Draft Profile – WR T.J. Graham

T.J. GRAHAM/WIDE RECEIVER

Personal

Name – Trevor Graham.

Born – July 27, 1989.

Personal – son of Ann R. and Trevor G. Graham, with sisters Lucy and Ariah. Parents met at St. Augustine College in Raleigh, N.C., where both ran track. A native of Jamaica who grew up in New Jersey, Trevor earned a silver medal as part of the 4×400 relay team for Jamaica at the 1988 Summer Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea. He became a noted track coach and mentored sprinters like Tim Montgomery, Marion Jones and Justin Gatlin. But in the early 2000s, Graham got caught up in the performance enhancing drug controversy involving Balco. Before it was done, there were 11 athletes associated with Graham that were suspended by the U.S. Olympic Committee and Graham was banned from USOC training sites. On May 29, 2008, Graham was convicted on one count of making false statements to investigators involving his knowledge of a confessed steroids dealer. On October 21, 2008, Graham was sentenced to one-year home confinement and five years on probation for making false statements to a federal agent in connection with the Balco investigation. Graham to this day says he did not knowingly give any of his athletes steroidal drugs or performance enhancing drugs. Ann Graham is a member of the Wake County Sheriff’s Department, plus she serves as track coach for boys and girls track teams at Wakefield High School, winning back-to-back indoor titles for the women, a 2011 outdoor title for the women and a second place finish for the men last year.

Physical

  • Height – 5-feet, 11¼ inches.
  • Weight – 188 pounds.
  • Arm – 32¾ inches.
  • Hand – 9 inches.

NFL Combine

  • 40-yard dash – 4.41 seconds.
  • Bench press – 8 reps at 225 pounds.
  • Vertical jump – 33.5 inches.
  • Broad jump – 120 inches.
  • 3-cone drill – 6.77 seconds.
  • 20-yard shuttle – 4.18 seconds.

Hometown

Graham grew up in the northern suburbs of Raleigh, North Carolina. Raleigh is the capital city of the state and is the 43rd largest city in the country with 403,892 residents in the 2010 Census. The metropolitan area, including Durham and Chapel Hill, has more than 1.2 million residents.

High School

Graham was part of the Class of 2008 at Wakefield High School, part of the Wake County Public School System.

He played three seasons for the Wolverines and head coaches Steve Rivers, Lee Atkins and Chip Williams.

2007 – Played in seven games as the Wolverines went 6-6 on the season. Graham had just 126 yards in total offense with 2 TD catches.

2006 – Wakefield went 7-5 and in 9 games Graham had 80 rushing yards on 25 carries, 259 receiving yards on 16 catches with 3 scores

2005 – In Graham’s sophomore season, the Wolverines reached the state AAAA semi-final round before dropping their first game of the season. That 14-1 record included contributions from Graham of 242 receiving yards and 2 TDs, ran for 118 yards and passed for 128 yards.

Track

2008 – He was the 4A state champion in the 100 and 200 meters. He set a new state record with a 10.44 time in the 100. His 20.82 time in the 200 tied for the best time in the nation that year.

2007 – Graham was third in the national 100 meter race at the Nike Nationals, running the distance in 10.53 seconds into a head wind. At the state meet, he won the 100 meters and finished third in the 200 meters.

Recruiting

Coming out of Wakefield High, the Rivals scouting service ranked him as a two-star prospect at wide receiver. Graham was listed at 6-1, 167 pounds and the 30th ranked player in the state. The Scout recruiting service listed him at 6-0, 180 pounds and rated Graham a three-star wide receiver.

Graham drew a lot of interest from ACC and SEC schools, and he made visits to Wake Forest, Virginia, Duke, Colorado, South Carolina and North Carolina State. He committed to his hometown school on June 26, 2007.

College

Enrolled for a bachelor’s degree and majored in parks, recreation and tourism management.

Graham appeared in both football and track for the Wolfpack.

Track

Coming out of high school to North Carolina State on a football scholarship, Graham put aside his track career for three years. He did not run for the Wolfpack until 2011, but he made an immediate impact.

It started when he finished second in the ACC Indoor Championships in both the 60 meters at 6.62 seconds and 200-meter dash at 20.79 seconds. Those performances qualified him for the NCAA Indoor Championships. He ran 6.67 seconds in the NCAA meet.

Outdoors in the spring of 2011, he ran 10.37 in the 100 meters, finishing fifth at the ACC Outdoor Track Championship. That qualified him for the NCAA championships and earned him All-America designation. At the NCAA meet he ran 10.49 in his preliminary heat and did not advance.

Football

Graham played in 46 games with 22 starts for N.C. State head coach Tom O’Brien. He wrapped up his career with 99 career catches for 1,453 yards and 12 touchdowns, with two more TDs as a punt returner and 2 more as a kick returner. He finished with 3,153 yards in career kickoff returns and 5,225 yards in all-purpose yardage.

2011 – Led the offense in receiving with 46 catches, Graham was named first-team All-ACC as a specialist. Established ACC record for career kickoff return yardage during the season and had 1,943 all-purpose yards, the second best season in school history. He set a school record for all-purpose yards in a game with 336 against Cincinnati.

2010 – Returned a kickoff 87 yards for a TD against North Carolina that turned around the game’s momentum. Graham had six receptions for 20 plus yards over the season, and his best game was six catches for 96 yards and two TDs (25, 26 yards) vs. Western Carolina. In that game, he had 146 all-purpose yards.

2009 – Graham played in only seven games, after suffering a stress fracture in his leg against Boston College. He ended up missing five games. He had 628 yards in receiving over the first six games. Started 3 of 7 he played. He had a 93-yard TD return on kickoff return.

2008 – As a true freshman, he earned all-ACC stature as a kick returner. Graham averaged 25.1 yards per return, fifth in ACC and sixth in ACC for all purpose yards. He had a 100-yard kickoff return for TD vs. Boston College.

(Statistics are from N.C. State and in some cases differ from NCAA final stats.)

Year

G/S 

Pl 

Rec 

Yds 

Avg.

TD 

PR 

Yds 

Avg 

TD 

KR 

Yds 

Avg 

TD 

Rec 

2011

13/12 

555 

46 

757 

16.5 

7 

17 

195 

11.5 

1 

44 

986 

22.4 

0 

8-5* 

2010

13/1 

391 

25 

316 

12.6 

4 

19 

154 

8.1 

1 

29 

565 

19.5 

0 

9-4* 

2009

7/3 

225 

12 

129 

10.8 

1 

15 

156 

10.4 

0 

23 

574 

24.9 

1 

5-7 

2008

13/6 

435 

16 

251 

15.7 

0 

15 

123

8.2 

0 

42 

978 

23.3 

1 

6-7* 

 

46/22 

1,606 

99 

1,453 

14.7 

12 

66 

628 

9.5 

2 

137 

3,153 

23.0 

2 

28-23 

4 runs for minus-9 yards; PR=Punt Returns; KR=Kick Returns; Played in Belk Bowl (2011), Champs Sports Bowl (2010) and Papa John’s Bowl (2008).

Video

Action – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3nC4yMyC3Xw

This tape features Graham in his game against Louisville in the Belk Bowl. He’s wearing No. 6 in red.

Personal – http://www.wralsportsfan.com/ncsu/video/9982135/#/vid9982135

This is an extended pre-season interview session with Graham before the 2011 schedule began.

What T.J. Graham said

“When I step out there (to return a punt or kick) the first thing I do is calm myself down. I analyze the opponent. We do our scouting report throughout the course of the week so I pick out the key weaknesses on the line… the people coming down. I envision it all happening first, and then at that time the ball is in the air, and it’s time to go.”

“I’ve put a lot of hard work into my career, and returning kicks was the way I got onto the field my freshman year. That was the way I contributed to the team that year, and just over the years, I’ve always taken pride in being a top returner to help out this team.”

“Over the years, I have always just been learning from the guys around me. This year, it was my turn and my chance to step up to be a go-to guy in this offense. I have worked on everything since I was a freshman, to become a better player on the field. I always stay and work on running routes and focus on catching the ball.”

What others said about T.J. Graham

“I think what is note worthy is that he is comfortable in being a first-class wide receiver. He has always felt confident in his abilities as being a special teams performer for us, but I think particularly he feels good about himself in his wide receiver role. I think that has definitely expressed itself in this, his senior season. This season he has been such an important key to us stretching the field and just our passing game overall. He has taken on that role of being a leader for us.” N.C. State offensive coordinator Dana Bible.

Evaluation

Strengths – Graham is a burner and will immediately become one of the fastest players in the NFL if he can make somebody’s opening day roster. But he has more to offer than just being a track guy playing football. He’s quick off the line of scrimmage, a solid route runner who does a tremendous job looking throws right into his hands while continuing to run at full speed. Coming out of the slot and racing down the hash marks, he’s tough to cover. He’s a willing blocker who doesn’t provide much in that area. Top shelf returner, with good instincts and he returns with the idea of going north and south.

Deficient – Under-sized, he’s not very strong and sometimes loses the one-on-one physical battles with a defensive back. Still developing as a receiver, and sometimes allows the ball to get into his body, rather than catching the pass with his hands.

Analysis – Because of his size, Graham will never be a full-time player. But he can make numerous contributions on offense and special teams. He’s got one thing that NFL coaches cannot teach and that’s speed. He doesn’t have just speed, but he plays fast as well.

What the scouts said about Graham

NFC scout: “With the right team he’ll become a solid starter because he’ll be used sparingly and in a manner where his speed and quickness will be taken advantage of in game planning. He’s never going to be an every down player.”

NFC scout: “He’s a punt returner and that’s it. But he could be a pretty good returner. His college average wasn’t very good, but you could see in the last two years there he was close to breaking a bunch of punt returns.

Does he fit with the Chiefs?

This is a player with no character concerns. He’s intelligent, has a very good work ethic, a team first-type of player, that’s committed to the job and the team. What team couldn’t use a bunch of players of that nature? But it’s hard to see where T.J. Graham fits with the Chiefs picture. If they decide to put a bit of oomph in their punt return game, then Graham’s a possible, but unlikely draft choice.

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