While Tee Higgins was surprised to hear NFL scouts and general managers were impressed with his 40-time, his former college coach was not surprised.
Higgins ran a 4.54 and 4.56 on his two 40-yard dash attempts this past Thursday at Clemson’s Pro Day. The Tigers’ former wide receiver was not particular happy with his 40 times inside the Poe Indoor Practice Facility in Clemson.
However, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney did not feel the same way.
“I think he is really, really fast with his straight-line speed. He ran in the 4.5s,” Swinney said. “The difference in 4.54 and 4.44, it is almost impossible to (get it with a hand-held stopwatch).”
There were some that expected Higgins to run below a 4.5. All 32 teams from the NFL journeyed to Clemson to watch the 6-foot-4, 216-pound receiver work out, something he could not do at the NFL Combine last month in Indianapolis due to a tweaked hamstring.
“I wasn’t really too big on my 40, shuttle, vertical, broad. I wasn’t really big on that,” Higgins said. “You know me, I’m going to run routes when I am on the team, I’m not going to run the 40. To me I’m really focused on my route-running and catching the ball.”
Swinney agrees with Higgins and feels he should be judged more on what he has shown on tape and focus more on his football skills than what he did on some 40-time.
“That gets the technicality of a star. He is not a track guy. He has never run track,” the Clemson coach said. “But put him in at receiver and line him up against everybody else and see how it ends. He can run with anybody.
“He is elite in every way. He has excellent top end speed. Freaky ball skills and unbelievable size. Collision balance, radius, high football IQ, great character, high coach ability. He is the complete package.”
Following a highly productive three-year career at Clemson during which he amassed 135 receptions for 2,448 yards and 27 receiving touchdowns, Higgins is expected to be taken in the late first or early second round.
—Gavin Oliver contributed to this story
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