Deontay Burnett, WR, USC
Draft Prospect Outlook:
Space wideout who reads coverage extremely well. Ultra-quick movement skills. Plays bigger than his size due to impeccable ball skills. Capable of the making highlight-reel diving catches. Small stature main flaw with him as a prospect
Deontay Burnett, a three-star recruit out of Serra High, will go down as one the USC’s best last-second Signing Day pickups. Burnett was dropped by Michigan late and was set to sign with Washington State before USC stepped in at the last second with a blueshirt offer. Burnett jumped on the radar as a true freshman, playing in 12 games with 10 catches for 161 yards. But no one expected a year like his sophomore campaign. He became one of Sam Darnold’s most trusted weapons with 56 catches, 662 yards and seven scores. Despite being just 6-feet and 170 pounds, Burnett excelled thanks to his knack for getting open and making tough catches. He capped off the season with his historic Rose Bowl performance: 13 catches, 164 yards and three TDs -- including the game-tying score.
Burnett entered 2017 as USC’s top receiver with Juju Smith-Schuster gone and plenty of youth/inexperience at the position. Burnett carried the load from the slot early with three-consecutive 100-yard games to open the season. In the end he set new career-highs with 86 catches, 1,114 yards and nine TDs despite defenses setting out to stop him. He only caught one pass for nine yards in USC’s Pac-12 title game win, but capped his career with 12 catches for 139 yards against Ohio State in the Cotton Bowl loss. He declared for the NFL Draft 10 days later. -- Chris Trevino