2017 NFL Draft: Who is Jeremy Sprinkle? 5 things to know about the Arkansas tight end

Jeremy Sprinkle is among the Arkansas Razorbacks’ best prospects for the 2017 NFL Draft.

A tight end, Sprinkle played four seasons at Arkansas, catching 71 career passes for 921 yards and 11 touchdowns.

The 2017 NFL Draft begins Thursday with the first round in Philadelphia. The second and third rounds are Friday, with the remaining four rounds taking place on Saturday.

Here are five quick things to know about Sprinkle.

1. Jeremy Sprinkle’s college career ended as badly as it could have

First things first, the elephant in the room. Sprinkle was suspended for the Belk Bowl — what would have been the final game of his college football career — because he shoplifted from, you guessed it, a Belk store.

Sprinkle has since apologized for the incident and seems sufficiently embarrassed by it. He’s also spent the past four months explaining himself to potential employers. He did it at the Senior Bowl, the NFL Scouting Combine and probably several other times, too.

It’s important to note that part of the reason this incident was so shocking was because it seemed so out of character. Sprinkle stayed out of trouble throughout his Arkansas career until then.

Still, it was a stunning — and absolutely absurd — lapse in judgment.

“Everywhere he goes, he has to answer the question,” said Arkansas tight ends coach Barry Lunney Jr. “Unfortunately, with the timing of it and the media exposure, everybody in the country knew about it.

“It’s going to take some time for him to really, truly move beyond that, but I think he’s very capable of it. I think he’s doing all the right things.

“The best thing for him is to get drafted, get settled into a team, get on the field, start playing football and that’ll move behind him.”

2. Jeremy Sprinkle is very talented

Sprinkle is an extremely talented tight end with a tremendous skill set. He was a reliable receiver the past two seasons for the Razorbacks, with 10 touchdowns catches during his junior and senior seasons combined. His senior year was his first as the team’s No. 1 tight end; he played a secondary role behind Hunter Henry in 2015.

Henry won the John Mackey Award, became a second-round pick in the 2016 draft and caught eight touchdown passes as a rookie with the Chargers.

“When he goes, they’re going to like him,” Lunney said of Sprinkle. “He’s smart. He’s tough. He can run. He can block. He’ll learn the offense and if he’ll stay healthy, he’ll have a long career in the NFL.”

3. Jeremy Sprinkle impressed scouts throughout last season

In the middle of October, Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said on his radio show that NFL scouts were drooling over Sprinkle.

Sprinkle made substantial improvement as a run blocker during his senior season.

“I was sitting there today with several NFL scouts and they’re just champing at the bit to get a chance to be around him,” Bielema said on Oct. 13. “We’ve actually had a lot of success at that position and I think he’ll turn out to be one of the best.”

4. Jeremy Sprinkle is the latest great Arkansas tight end

Arkansas is the only college football program that can boast two winners of the John Mackey Award, a fact that highlights the Razorbacks’ success in developing tight ends. The position is one Bielema values highly in his offenses and it shows.

Before Henry in 2015, D.J. Williams won the Mackey Award in 2010.

5. Jeremy Sprinkle was an Arkansas high school star

Sprinkle starred at White Hall High School, located in south central Arkansas. He caught 45 passes for 841 yards and six touchdowns, and on defense had 92 tackles and 14 sacks during his senior season at White Hall. He was the No. 15 tight end in the country in 247Sports’ composite rankings.


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