Photo of Donnie Avery
  • 5'11" Height
  • 186LBS. Weight


Blessed with incredible speed, Donnie Avery is difficult for cornerbacks to catch once he reaches a clearing.

Avery, clocked at 4.2 seconds in the 40-yard dash, put his quickness to good use during a breakout performance in 2007. He led Conference USA and ranked fourth in the nation with an average of 112 receiving yards per game, while his averaged of seven catches per contest also led the league and ranked 14th nationally.

In addition, he shattered school and conference records during his final campaign with 346 yards receiving in the Rice contest, becoming the first player in C-USA annals to gain over 300 yards receiving in a game. His 427 all-purpose yards in that game also set new league and Houston records, topping his own record set two weeks earlier with 350 yards vs. East Carolina.

At Hastings High School, Avery was a unanimous first-team All-District selection as both a wide receiver and return specialist during his final season. He helped lead the team to the district championship and an 11-3 record, hauling in 36 passes for 502 yards and two touchdowns to lead the District 19-5A receivers in 2002. He also returned 13 punts for 399 yards and three scores, as well as seven kickoffs for 345 yards and one touchdown, in addition to rushing 16 times for 175 yards and two scores.

Avery turned down scholarship offers from Kansas State, Tennessee, Texas Christian, New Mexico and Kansas when he decided to enroll at Houston in 2003. He competed on the scout team that year, moving into the starting lineup for all 11 games in 2004.

He finished fourth on the team with 18 receptions for 293 yards (16.3-yard average) and two scores, adding 343 yards on 18 kickoff returns (19.1 avg). He also returned three punts for 28 yards (9.3 avg) and registered seven tackles (four solo) with a stop for a two-yard loss. For his efforts, he was selected to the Freshman All-Conference USA squad.

As a sophomore, Avery started eight of 12 contests. He ranked third on the team with 44 receptions and second with 688 yards (15.6-yard average), including five touchdowns. He also produced five solo tackles. Eight of his catches were for 20 yards or longer.

In 2006, Avery appeared in 14 contests, earning 12 starts. He ranked second on the Cougars with 57 catches for 852 yards (14.9-yard average) and five touchdowns, as 12 of those grabs were for gains of at least 20 yards. He totaled 113 yards on six kickoff returns (18.8 avg) and amassed 965 all-purpose yards.

Avery earned All-American second-team honors as an all-purpose back from The NFL Draft Report. He was a consensus All-Conference USA first-team choice as a receiver and second-team pick on special teams. He paced the Cougars with a career-high 91 catches for 1,456 yards (16.0 avg) and seven touchdowns. Seventeen of his catches were for at least 20 yards, as he also returned 15 kickoffs for 424 yards (28.3 avg) and a score. He recorded two solo tackles and generated 1,880 all-purpose yards.

Avery started 42 of 50 games at Houston. He became the third player in school history to gain over 3,000 yards receiving, as he caught 210 passes for 3,289 yards (15.7-yard average) and 19 touchdowns. He had 41 catches for 20 yards or longer and returned 40 kickoffs for 896 yards (22.4-yard average), including one score. He added 28 yards on three punt returns (9.3 avg) and recorded 14 tackles (11 solo) with a stop for a two-yard loss. He amassed 4,213 all-purpose yards, an average of 84.26 yards per game.



Positives: Has a lean frame with solid muscle tone and can add more bulk without having it hinder his timed speed...Possesses large hands, a tight abdomen, good bubble, a bit high-cut, but shows developed thighs and calves...Has impressive strength for a player his size, but the weight room numbers don't always translate to the playing field...Displays blazing speed, quick feet, and excellent explosiveness and change-of-direction agility...Plays with very good awareness, showing the ability to adjust to coverage without having to throttle down...Has generated good production catching the ball outside his framework...Sometimes looks a little tight in his lower base, but is generally an agile and elusive route runner who can rack up yardage after the catch if he is able to elude the initial tackle...Has good hands and body control, and the necessary ball skills to make the tough catch...Has improved his concentration lapses catching in a crowd, but is still a work in progress...Big-play type who works hard to protect the ball after the catch...Quick-twitch type with suddenness...When not challenged, he is very sudden getting into his routes...Does a nice job of working back to the ball when his quarterback is under pressure...Shows crisp speed-cut moves, doing a nice job of dropping his pads and accelerating out of his breaks...Shows fluid body moves timing his leaps and extending for the ball along the boundaries...His change-of-direction agility and body control usually leave second-level defenders grabbing at air...Good zone route runner who demonstrates excellent awareness along the boundary...Finds the soft spots in zone coverage, executing crisp double moves in his route to elude and can easily gobble up the cushion and run by the defenders vs. the level of competition he has faced...Plays the game hard and is not afraid to lay out for a ball or take a big hit...A vocal leader who sets a good example for other players by doing extra work in the weight room and in position drills...Gets upfield quickly using good burst and acceleration, as well as a clean release at the line of scrimmage...Freezes defenders off the line with excellent suddenness and change-of-direction agility...Has enough functional strength to push defensive backs out of their backpedal...Displays an outstanding ability to drop his weight quickly, getting in and out of cuts crisply...Creates good separation with his outstanding playing speed and runs crisp routes, using a good center of gravity to make his cuts...Has the quick feet to plant and make the initial tackler miss...Demonstrates good timing to challenge for the pass at its high point...Will cradle the ball at times, but works hard to get good placement...Can pluck the ball away from his body and reacts quickly to the ball in flight, showing good ability to dig out low throws...Can take the ball all the way when he's out in front of a defense...Very creative on the move and does a good job of holding on to the ball after colliding with the defender...Has very good torso flexibility on returns and also possesses the speed, elusiveness, and agility to be a good return specialist at the next level. Negatives: Has a muscular frame, but lacks the ideal bulk and size to get physical with defenders competing for the ball in a crowd...Has very good suddenness when he gets a clean release off the line, but vs. the press, he dances around too much to get into his route quickly...Has had concentration lapses, mostly when having to catch in tight areas, when he hears the defender's footsteps...Needs to be more alert to low tackles, as he is easily tripped up in the open (needs to sidestep better)...Has good elusiveness after the catch, but is prone to running into spots...Will go for the ball in a crowd, but gets ping-ponged often, resulting in a failure to get to those throws...More of a pest-type blocker, as his weight-room strength does not translate to the field...Will get pushed back by a bull rush when blocking on the line...Has had poor production inside the red zone. Compares To: KEVIN CURTIS-Philadelphia...Avery's suddenness into his routes have some comparing him to Buffalo's Lee Evans, but Avery's run-after-catch skills aren't first-rate and he's easily tripped up by low tackles. Avery's quickness is world-class. He has outstanding change-of-direction agility and does an excellent job of working his feet along the sideline. His speed allows him to create separation, but he must learn to get a better push vs. the jam, as he will dance around too much in attempts to escape the press. He is a quality kickoff returner, but not in the Devin Hester mold. Still, he will be a significant contributor as a return specialist. In a multiple-receiver formation, Avery instantly provides a team with a valid deep threat on the outside.
Grade Title
9.00-10 Once-in-lifetime player
8.00-8.99 Perennial All-Pro
7.50-7.99 Future All-Pro
7.00-7.49 Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.50-6.99 Chance to become Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.00-6.49 Should become instant starter
5.50-5.99 Chance to become NFL starter
5.20-5.49 NFL backup or special teams potential
5.01-5.19 Better-than-average chance to make NFL roster
5.00 50-50 Chance to make NFL roster
4.75-4.99 Should be in an NFL training camp
4.50-4.74 Chance to be in an NFL training camp
No Grade Likely needs time in developmental league.