2017 NFL Draft

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Donnie Avery, WR

Height: 5-11 | Weight: 192 | College: Houston
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Blessed with incredible speed, Donnie Avery is difficult for cornerbacks to catch once he reaches a clearing.

Avery, clocked at 4.2 seconds in the 40-yard dash, put his quickness to good use during a breakout performance in 2007. He led Conference USA and ranked fourth in the nation with an average of 112 receiving yards per game, while his averaged of seven catches per contest also led the league and ranked 14th nationally.

In addition, he shattered school and conference records during his final campaign with 346 yards receiving in the Rice contest, becoming the first player in C-USA annals to gain over 300 yards receiving in a game. His 427 all-purpose yards in that game also set new league and Houston records, topping his own record set two weeks earlier with 350 yards vs. East Carolina.

At Hastings High School, Avery was a unanimous first-team All-District selection as both a wide receiver and return specialist during his final season. He helped lead the team to the district championship and an 11-3 record, hauling in 36 passes for 502 yards and two touchdowns to lead the District 19-5A receivers in 2002. He also returned 13 punts for 399 yards and three scores, as well as seven kickoffs for 345 yards and one touchdown, in addition to rushing 16 times for 175 yards and two scores.

Avery turned down scholarship offers from Kansas State, Tennessee, Texas Christian, New Mexico and Kansas when he decided to enroll at Houston in 2003. He competed on the scout team that year, moving into the starting lineup for all 11 games in 2004.

He finished fourth on the team with 18 receptions for 293 yards (16.3-yard average) and two scores, adding 343 yards on 18 kickoff returns (19.1 avg). He also returned three punts for 28 yards (9.3 avg) and registered seven tackles (four solo) with a stop for a two-yard loss. For his efforts, he was selected to the Freshman All-Conference USA squad.

As a sophomore, Avery started eight of 12 contests. He ranked third on the team with 44 receptions and second with 688 yards (15.6-yard average), including five touchdowns. He also produced five solo tackles. Eight of his catches were for 20 yards or longer.

In 2006, Avery appeared in 14 contests, earning 12 starts. He ranked second on the Cougars with 57 catches for 852 yards (14.9-yard average) and five touchdowns, as 12 of those grabs were for gains of at least 20 yards. He totaled 113 yards on six kickoff returns (18.8 avg) and amassed 965 all-purpose yards.

Avery earned All-American second-team honors as an all-purpose back from The NFL Draft Report. He was a consensus All-Conference USA first-team choice as a receiver and second-team pick on special teams. He paced the Cougars with a career-high 91 catches for 1,456 yards (16.0 avg) and seven touchdowns. Seventeen of his catches were for at least 20 yards, as he also returned 15 kickoffs for 424 yards (28.3 avg) and a score. He recorded two solo tackles and generated 1,880 all-purpose yards.

Avery started 42 of 50 games at Houston. He became the third player in school history to gain over 3,000 yards receiving, as he caught 210 passes for 3,289 yards (15.7-yard average) and 19 touchdowns. He had 41 catches for 20 yards or longer and returned 40 kickoffs for 896 yards (22.4-yard average), including one score. He added 28 yards on three punt returns (9.3 avg) and recorded 14 tackles (11 solo) with a stop for a two-yard loss. He amassed 4,213 all-purpose yards, an average of 84.26 yards per game.


Positives: Has a lean frame with solid muscle tone and can add more bulk without having it hinder his timed speed … Possesses large hands, a tight abdomen, good bubble, a bit high-cut, but shows developed thighs and calves … Has impressive strength for a player his size, but the weight room numbers don't always translate to the playing field … Displays blazing speed, quick feet, and excellent explosiveness and change-of-direction agility … Plays with very good awareness, showing the ability to adjust to coverage without having to throttle down … Has generated good production catching the ball outside his framework … Sometimes looks a little tight in his lower base, but is generally an agile and elusive route runner who can rack up yardage after the catch if he is able to elude the initial tackle … Has good hands and body control, and the necessary ball skills to make the tough catch … Has improved his concentration lapses catching in a crowd, but is still a work in progress … Big-play type who works hard to protect the ball after the catch … Quick-twitch type with suddenness … When not challenged, he is very sudden getting into his routes … Does a nice job of working back to the ball when his quarterback is under pressure … Shows crisp speed-cut moves, doing a nice job of dropping his pads and accelerating out of his breaks … Shows fluid body moves timing his leaps and extending for the ball along the boundaries … His change-of-direction agility and body control usually leave second-level defenders grabbing at air … Good zone route runner who demonstrates excellent awareness along the boundary … Finds the soft spots in zone coverage, executing crisp double moves in his route to elude and can easily gobble up the cushion and run by the defenders vs. the level of competition he has faced … Plays the game hard and is not afraid to lay out for a ball or take a big hit … A vocal leader who sets a good example for other players by doing extra work in the weight room and in position drills … Gets upfield quickly using good burst and acceleration, as well as a clean release at the line of scrimmage … Freezes defenders off the line with excellent suddenness and change-of-direction agility … Has enough functional strength to push defensive backs out of their backpedal … Displays an outstanding ability to drop his weight quickly, getting in and out of cuts crisply … Creates good separation with his outstanding playing speed and runs crisp routes, using a good center of gravity to make his cuts … Has the quick feet to plant and make the initial tackler miss … Demonstrates good timing to challenge for the pass at its high point … Will cradle the ball at times, but works hard to get good placement … Can pluck the ball away from his body and reacts quickly to the ball in flight, showing good ability to dig out low throws … Can take the ball all the way when he's out in front of a defense … Very creative on the move and does a good job of holding on to the ball after colliding with the defender … Has very good torso flexibility on returns and also possesses the speed, elusiveness, and agility to be a good return specialist at the next level.

Negatives: Has a muscular frame, but lacks the ideal bulk and size to get physical with defenders competing for the ball in a crowd … Has very good suddenness when he gets a clean release off the line, but vs. the press, he dances around too much to get into his route quickly … Has had concentration lapses, mostly when having to catch in tight areas, when he hears the defender's footsteps … Needs to be more alert to low tackles, as he is easily tripped up in the open (needs to sidestep better) … Has good elusiveness after the catch, but is prone to running into spots … Will go for the ball in a crowd, but gets ping-ponged often, resulting in a failure to get to those throws … More of a pest-type blocker, as his weight-room strength does not translate to the field … Will get pushed back by a bull rush when blocking on the line … Has had poor production inside the red zone.

Compares To: KEVIN CURTIS-Philadelphia … Avery's suddenness into his routes have some comparing him to Buffalo's Lee Evans, but Avery's run-after-catch skills aren't first-rate and he's easily tripped up by low tackles. Avery's quickness is world-class. He has outstanding change-of-direction agility and does an excellent job of working his feet along the sideline. His speed allows him to create separation, but he must learn to get a better push vs. the jam, as he will dance around too much in attempts to escape the press. He is a quality kickoff returner, but not in the Devin Hester mold. Still, he will be a significant contributor as a return specialist. In a multiple-receiver formation, Avery instantly provides a team with a valid deep threat on the outside.

Career Notes

Became the fifth player in school history to amass over 4,000 all-purpose yards (4,213) in a career, joining Ketric Sanford (5,817: 1996-99), Chuck Weatherspoon (5,715: 1987-90), Vincent Marshall (4,762: 2003-06) and Brandon Middleton (4,104: 1999-2003) … His 4,213 yards rank eighth overall in Conference USA history and third among wide receivers, topped only by Arnold Jackson of Louisville (4,915: 1997-2000) and Zek Parker of Louisville (4,459: 1998-2001) … Ranks fourth in Houston history with 210 receptions, surpassed by Vincent Marshall (272, 2003-06), Orlando Iglesias (222, 1997-2001) and Manny Hazard (220, 1989-90) … His 210 catches rank seventh on the Conference USA career list behind Arnold Jackson of Louisville (300, 1997-2000), Vincent Marshall, JaJuan Dawson of Tulane (236, 1996-98), Orlando Iglesias, Ibn Green of Louisville (217, 1996-99) and Roydell Williams of Tulane (215, 2000-04) … Avery gained 3,289 yards receiving, joining Vincent Marshall (3,770) and Elmo Wright (3,347; 1968-70) as the only players in school history to gain over 3,000 yards receiving in a career … His 3,289 yards placed him third in Conference USA annals behind Vincent Marshall and Arnold Jackson of Louisville (3,670: 1997-2000) … His 19 touchdown catches rank sixth in UH history, topped by Elmo Wright (34, 1968-70), Manny Hazard (31, 1989-90), Vincent Marshall (26, 2003-06), Brandon Middleton (24, 1999-2003) and Ken Hebert (22, 1965-67) … Avery's average of 112.0 yards receiving per game in 2007 rank second on the league season-record chart behind Roddy White of Alabama-Birmingham (121.0 yards per game, 2004) … Amassed 1,880 all-purpose yards in 2007, the fourth best season total in Houston annals, topped by Chuck Weatherspoon (2,391 in 1989 and 2,038 in 1990) and Robert Newhouse (1,988 in 1971) … His 1,456 yards receiving in 2007 are topped only by Manny Hazard (1,689 in 1989) on the school's single-season chart … His 1,456 yards also set a Conference USA record, topping the old mark of 1,452 yards by Roddy White of Alabama-Birmingham in 2004 … His 91 receptions in 2007 rank seventh on the Cougars' season-record list and only Arnold Jackson of Louisville (101 in 1999) and JaJuan Dawson of Tulane (94 in 1999) had more receptions in a season in Conference USA annals … His kickoff return average of 28.26 yards in 2007 rank third in Houston's annual record books behind Claude King (29.1 average in 1958) and Mike Smith (29.1-yard average in 1998) … His 13 catches vs. Rice in 2007 were the most by a Conference USA receiver since Brian Robinson of Houston caught 15 balls in the 2000 Army clash … Avery's 346 yards receiving vs. Rice in 2007 broke the old league game-record of 260 yards by Kendrick Lee of Southern Mississippi vs. Houston in 1996 and broke the old school record of 262 yards by Elmo Wright vs. Wyoming in 1969 … His 346 yards rank third in NCAA Subdivision history behind Troy Edwards of Louisiana Tech (405 vs. Nebraska in 1998) and Randy Gatewood of Nevada-Las Vegas (363 vs. Idaho in 1994) … Avery's 427 all-purpose yards in the 2007 Rice game broke the league game record he set two weeks earlier vs. East Carolina (350), both topping the old Conference USA record of 347 yards by Cory Rodgers of Texas Christian vs. Louisville in 2004 … His 427 yards rank fifth on the NCAA list to 578 Emmett White of Utah State (578 vs. New Mexico State in 2000), Reggie Bush of Southern California (513 vs. Fresno State in 2005), Brian Pruitt of Central Michigan (435 vs. Toledo in 1994) and Moe Williams of Kentucky (429 vs. South Carolina in 1995) … His 100-yard kickoff return vs. East Carolina in 2007 tied Ricky Wilson of Houston (vs. Louisville in 2003), Fred Smith of Tulane (vs. Texas Christian in 2003) and Broderick Clark of Louisville (vs. Kentucky in 2002) for the longest kickoff return in Conference USA history.

2007 Season

All-American second-team choice as an all-purpose back by The NFL Draft Report … Consensus All-Conference USA first-team choice as a receiver, adding second-team honors as a return specialist … Earned Walter Camp Football Foundation National Player of the Week honors vs. Rice … Tied for 14th in the country and led the league with an average of seven catches per game … Led the conference and ranked fourth nationally in receiving yardage (112.0 yards per game) … Started 11 of 13 games at flanker, coming off the bench in the Alabama and Texas Southern contests … Led the Cougars with a career-high 91 catches for school and conference records of 1,456 yards (16.0-yard average), as he had seven touchdowns and 17 grabs of 20 yards or longer … Returned 15 kickoffs for 424 yards (28.3-yard average) and a score … Recorded two solo tackles and gained 1,880 all-purpose yards, an average of 144.6 yards per game … Turned the ball over three times on five fumbles and had 12 of 130 passes targeted to him deflected by the opposition … 60 of his catches produced first downs, as he converted 15-of-25 third-down plays and both fourth-down throws … In addition to his seven touchdown catches, he had key receptions that led to 10 other Houston touchdowns and five Cougar field goals.

2007 Game Analysis

Fall Camp … On Aug. 24, Houston got a scare toward the end of practice when Avery's left knee was caught underneath his body. The receiver ran an out route when UH was practicing a third-and-8 play and the pass was a little too high. Avery went up in the air and linebacker Matt Nicholson collided with him. His Avery's left knee buckled when he landed on the turf, and he was down for nearly a minute. He got up on his own power and hobbled toward the side. Head coach Art Briles, however, said that it wasn't as serious as it looked. "(Avery's) going to be fine," Briles said. "I think he got a slight hyperextension in his knee or MCL (medial collateral ligament), but he's going to be fine."

Oregon … Avery opened the season with six catches for 66 yards, as five of those grabs were good for first downs … Head to Head Competition-CB#32-Jarius Byrd (6:00-208)-Five tackles (2 solos), one interception, one fumble recovery.

Tulane … Avery struggled to keep possession of the ball, fumbling twice, including one that was recovered by Tulane's Joe Goosby for a touchback, after the receiver raced 43 yards with a catch to the Tulane 1, where he coughed up the ball before crossing the goal line … He would make seven catches for 103 yards for the day … Head to Head Competition-CB#12-Josh Lumar (5:10-176)-Seven tackles (six solos), a stop for a 3-yard loss, one forced fumble.

Colorado State … The Cougars flanker again had a case of the drops, fumbling a 3-yard catch in the second quarter that CSU's Tommie Hill recovered for a 6-yard return … He would finish the game with 76 yards on seven catches (four for first downs) and 50 yards on two kickoff returns … Head to Head Competition-CB#29-Joey Rucks (5:10-190)-Ten tackles (8 solos), a 6-yard interception return.

East Carolina … Avery earned Conference USA Player of the Week honors, setting a league game-record with 350 all-purpose yards. He snared nine passes for 189 yards and a pair of touchdowns, adding 161 yards and a score on four kickoff returns and a solo tackle, but he also fumbled for the third-straight game … In the first quarter, he caught a screen pass from Case Keenum for a 64-yard touchdown … On the Cougars' next series, Keenum had a pass intercepted by Pierre Bell and Avery tackled the defender after a 13-yard return … He fumbled the ball after a 12-yard reception in the second quarter, but made up for that miscue by racing 36 yards for a touchdown on a fourth-and-8 deep pass from QB Blake Joseph with 0:09 left in the first half … As time expired in the third quarter, he fielded a kickoff 2 yards in the end zone and exploded for a 100-yard scoring return … Head to Head Competition-CB#8-Travis Williams (5:10-186)-Ten tackles (6 solos), one forced fumble.

Alabama … Facing one of the nation's top defensive backs, Avery grabbed four passes for 104 yards and a touchdown, as he also gained 34 yards on two kickoff return … Near the end of the second quarter, the flanker slipped past Simeon Castille on second-and-9 to get to Blake Joseph's 68-yard scoring lob … Head to Head Competition-CB#2-Simeon Castille (6:01-193)-Six tackles (3 solos), one interception.

Rice … Avery became the 14th player in college history to gain over 300 yards receiving in a game, setting school and conference records with 346 yards and two touchdowns on thirteen receptions … He returned three kickoffs for 81 yards, finishing with league and school records with 427 all-purpose yards … His 346 receiving yards rank fourth and his 427 all-purpose yards rank fifth on the NCAA Subdivision game-record charts … In the first quarter, Avery grabbed a 77-yard crossing pass from Blake Joseph for a touchdown … He then hauled in a deep pass from Joseph for 64 yards to the Rice 7, where tailback Anthony Alridge took the ball the final 7 yards for a score … Joseph came back to Avery with a 67-yard touchdown bomb at the end of the first frame … Case Keenum hit Avery with a 13-yard toss on fourth-and-6, setting up the QB's 2-yard touchdown run that ended a 12-play, 81-yard third quarter series … Head to Head Competition-CB#15-Brandon King (5:09-182)-Five tackles (4 solos), one pass deflection, one interception.

Alabama-Birmingham … Avery followed with 49 yards on five catches, a quiet day after his previous game, but he had 11, 10 & 9-yard catches to set up Blake Joseph's 19-yard touch-down toss to Jeron Harvey that ended a 10-play, 73-yard series with one second left in the first half … Head to Head Competition-CB#31-Zach Britten (5:10-180)-Four tackles (3 solos).

Texas-El Paso … Avery had five receptions for 58 yards, converting two third-down throws among his four first-down grabs … He also had a 22-yard kickoff return … Head to Head Competition-CB#47-Cornelius Brown (5:11-196)-Seven tackles (6 solos).

Southern Methodist … The Houston receiver caught ten passes for 116 yards and a score, as seven of his receptions resulted in first downs, including converting three third-down throws … He added 43 yards on two kickoff returns … On third-and-6, Blake Joseph hit Avery with a 10-yard toss that set up a 2-yard touchdown run by Anthony Alridge to cap a 77-yard, 9-play drive early in the first quarter … In the fourth quarter, Case Keenum found Avery with a third-and-goal 7-yard scoring lob to end a 12-play, 80-yard series … Head to Head Competition-CB#21-Jonathan Lindley (6:00-190)-Eight tackles (4 solos), one forced fumble.

Tulsa … After going five games without turning over the ball, Avery was stripped of the pigskin after a 14-yard catch and Tulsa recovered, as QB Paul Smith then fired a 51-yard touchdown to Charles Clay on the next play at the end of the first half … Avery would go on to catch four passes for 50 yards … Head to Head Competition-CB#10-Roy Roberts (5:11-205)-One assisted tackle.

Marshall … The flanker collected three first downs among his five catches for 46 yards … Early in the fourth quarter, he snared 18 & 11-yard passes to set up a 1-yard scoring run by QB Case Keenum … Head to Head Competition-CB#15-D.J. Wingate (6:02-180)-Ten tackles (4 solos).

Texas Southern … Avery came off the bench to haul in six passes for 143 yards and a touchdown, as four of his grabs produced first downs … He also had a 33-yard kickoff return … The flanker concluded an 80-yard, 7-play late first quarter drive with a 24-yard scoring grab, setting up his touchdown with a 19-yard reception earlier in the series …

He also caught a fourth-and-3 deep pass from Blake Joseph for a 55-yard gain, followed by a 32-yard catch that set up Blake Joseph's 4-yard touchdown run at the start of the second quarter … Head to Head Competition-CB#25-Lonnie Carr (6:01-190)-Two tackles (one solo).

Texas Christian (Texas Bowl) … Avery closed out his career with ten receptions for 120 yards, as eight of his grabs resulted in first downs … In the second quarter, he converted a third-and-6 throw into a 6-yard gain and added 14 & 6-yard snatches to set up a 39-yard field goal … With the team putting together a last ditch scoring drive, Avery came up with 14, 13, 18 & 15-yard grabs on a 10-play, 79-yard drive, but time expired before Houston could score again in a 20-13 loss … Head to Head Competition-CB#20-Nick Sanders (5:10-174)-Seven tackles (5 solos).

2006 Season

Started 12 of 14 games, seeing action at flanker, split end and in the slot … Finished second on the team and tenth in the conference with 57 receptions, good for 852 yards (sixth in the league) and five touchdowns (14.9-yard average) … Twelve of his catches were good for 20 yards or longer … Returned six kickoffs for 113 yards (18.8 avg) and gained 965 all-purpose yards.

2006 Game Analysis

Led all Cougar wide receivers with six catches for 66 yards during the season opener vs. Rice … Led UH for the second straight game with seven catches vs. Tulane during the home opener, as he recorded 96 yards and added an 11-yard touchdown reception late in the first half … Tied for the team lead with five catches for 60 yards and had a 25-yard kickoff return vs. Grambling State … Hauled in a 42-yard touchdown and finished with two catches for 50 yards vs. Oklahoma State … Recorded four catches for 64 yards at Miami (Fla.) … Posted five catches for 99 yards and added a 56-yard touchdown catch vs. Louisiana-Lafayette … Led all UH wide receivers with 70 receiving yards and added a 37-yard touchdown catch vs. Texas-El Paso, finishing with four receptions … Topped all receivers with 113 yards on three catches, including a 53-yard reception vs. Tulsa … Snared a 13-yard touchdown pass and finished with two catches for 34 yards at Memphis during the regular-season finale … Had seven catches for 72 yards vs. South Carolina in the Liberty Bowl.

2005 Season

Played in 12 games, starting 10 contests, including the final nine … Ranked third on the team with 44 receptions for 688 yards (15.6-yard average) and five touchdowns, as eight of his grabs were good for at least 20 yards … Also recorded five solo tackles and returned a kickoff 16 yards … Collected 704 all-purpose yards.

2005 Game Analysis

Finished with four catches for 100 yards in the season opener vs. Oregon, as he hauled in a 70-yard touchdown catch late in the first quarter vs. the Ducks for the first 100-yard receiving game of his career … Led all Cougar receivers with 99 receiving yards on five catches vs. Texas-El Paso, coming up with 16- and 62-yard touchdowns … Recorded eight catches for 112 yards and hauled in a 63-yard touchdown strike vs. Memphis … Led all players with six catches for 61 yards at Mississippi State … Posted three catches for 111 yards, including a season-long 76-yard touchdown vs. Central Florida … Was the Cougars' top receiver vs. Kansas in the Fort Worth Bowl, as he had five catches for 71 yards.

2004 Season

Named to the Conference USA All-Freshman team … Started all 11 games as a redshirt freshman, finishing fourth on the team with 18 catches for 293 yards (16.3-yard average) and a pair of touchdowns … Four of his grabs were for 20 yards or longer … Returned 18 kickoffs for 343 yards (19.1-yard average) and three punts for 28 yards (9.3 avg) … Also recorded seven tackles (four solo) with a stop for a two-yard loss.

2004 Game Analysis

Made his first career start vs. Rice in the season opener, as he caught three passes for 42 yards and also returned two punts for 10 yards vs. the Owls … Returned a kickoff for 18 yards, two punts for a total of 23 yards and added a 2-yard tackle for a loss on a punt return vs. Oklahoma … Returned a kickoff 49 yards and added a 10-yard receptions vs. Miami … Returned two kickoffs for 58 yards, including a game-high 39-yarder vs. Memphis … Caught a 6-yard touchdown pass midway through the third quarter to give the Cougars their first lead at Southern Mississippi … Caught a 12-yard touchdown pass and returned three kickoffs for 59 yards vs. Texas Christian … Hauled in two passes for 80 yards, including a 60-yard reception vs. Tulane … Made two catches for 58 yards, including a 48-yard reception vs. East Carolina … Recorded a 17-yard reception in the season finale vs. nationally-ranked Louisviille.

2003 Season

Redshirted as a true freshman.

Injury Report

2007: Suffered a hyperextended left knee and a medial collateral ligament sprain in a late August scrimmage, but did not miss any playing time.

Agility Tests

Campus: 4.29 in the 40-yard dash … 300-pound bench press … 475-pound squat … 9'10" broad jump … 30 1/4-inch arm length … 9 3/4-inch hands … Right-handed … 14/33 Wonderlic score.

High School

Attended Hastings (Alief, Tex.) High School, playing football for head coach Bobby Stuart … Unanimous first-team All-District selection as both a wide receiver and return specialist during his final season … Helped lead the team to the district championship and an 11-3 record that year … Hauled in 36 passes for 502 yards and two touchdowns to lead the District 19-5A receivers in 2002 … Also returned 13 punts for 399 yards and three scores, as well as seven kickoffs for 345 yards and one touchdown, in addition to rushing 16 times for 175 yards and two scores.


Sports Administration major … Son of Melonie and Dennis Robertson … Born Donnie D. Avery on 6/12/84 in Houston, Texas.


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