While the Duke Blue Devils aren't known as a football school, Conner Vernon is trying to change that perception by making an impact in the NFL.
He's one of the greatest players in Duke football history, setting a number of receiving records during his four years at the school. Vernon has great hands and an understanding of what it takes to get open.
Here are five things you need to know about the former Duke wide receiver.
Full Name: Conner Vernon
Birthday: August 18, 1990
Hometown: Miami, Florida
High School: Gulliver Prep
Vernon managed 131 receptions, 2,668 yards and 22 touchdowns during his high school career. He also participated in track and field during high school.
Conner Vernon was one of the most prolific wide receivers in Duke history. He was also one of the most prolific receivers in ACC history, setting conference records for most receptions and receiving yards.
Vernon put up big numbers in all four of his seasons, and improved in each season. He was basically the model for consistency during his time in college.
All statistics courtesy of sports-reference.com.
Weight: 196 lbs
Arm Length: 30-1/2"
Hand Size: 9-1/4"
40-yard dash: 4.68 seconds
Vertical jump: 32.5"
Broad jump: 125"
3 cone drill: 6.93 seconds
20-yard shuttle: 4.22 seconds
60-yard shuttle: 11.34 seconds
Conner Vernon had a solid showing at the NFL Combine, especially in positional drills. Vernon's athleticism has never been his strongest point, but he had good overall numbers.
While he didn't do any "timed" drills at his pro day, he once again excelled in positional drills.
All Combine results courtesy of NFL.com.
Conner Vernon went to high school at Gulliver Prep in Miami, Florida. The head coach at Gulliver is Earl Sims.
Coach Sims does something rather interesting before practice, in which Vernon participated during his time in high school. According to a report from David Furones at The Miami Herald, Sims honors the late Sean Taylor before each and every practice.
Furones says that Sims:
...has his players come together in a moment of silence while facing the scoreboard that bears Taylor’s name. The players then put a lone index finger in the air to honor Taylor as their No. 1 and begin a thunderous rally of claps before practice begins.
That's quite the emotional ritual in which Vernon took part during his high school career.
Conner Vernon got to work out with both Peyton and Eli Manning this offseason at Duke. As incredible as I'm sure that was, Eli's comments about Vernon gave him quite high praise.
According to Daniel Carp of The Duke Chronicle, Eli had this to say about Vernon:
"Over the years I’ve worked out with Conner a little bit and run routes with him,” he said. “I was throwing with him in 7-on-7 a few years ago, and he just kept getting open. I kept noticing that I kept going his way.”
In that same article, Peyton felt like there was really nothing else that Vernon could do:
But the hay is kind of in the barn for him—he has done everything that he can do.