He sat there quietly in the back row of the Utah State wide receiver meeting
room. Along with twelve to fifteen of his fellow pass-catchers, he was
waiting for his daily meeting and film evaluation with his position coach to
begin, and for the NFL scout from the St. Louis Rams -- who had just concluded
six hours of viewing offensive and special teams game tape -- to pack up his
media guide, stat sheets, his observation notes and exit the facility.
I can remember glancing around the room while packing up my belongings and
wondering which one of these rather non-descript young student athletes was in
fact my principle reason for being in Logan, Utah on this day in late-October. I
must admit that even after eliminating some obvious players, I still could not
for the life of me pick out Kevin Curtis.
Before exiting the room, I asked, "Which one of you guys is Kevin
Curtis?" And I was more than just a little surprised when this
average-looking individual briefly stood up and extended his hand in friendship.
At 23 years of age, he was slightly older than most of his college
teammates. But even with his random facial hair, he looked more like the
proverbial high school sophomore.
Curtis grew up in South Jordan, Utah along with six siblings in a supportive
family situation. After attending Bingham High School, he enrolled at Snow
Junior College in tiny Ephraim, Utah after not receiving a single college
During his two-year career, K.C. caught 85 balls for over 1,700 yards and 24
touchdowns. As a sophomore, he was named a second-team JUCO All-American, but as
was the case in high school, those impressive numbers attracted little interest
from state or regional institutions. It was then that K.C. decided to postpone
his athletic career and journey to London, England as part of an LDS mission.
After serving for two years, he returned to the United States with a new-found
spirit and with hope of returning to the sport he so dearly missed.
Realizing that any type of scholarship offer was out of the question, K.C.
first visited BYU in Provo and later the University of Utah in Salt Lake City to
offer his services as a walk-on. Surprisingly, he was unceremoniously rejected
by both universities. Not giving up on his dream, he journeyed to Utah State
University.in Logan and -- after accepting an opportunity to walk on to the
squad -- he not only quickly established himself as a starter for the Aggies,
but by season's end had developed into one of the top pass receivers in the
All this walk-on player did -- in his initial foray into Division I football
-- was lead the entire country in receiving. Hauling in an amazing 100 balls for
1,531 yards and 10 touchdowns, he followed that with 74 catches for 1,258 yards
and 9 touchdowns as a senior. I'd say that K.C. was a pretty good return on Utah
State's meager investment.
After viewing KC at the team's afternoon practice, I stopped off at a
favorite spots, the "Bluebird Restaurant," to sample their fare and
think about what I had just seen out on the practice field.
While reviewing my early-morning notes from my visit with the staff's
professional liaison, I thought that this rather ordinary looking individual was
in fact even better than advertised. He was not your typical, college football
Aside from his great speed, exceptional hands, and route-running ability, I
took special note of a comment the liaison had made to me over his first cup of
coffee and a donut. The previous spring, the Aggies' offensive staff had visited
Rams Park and upon returning to Logan had installed the Rams' offensive passing
Wow, a player with outstanding playing skills and he already knew the team's
Kevin Curtis during his rookie year
But two major trials were still necessary before I could stand up for K.C. at
our spring draft meetings. The first was the Senior Bowl, where he would be
matched-up daily against the top defensive corners in the country. The final
test would take place at the national NFL Scouting Combine. To say the least,
Curtis passed both tests with flying colors.
Throughout the practice week leading up to the Senior Bowl game, K.C.
impressed coaches, GMs and scouts alike, easily setting up and running past the
top corners in the country.
A month later in Indianapolis, he solidified his standing among the top
receivers in the country by running an unbelievable 4.32 hand-held time in the
40. Another little known fact from that Combine was that he compiled one of the
highest Wonderlic Personnel Test scores in NFL football history when he
correctly answered 49 out of 50 questions in the allotted 12 minutes according
to our records. Equally
impressive was his personal school workout, which led the Rams to select K.C.
with our third-round selection in the 2003 draft.
After breaking his leg as a rookie, he quickly assimilated himself into Rams'
offensive system of play and became a very productive third receiver in the Rams
offensive system throughout his career in St. Louis. KC was without question the
Rams' fastest receiver and a personal favorite of Rams QB Marc Bulger,
particularly down in the red zone. Although not considered an elusive runner
after the catch, his speed and physical toughness make him a threat when the
ball is in his hands.
I believe the Rams made a great mistake by not renegotiating his contract
prior to the 2006 season. As expected at the conclusion of the season, K.C.
became a very popular figure on the free agent circuit before signing a $32
million deal with the Philadelphia Eagles. An ideal number two receiver, I truly
expect him to flourish in the City of Brotherly Love.
On September 23rd, the Eagles received a major return on their investment
when Curtis needed just one quarter to establish an NFL record with six catches
for 132 yards. And he tied another league record with 205 receiving yards and
three touchdowns in just one half.
I haven't seen nor spoken to Kevin Curtis since leaving the Rams in May of
2006, but wish this classy young man the very best for the remainder of his
professional football career and beyond.
Tom Marino has over 35 years of experience as a professional scout working for the NFL's Bears, Saints, Rams, Giants and Cowboys along with both the WFL and USFL. As Scout.com's Lead NFL Analyst, he has primary responsibility for network reporting, the NFL Draft, Free Agency databases and rankings.