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Nike signs UCF's Blake Bortles, eyeing Indiana's Cody Latimer

  • By Dan Parr
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Johnny Manziel and Blake Bortles are teaming up.

Bortles, the former UCF star, has signed with Nike, which won the heated competition to sign Manziel last month with a contract that reportedly ensured Manziel's endorsement deal would be the richest one signed by a rookie in this year's class.

NFL Media senior analyst Gil Brandt reported Bortles, former Louisville safety Calvin Pryor and former Vanderbilt wide receiver Jordan Matthews each signed shoe deals with Nike. The continuing ascent of former Indiana wide receiver Cody Latimer has Nike's attention, too -- Brandt reported the company is also targeting him for a deal.

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Latimer has gone from off the radar to one of the prospects generating the most buzz as we get closer to the May 8 draft. He's one of 30 prospects that will attend the draft in New York City, and 25 NFL teams attended his 16-minute workout Friday, including the 49ers, who hold the 30th pick in the first round. Brandt reported San Francisco's wide receivers coach, John Morton, spent 90 minutes going over the team's playbook with Latimer after his workout.

If that's a smoke screen, kudos to the 49ers for their dedication.

As for Bortles, his rise took place during a breakthrough 2013 season, and he's second, behind only Manziel, in NFL Media draft analyst Mike Mayock's positional rankings. Pryor is the consensus No. 2 safety in the draft, behind Alabama's Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, and Matthews, a cousin of Hall of Famer Jerry Rice, is projected to be picked in Round 2 or 3.



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