He’ll be a red zone threat
The word freakish gets thrown around a lot around NFL draft time, but there really isn’t another way to describe former Illinois receiver Josh Imatorbhebhe’s jumping ability.
Imatorbhebhe, then committed to USC, first rose to national prominence in 2015 when, three months after his 17th birthday, he supposedly posted a 46" vertical leap at a Nike football camp. That mark tied the all-time combine record set by North Carolina’s Gerald Sensabaugh in 2005, but keep in mind that Imatorbhebhe had just finished his junior year of high school. Another video from the same camp purports to show Imatorbhebhe leaping 47.1". But the accuracy of the Nike measurements is questionable at best. It looks like the jumps were measured visually, rather than with the physical measuring stick the NFL uses.
With the combine canceled because of the pandemic, Imatorbhebhe didn’t get a chance to officially surpass Sensabaugh’s record leap, but he had the attention of scouts. When Albert Breer asked people in the know earlier this month who would have won various combine events, Imatorbhebhe was the clear pick for the vertical leap.
At his pro day on Wednesday, he did not disappoint. He beat Sensabaugh by a half an inch—and there was no question about the measurement methodology.
Had the jump occurred in Indianapolis rather than Champaign, Imatorbhebhe would have been the new record holder.
Here it is from a few more angles, because one view isn’t enough.
To put Imatorbhebhe’s athleticism in perspective, his vertical is also higher than the record set at the NBA combine by former Memphis guard D.J. Stephens (46"). But you didn’t need that information to see how impressive it is. The video of Imatorbhebhe’s leap speaks for itself. He seems to just keep rising into the air as if he’s being pulled by a string.
He also posted an unofficial 40-yard dash time of 4.48 seconds, an 11' 2" broad jump and 24 bench press reps of 225 pounds. (But keep in mind that hand-timed 40-yard dashes are notoriously imprecise.)
We’ll see how much the incredible leap impacts Imatorbhebhe’s draft stock. After an underwhelming senior season (22 receptions for 297 yards and three touchdowns in seven games), he had been projected as a Day 3 pick.
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