(Photo of Dez Fitzpatrick: Vasha Hunt/USA TODAY Sports)
MOBILE, Ala. - If NFL scouts down in Mobile, Ala. for the 2021 Reese's Senior Bowl didn't already have Louisville wide receiver Dez Fitzpatrick on their radar, they certainly do now.
The redshirt senior, who opted to declare for the 2021 NFL Draft instead of returning to Louisville for the extra year provided by the NCAA because of COVID-19, had already had himself an impressive week leading up to the game. Not only did he have an impressive set of measurables that stood out among the wide receivers group taking part, but he turned heads in practice all week long.
Once it was time to actually take to the gridiron for the annual upperclassman all-star game, the Farmington Hills, Mich. native capped his week with a standout performance that's certain to improve his draft stock and earn him some additional money when the draft rolls around.
He finished the Senior Bowl with six receptions on 11 targets for 90 yards, all of which were game-highs. National, the team in which Fitzpatrick was on, won the game 27-24. He won Offensive Player of the Game, but lost Game MVP to Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond.
Fitzpatrick put all his intangibles on display: his release, route running, separation, strong hands, and above all else, consistency. Out of his six catches, five of them were for first downs, and while he did have a pair of drops, he more than made up for them.
Two of his best plays of the game came in the first and fourth quarters. His first reception of the game was a 12-yard out route from Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger, in which he had to drag his left foot to make the play.
Facing 3rd & 3 on the National's first drive of the fourth quarter, Arkansas quarterback Felipe Franks found Fitzpatrick running down the right sideline, and made an impressive snag over the head of North Carolina Central cornerback Bryan Mills. Franks found Ole Miss tight end Kenny Yeboah for a 21-yard touchdown one play later.
Fitzpatrick leaves the Cardinals as one of the top receivers in program history, and perhaps even one of the most underrated. His 21 career touchdown receptions is fifth in school history, and his 2,512 career receiving yards are sixth.
This past season, Fitzpatrick led the team in receiving yards (833) and yards per catch (19.37), was second in receptions with 43, trailing only Tutu Atwell's 46. He also finished with three receiving touchdowns. Louisville ended the 2020 season at 4-7 overall and 3-7 in the ACC.
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