On May 10, 2014 guest selector Melanie Salata stepped up to the microphone at Radio City Music Hall. It was the seventh round of the NFL draft, and Salata, daughter of Mr. Irrelevant founder Paul Salata, held in her hand the last pick of the 2014 NFL draft, often known as Mr. Irrelevant.
"With the 256th pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Houston Texans select Lonnie Ballentine, defensive back, Memphis."
The crowd cheered and the festivities had now come to a close. Seven rounds had passed and throughout the weekend over 250 players had been selected to play in the NFL. Over 30 wide receivers were selected during the three day event; but despite the overwhelming number, one prominent receiver was left out of the the equation. Although he broke the all-time single season receiving record at the University of Miami during his senior season, Allen Hurns remained undrafted.
"It hurt. I can’t lie," Hurns said in an interview with jacksonville.com. "To this day, I’m always going to remember that day. It’s just one of those things, growing up as a child, you always want to hear your name called on draft day."
But despite the fact that Hurns didn't hear his name called, the 6'3" 205 lb wideout has performed better than most receivers drafted that weekend. Allen Hurns had the second most receiving touchdowns out of everyone in his 2014 class last season, and ranked 24th overall in the league in receiving yards.
Now finally, after two stellar seasons, Hurns' day of recognition had arrived. The Jacksonville Jaguars knew it was time to lock up Hurns for the long term. Yesterday, it was released to the public that the AFC franchise officially signed Hurns to a 4 year, $40 million extension. With this contract, Hurns not only cements his place in Jacksonville, but also becomes the highest paid receiver in franchise history.
"He continues to impress our coaching staff on a daily basis and has certainly earned the respect of his teammates," Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell said in a statement of Hurns. "Our organizational philosophy is to reward our homegrown players when the opportunity presents itself."
Hurns has become a star in the NFL and, as Caldwell eluded to, he is homegrown from South Florida. Out of Miami Carol City high school, Hurns defied his three star recruiting ranking and signed with the University of Miami after graduating in 2010.
Hurns struggled to produce throughout his first couple of seasons, but once his Senior year arrived, Hurns stepped up as a leader. After becoming Quarterback Stephen Morris' number one target, Hurns stepped into the national spotlight by earning All-ACC second team honors.
Hurns has shocked many naysayers throughout his first two seasons in the NFL, but many 'Canes fans who witnessed his collegiate career aren't surprised. Hurns has come full circle since his days as a Carol City Chief, and has now become the next great receiver to enter the NFL out of the University of Miami. If there is one thing that his new extension proves, it is that no matter what he faces, Hurns will continue to defy the odds.