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Jason Avant

Height: 6-1 | Weight: 212 | College: Michigan
 
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Overview

Avant is a physical presence in the mold of former standout Wolverine receivers David Terrell and Braylon Edwards. He is the thirteenth player in school history to catch over 100 passes in a career and the twenty-first to gain over 1,000 yards receiving. With those figures, you would expect him to have a prima donna attitude, but he is a blue chip talent with a blue-collar work ethic. He is one of the few elite players in the game who actually relishes his roll on the Michigan special team units.

He has caught at least one pass in 33 consecutive games and with the graduation of Edwards, stepped into the leadership role on a young offense while serving as team captain. Raised by his grandmother, Avant has also excelled in the classroom. Avant is a two-time Academic All-Big Ten Conference and three-time University of Michigan Athletic Academic Achievement (2002-04) selection.

Avant started and lettered three times in football for head coach Willie Simpson at Carver High School. He was ranked the second-best player on the Best of the Midwest team by Detroit Free Press and named to Max Emfinger's Blue Chip Report's Top 125 players as a flanker. Tom Lemming's Prep Football Report ranked Avant as the fifth-best receiver in the country and sixth-ranked player in the Midwest.

The Super Prep All-American selection was graded a four-star prospect by Rivals100.com and named All-State by the Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune his junior and senior years. He also garnered All-American honors as a free safety and flanker by Max Emfinger.

Avant caught 54 passes for 1,250 yards and 14 touchdowns on offense and intercepted eight passes, batted down 17 others and recorded 57 tackles during his senior year as a safety. He had 54 catches for 890 yards and 15 touchdowns while picking off thirteen passes during his junior season.

Avant set school records for career receptions, receiving yards, touchdowns, and interceptions. He finished with 148 catches for 2,150 yards and 37 touchdowns, recorded 180 tackles and had 18 interceptions at safety during his career. He also excelled in basketball, averaging 16 points per game during his junior season at wing guard.

Avant was a reserve flanker as a true freshman in 2002 at Michigan. He caught two passes for 21 yards and made four tackles (3 solos) on special teams. He appeared in twelve games as a sophomore, starting eight times. He suffered a right ankle sprain that would sideline him for the Houston contest. He would still manage to finish second on the team with 47 receptions for 772 yards (16.4 avg) and two touchdowns.

In 2004, Avant started every game, joining Edwards in giving Michigan one of the most physical receiving tandems in the collegiate game. He ranked second on the squad with 38 catches for 447 yards (11.8 avg) and three touchdowns, but sat out the Rose Bowl clash vs. Texas with a right ankle sprain.

With Edwards graduating to the NFL, Avant became the featured receiver for the Wolverine offense in 2005. The Biletnikoff Award semifinalist caught a career-high 82 passes for 1,007 yards (12.3 avg) and eight touchdowns.

In 47 games with the Wolverines, Avant started 30 times. He had 169 receptions for 2,247 yards (13.3 avg) and thirteen touchdowns. His 169 catches rank third in school history while his 2,1247 yards rank seventh. He also recorded six tackles (5 solos) on special teams.

Analysis

Positives: Has a thick upper body frame with long arms and legs … Shows very good hand/eye coordination, doing a nice job of looking the ball in on underneath and intermediate routes … Uses his hand strength to defeat the jam … Keeps his feet in bounds working along the sidelines and keeps his pad level low and shoulders square to break arm tackles … Very smart and instinctive player who will have no problems digesting a complicated playbook … Does a good job of using his body to shield defenders from the ball … Has the natural hands to reach and pluck away from the body's frame … Shows good concentration and determination to make the tough catches in traffic … Aggressive face-up blocker who works well in combination with the tight ends and tackles when blocking in-line … Good stalker in the open field, taking good angles to get out and neutralize the linebackers when working in space.

Negatives: Despite his good timed speed, he does not show explosiveness or the sudden burst to separate from defenders coming off the snap … More of a straight-line runner, but looks a little awkward trying to adjust his body when making the over-the-shoulder catches … Seems to lose track of the ball in flight when used on deep routes … Needs to do a better job of breaking off his routes, as he rounds off and fails to sell on his patterns … Despite his size, he can be taken down quickly in the open, as he lacks the burst to elude and does not use his hands well to fend off tackles at his legs … Needs to do a better job of securing the ball before heading up field, as he will drop a few easy passes in his haste to run with the ball.

Avant has a thick upper body with adequate muscle definition in his arms and legs. He has long arms, natural hands and good straight-line speed, but does not explode off the snap as well as you would want for a player of his quickness. He has good hand/eye coordination and will use his functional strength to defeat the jam at times.

Avant is a mentally alert athlete who easily takes the plays from the board to the field. He is a good student of the game, putting in extra hours after practice, in the training room and in studying tapes. He is quite effective on third downs, doing a nice job of locating the sticks and keeps his feet in bounds making the tough grabs near the sidelines.

He uses his size to shield defenders from the ball, especially when going across the middle or on post patterns. Avant is used more as a possession type of receiver, as he has the strength to compete for the ball in a crowd. He might revert to body catching the ball at times, but will generally catch with his hands away from the framework. In 2005, he showed better ability to make the big catches in traffic. But, even with his timed speed, he is not the type who will generate the second gear or explosion needed to take the ball to the house.

Besides not generating the burst to elude defenders on deep routes, he does not always make the body adjustments needed to track the ball and make over-the-shoulder catches. He is best using his flexibility on comeback routes, posts and hitches. He times his leaps well and can turn out of his cuts with precision. But, he does not have the burst to gain big yardage after the catch.

Avant has become a very good in-line blocker for the ground game. He faces up with aggression and works well with the tight end on combo blocks. Heading up field, he is alert to stalk and neutralize the linebackers in the open.

Few can ever question the work ethic, character and passion that he brings to the game. He plays until the whistle and really started to come into his own the second half of his senior year. He has a very good frame, but could use additional muscle tone. He might not have the explosive burst you look for in a NFL flanker, but his size and short area receiving skills will definitely make him a solid chain-mover at the next level.

Career Notes

The two-time Biletnikoff Award candidate (2004-05) became the thirteenth player in school history to eclipse 100 career catches and tenth player in Michigan annals to reach the 2,000-yard barrier in career receiving yards … The three-time Academic All-Big Ten Conference (2003-04) and three-time U-M Athletic Academic Achievement (2002-04) pick was also a semifinalist for the Draddy Award, presented by the National Football Foundation for academic and athletic achievement … His 169 receptions rank third on the school's all-time record list behind Braylon Edwards (252, 2001-04) and Marquise Walker (176, 1998-2001) … His 2,247 yards receiving rank seventh in school annals and his thirteen touchdown catches rank twelfth on the school's career-record list.

2005 Season

All-American honorable mention and All-Big Ten Conference first-team selection by The NFL Draft Report and the league's coaches … Academic All-Big Ten pick and team co-captain … Semifinalist for the Biletnikoff Award, given to the top receiver in college football … Recipient of the Bo Schembechler Award, given to Michigan's MVP and was also a semi-finalist for the Draddy Award, presented by the National Football Foundation … Started every game at flanker … Led the team with a career-high 82 receptions and his 1,007 yards (12.3 avg) and eight touchdowns … Ranked fourteenth in the NCAA Division 1-A ranks with an average of 6.83 catches per game … Joined David Terrell (71 in 1999), Jack Clancy (76 in 1966), Marquise Walker (86 in 2001) and Braylon Edwards (85 in 2003, 97 in 2004) as the only players in school history to catch 70 passes in a season … Of the 123 passes targeted to Avant, he converted 51 into first downs, including thirteen on third-down and had fourteen receptions for 20 yards or longer … Gained over 100 yards receiving in three games.

2005 Game Analysis

Northern Illinois … With nine catches for 127 yards and a touchdown, Avant led the charge for the Wolverines … Eight of those catches resulted in first downs, including three on third-down plays … The Wolverines began the day hot by scoring on a 14-play, 74-yard drive. The series was capped off by a fading Avant touchdown grab from 4 yards out in the corner of the end zone at the 9:34 mark. QB Chad Henne engineered the drive, hitting four separate receivers en route to converting four consecutive third-downs. On third-and-six from the NIU 33, Henne found a slanting Avant for 18 yards to set up the Wolverines' first score of the season … It was the 24th consecutive game played that the Wolverine captain has tallied a reception … Converted a third-and-7 play later in the first quarter into an 18-yard gain for a first down, setting up Henne's 34-yard scoring strike to halfback Mike Hart that capped a 6-play, 78-yard drive with 0:20 left in the first quarter … Also had a 26-yard grab for a first down in the second quarter … Asked about his role as the team's new "go-to" receiver, Avant replied, "I'm just trying to go our there and do my job. Chad (Henne) throws the ball pretty hard. I just try to protect myself, and I usually end up catching the ball. I just tried to catch everything that came my way. It's not a Biletnikoff thing; It's a win for Michigan for me. When I was selected as captain, every one of my individual goals were aimed at getting the team a win. I'm not scared going out there, but you're nervous every play. If you go out and play hard every play, everything will take care of itself. When I'm in the middle of a play, I don't care what's around me. I don't look at if I'm in bounds or not. I just try to go up and make the play … Head to Head Competition -- CB Alvah Hansbro.

Notre Dame … Gained 90 yards on five catches, including a season-long 54-yarder, but also missed getting to four other balls thrown his way and had another toss deflected … In the fourth quarter, Michigan inside linebacker David Harris forced Irish tailback Darius Walker to fumble in the backfield, leaving the Wolverines' offense to set up shop at the Notre Dame 18-yard line. Michigan failed to punch the ball in the end zone, with the drive ending on an incomplete fade pass to Avant … The Michigan defense forced the Irish to punt on the ensuing series, giving the Wolverines the ball at their own 39-yard line with 6:44 left in the fourth quarter. QB Chad Henne then found Avant on a fourth-and-4 for a 54-yard pass, setting up at the one-yard line. The Wolverines ended up giving the ball back to Notre Dame, as a fumbled snap rolled into the end zone only to be recovered for an Irish touch-back … Head to Head Competition -- CB Ambrose Wooden.

Eastern Michigan … Snared eight passes for 93 yards and a pair of touchdowns … Turned five of those receptions into first-down plays, including one on third-down action … Midway through the first quarter, Avant caught a 12-yarder, followed by a 14-yard scoring toss from Chad Henne … At the end of that quarter, Henne and Avant again hooked up on a 26-yard touchdown pass … Avant dropped a third-and-13 pass from Henne in the second quarter, forcing the Wolverines to settle for a 37-yard field goal by Garrett Rivas … Avant's 14-yard catch of a Matt Gutierrez pass in the third quarter set up a 21-yard field goal by Rivas … Head to Head Competition -- CB Steven Lewis.

Wisconsin … Went over the century mark for the second time in 2005 when Avant caught seven passes for 108 yards and a 4-yard touchdown … Converted a third-down play into a first down and had six first-down grabs for the day … QB Chad Henne hit Avant with a 27-yard pass on a crossing route early in a second quarter drive and finished it off with a 4-yard scoring lob to Avant in the corner of the end zone on a third-and-goal play to conclude a 9-play, 71-yard drive … Avant had a 9-yard catch in the fourth quarter overturned when instant replay showed that he trapped the ball … With 0:24 left on the clock, Avant went over cornerback Allen Langford to come down with a 24-yard reception, but Henne was then sacked for a 14-yard loss as Wisconsin held on for a 23-20 decision … Head to Head Competition -- CB Allen Langford.

Michigan State … Made a career-high ten catches for 96 yards and a touchdown, as Avant produced five first downs, including two on third-down plays … Michigan scored on its opening possession of the game, marching a season-best 98 yards in 10 plays, capped by a 2-yard touchdown pass from QB Chad Henne to Avant on a fade to the right corner of the end zone … For the second straight time in the series, Michigan and Michigan State forced overtime. The Spartans were unable to score during the first overtime as kicker John Goss pushed a 37-yard field goal attempt wide right. Henne then connected with Avant for 6 yards to start Michigan's overtime possession. On second-and-four at the 19-yard line, tailback Mike Hart rushed for one yard, and on third down with three to go on the 18-yard line, Garret Rivas connected on a 35-yard field goal to give Michigan the victory … Head to Head Competition -- CB Ashton Watson.

Minnesota … Picked up 73 yards on six catches, with four of those grabs resulting in first downs … Avant had a 13-yard catch on a third-and-9 play, followed by an 18-yarder to set up a 23-yard field goal by Garrett Rivas in the first quarter … Head to Head Competition -- CB Trumaine Banks.

Penn State … Totaled 75 yards on eight catches, including four first downs, with two coming on third-down plays while matching up vs. All-Big Ten cornerback Anwar Phillips … Michigan moved into field goal range when Chad Henne and Avant hooked up for a 21-yard completion on the right side, setting up Garrett Rivas' 35-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead … Added a 7-yard catch on a third-and-3 play in the fourth quarter to set up a 47-yard field goal by Rivas … His eight catches gave Avant 140 for his career, moving into seventh on Michigan's all-time receptions list … Avant also recorded a catch in 30 straight games played, tying Mercury Hayes (1992-95) for the most consecutive games with a reception in Michigan history … Head to Head Competition -- CB Anwar Phillips.

Iowa … Accounted for six first downs, as he caught seven passes for 105 yards and a 5-yard touchdown … In the second quarter, Avant set up his 5-yard scoring grab with a 23-yarder on a deep pass over the middle from Chad Henne … In the third quarter, Avant caught a 13-yard pass from Antonio Bass from shotgun formation to set up a 26-yard field goal by Garrett Rivas … Avant then kept a 5-play, 88-yard fourth quarter drive alive with a third-and-11 catch for an 18-yard gain on a slant pass to set up Chad Henne's screen pass to Steve Breaston for a 52-yard touchdown … After holding Iowa to a field goal in its overtime possession, Michigan opened with a two-yard run by tailback Jerome Jackson. On a second-and-8 play from the 23-yard line, Henne completed an 18-yard pass to Avant, who barreled down to the Iowa 5. Jackson then ran for a game-winning 1-yard score in a 23-20 decision … With his 18-yard catch in overtime, Avant became the tenth receiver in Michigan history to gain 2,000 career receiving yards … Head to Head Competition -- CB Jovon Johnson.

Northwestern … Had five catches for 67 yards … Two of those grabs helped convert third-down plays into first downs … Kept the game's opening drive alive with a 23-yard catch on a third-and-6 play … In the second quarter, Chad Henne hit a spinning Avant with a 12-yard pass for a first down, moving Avant into fourth place on Michigan's career reception list with his fifth catch in the first half … Head to Head Competition -- CB Marquice Cole.

Indiana … Added 66 yards with a 7-yard touchdown, as four of his five receptions were good for first downs … Michigan increased the lead to 14-7 as Chad Henne connected on a short pass to Avant for a 7-yard touchdown with 5:49 left in the first quarter … Avant's 10-yard catch in the first quarter moved him into fourth place all-time in career receptions, surpassing David Terrell, who had 152 in his career … Avant caught a pass in 33 straight games played, which is the second-longest streak ever by a Wolverine … Added a 22-yarder in the second quarter to set up a 6-yard touchdown run by Jerome Jackson to cap a 6-play, 70-yard drive … Head to Head Competition -- CB Leslie Majors.

Ohio State … Grabbed four passes for 36 yards, including a 2-yard touchdown on a lob from Chad Henne in the second quarter … Head to Head Competition -- CB Ashton Youboty.

Nebraska (Alamo Bowl) … Closed out his career with eight receptions for 71 yards, but fumbled the ball twice, including one on a fourth quarter 17-yard grab, when he was tackled by linebacker Adam Ickles and the ball was recovered by Husker linebacker Corey McKeon for a 3-yard return … Earlier in the fourth quarter, Avant caught a 26-yard third-and-4 pass thrown by Chad Henne to set up Henne's 7-yard touchdown run … Avant later tackled defensive tackle Ola Dagunduro after the Husker caused and recovered a fumble for a 13-yard return when the defender sacked Henne for a 6-yard loss … With seven seconds left on the clock, Henne threw a pass to Avant, who fumbled the ball, but it was recovered by tailback Mike Hart, who gained 4 yards before handingh the ball to tight end Tyler Eckler, who then ran 62 yards before getting pushed out of bounds at the Nebraska 13, ending the game with a 32-28 loss for Michigan … Head to Head Competition -- CB Cortney Grixby.

2004 Season

All-Big Ten Conference second-team choice by the league's coaches … Added Academic All-Big Ten and U-M Athletic Academic Achievement honors … Played in eleven games, starting ten at flanker … Sat out the Rose Bowl clash with a right ankle sprain that he suffered in the Ohio State game … Finished second on the team with 38 receptions for 447 yards (11.8 avg) and three touchdowns … Of the 58 passes targeted for Avant, he converted 27 into first downs, including nine coming on third-down plays … Had two catches for 20 yards or longer and was penalized twice.

2004 Game Analysis

Miami (Oh.) … His only reception was good for 11 yards on a third-and-4 toss from QB Chad Henne in the fourth quarter … Head to Head Competition -- CB Darrell Hunter.

Nottre Dame … Picked up 30 yards on three catches, but turned the ball over when he fumbled after making an 8-yardcatch midway through the fourth quarter. Cornerback Dwight Ellick recovered the ball and Irish QB Brady Quinn then threw an 8-yard scoring strike to fullback Rashan Powers-Neal … Head to Head Competition -- CB Dwight Ellick.

San Diego State … Had a 16-yard reception in the second quarter for a first down … Took down Antwan Applewhite after the defender intercepted a Chad Henne pass and returned it 75 yards to the UM 2 before Avant dragged the Aztec down, but SDSU defensive tackle Blake Lobel was penalized 15 yards on the play, pushing the ball back to the UM 17 in the first quarter … Penalized for clipping during a 5-yard run by Mike Hart in the fourth quarter … Head to Head Competition -- CB Hubert Castile.

Iowa … Made three catches for 42 yards, including 15 & 14-yarders that were good for first downs … Head to Head Competition -- CB Jovon Johnson.

Indiana … Picked up 27 yards on a pair of catches, keeping the game's opening drive alive with a 14-yard gain on a third-and-8 pass from Chad Henne, setting up a 40-yard touchdown pass from Henne to receiver Jermaine Gonzalez … Head to Head Competition -- CB Buster Larkins.

Minnesota … Followed with a season-high six catches for 87 yards, converting five of those grabs into first downs … With Michigan (5-1, 3-0 Big Ten) on its own 13-yard line with 3:04 left in the fourth quarter, the U-M offense began its march down the field. Playing against the clock, the Wolverines efficiently completed first downs to make their way to the Minnesota end zone. The six-play, 87-yard drive was highlighted by two passes over the middle to Avant for a combined 37 yards. On second-and-1 on the Minnesota 31, QB Chad Henne then found tight end Tyler Ecker for the game-winning 31-yard touchdown … Avant earlier set up a 4-yard scoring lob by Henne to Braylon Edwards with an 11-yard grab … reception … Head to Head Competition -- CB Ukee Dozier.

Illinois … Totaled 48 yards on three receptions … Helped a 13-play, 62-yard drive with a 21-yard catch, followed with a 16-yarder on a third-and-12 play to set up Max Martin's 1-yard scoring run in the first quarter … Also caught a two-point conversion after a Michael Hart 4-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter … Head to Head Competition -- CB Kelvin Hayden.

Purdue … Made four catches for 45 yards and a pair of first downs … In the first quarter, the Wolverines capped a drive with a 25-yard touchdown pass from Chad Henne to tailback Mike Hart. Right offensive guard Matt Lenz and Avant led Hart down the right side and into the end zone on the screen pass that capped a seven-play, 80-yard drive in 2:43 … Head to Head Competition -- CB Antwaun Rogers.

Michigan State … Collected 47 yards on five catches, including a 5-yard touchdown … On a third-and-goal play at the MSU five-yard line, Chad Henne lofted a pass to the back right corner of the end zone, where Avant rose above two defenders, brought down the ball and landed with one foot inbounds. Garrett Rivas tacked on the PAT tie the score at 37-37 and send the game into a third overtime … Earlier in the game, Henne hit Avant and Braylon Edwards with a pair of 11-yard receptions on first down before Edwards hauled in a 19-yard pass to move U-M to the Spartan 17-yard line, setting up a Rivas 34-yard field goal in the second quarter … Head to Head Competition -- CB Jaren Hayes.

Northwestern … Hauled in five passes, with four good for first downs, picking up 54 yards and a 14-yard score … With 6:48 remaining in the third quarter, Chad Henne dropped back and connected with Avant on a corner-fade on a third-and-4 play for a 14-yard touchdown, extending the Michigan lead to 21-13 … Head to Head Competition -- CB Marvin Ward.

Ohio State … Had four receptions for 40 yards and a 4-yard touchdown … Converted two third-down plays into first downs … In the first quarter, Michigan generated a 9-play, 87-yard drive that was capped by a 4-yard touchdown pass from Chad Henne to Avant in the back right corner of the end zone. The scoring drive consumed 3:16 and tied the score at 7-7 at the 10:25 mark … In the fourth quarter, Henne threw a 6-yard touchdown to tight end Tyler Ecker that was set up by a 13-yarder to Avant in the left flat prior to the scoring play … Suffered an ankle sprain on that play and did not return to the game … Head to Head Competition -- CB Ashton Youboty.

Texas (Rose Bowl) … Did not play (ankle).

2003 Season

Academic All-Big Ten Conference choice, adding U-M Athletic Academic Achievement honors … Second-team All-Big Ten pick by the league's coaches and honorable mention by the media … Started eight games at flanker, finishing second on the team with 47 catches for 772 yards (16.4 avg) and two touchdowns … Sat out the Houston game with an ankle sprain.

2003 Game Analysis

Notre Dame … Earned his first career start, responding with 53 yards on three catches.

Oregon … Scored his first career touchdown on a 23-yard throw from QB John Navarre in the third quarter, finishing the day with 98 yards on six receptions.

Iowa … Hauled in seven passes for a career-high 175 yards, setting up a scoring drive with a 71-yard grab (also a career-long).

Minnesota … Followed with six catches for 57 yards.

Illinois … Gained 71 yards on four receptions.

Purdue … Amassed 90 yards on five grabs.

Michigan State … Totaled 51 yards on three catches.

Northwestern … Caught two passes for 40 yards, including a 22-yard touchdown on a toss from John Navarre in the second quarter.

Southern California (Rose Bowl) … Closed out the year with four receptions for 61 yards.

2002 Season

Saw action in twelve games as a reserve flanker, catching two passes for 21 yards … His first career catch was an 11-yarder vs. Michigan State, followed by a 10-yard catch in the Wisconsin clash … Also recorded four tackles (3 solos) … Had one tackle in each of the Illinois, Purdue, Minnesota and Wisconsin games.

Injury Report

2002: Sat out the Houston game (9/06) with a right ankle sprain.

2003: Missed the Rose Bowl clash vs. Texas when he sprained his right ankle in the season finale vs. Ohio State.

Agility Tests

Campus: 4.45 in the 40-yard dash … 39-inch vertical jump … 32 1/2-inch arm length … 9 1/2-inch hands.

High School

Attended Carver (Chicago, Ill.) High School, playing football for head coach Willie Simpson … Ranked the second-best player on the Best of the Midwest team by Detroit Free Press and named to Max Emfinger's Blue Chip Report's Top 125 players as a flanker … Tom Lemming's Prep Football Report ranked Avant as the fifth-best receiver in the country and sixth-ranked player in the Midwest … The Super Prep All-American selection was graded a four-star prospect by Rivals100.com and named All-State by the Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune his junior and senior years … Garnered All-American honors as a free safety and flanker by Max Emfinger … Caught 54 passes for 1,250 yards and 14 touchdowns on offense and intercepted eight passes, batted down 17 others and recorded 57 tackles during his senior year as a safety … Had 54 catches for 890 yards and 15 touchdowns while picking off thirteen passes during his junior season … Set school records for career receptions, receiving yards, touchdowns, and interceptions … Finished with 148 catches for 2,150 yards and 37 touchdowns, recorded 180 tackles and had 18 interceptions at safety during his career … Also excelled in basketball, averaging 16 points per game during his junior season at wing guard.

Personal

Sociology major, enrolled in the Division of Kinesiology … Twice named to the Academic All-Big Ten Conference team, adding University of Michigan Athletic Academic Achievement accolades three times … Born Jason Raye Avant on 4/20/83 … Resides in Chicago, Illinois.

 
 
 

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