Georgia Tech's Jalen Camp gives the Jaguars a speedy wide receiver and special-teams player

Garry Smits
Florida Times-Union
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Georgia Tech wide receiver Jalen Camp (80) was selected in the sixth round of the NFL draft by the Jaguars on Saturday.

The Jaguars began the 2021 draft with two offensive players from the ACC in quarterback Trevor Lawrence and running back Travis Etienne of Clemson in the first round on Thursday. 

The ended it in the sixth round on Saturday by taking another ACC skill-position player, Georgia Tech wide receiver Jalen Camp, a fast, strong athlete who made Bruce Feldman’s College Football “Freaks List,” athletes who combine rare attributes of strength, size and speed. 

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Camp said he is eager to be on the receiving end of Lawrence’s passes. 

“That will be awesome,” he said. “I watched and played against Trevor the last [three] years and I know the type of quarterback he is, the arm strength and accuracy. We all watched day one [of the draft and knew the type of guy Jacksonville is getting.” 

Camp, who didn’t begin playing football until his sophomore season  at South Forsyth High in Georgia, led the Yellow Jackets with 29 receptions for 439 yards and four touchdowns last season as the program continued to transition from the option offense favored by former coach Paul Johnson to a more modern attack under current coach Geoff Collins. 

Camp caught 47 passes for 819 yards and 15 scores as a high school senior. He came to football late because of his shared love of basketball with his father but when some friends urged him to try out for the football team, Camp found a new passion. 

“I loved it from the moment I stepped out on the field,” he said. “Then I had a decision to make because Dad said whatever I decide, it had to be 110 percent.” 

Camp is 6 feet 2 and 226 pounds but ran a 4.45 40-yard dash and also bench-pressed 225 pounds 30 times – which would have broken the NFL combine record at his position group. 

“[Camp] is a great coaching fit, great work ethic, has an excellent mindset,” Jags general manager Trent Baalke said. “Across the board, his numbers stood out.” 

Camp played 49 college games in parts of five seasons. He finished with career numbers of 48 catches for 808 yards, five scores and 16.8 touchdowns. 

He saved two of his best games for two of the College Football Playoff participants. Camp caught a 59-yard touchdown pass against Clemson, and had three catches for 64 yards against Notre Dame. 

Because of his late start to high school football and Georgia Tech’s transition in offenses, combined with Camp’s measurables, he may just be scratching the surface of his potential. 

“I asked the same question,” Jags coach Urban Meyer said. “You look at the measurables, the system he was in, going from the option to a spread, the size of the guy, I asked the same question.” 

Camp said he will have an answer. 

“I think I have a very high ceiling, which is something I tressed to a lot of coaches during this entire process,” he said. “Whoever reaches out and takes a chance on me will get a diamond in this draft. I’m eager to learn.” 

Camp got his degree in history, technology and society at Georgia Tech and was a member of the ACC’s Academic Honor Roll. 

The Jags didn’t have a sixth-round pick when the draft began but worked a trade on Saturday where they swapped their second choice in the fourth round (No. 130), their second in the fifth round (No. 170) and their seventh-round pick (No. 249) to the Los Angeles Rams for the Rams fourth-round pick (No. 121) and their sixth-round pick. 

The Jags used the fourth-round pick to take defensive end Jordan Smith of UAB and the final pick for Camp. 

Camp was the fourth ACC player the Jags drafted, after Lawrence, Etienne and safety Andre Cisco of Syracuse. The franchise drafted only two Georgia Tech players in their first 25 years, but have doubled that in the last two seasons with tight end Tyler Davis last year and Camp – both taken in the sixth round. 

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