Jermichael Finley #88 TE
Height: 6-5 Weight: 247 Age: 26
Born: 3/26/1987 Lufkin , TX
Experience: 6th season
High School: Diboll HS [TX]
Selected By: Green Bay Packers
Pick (Overall): 28 (91)
It took the Longhorns coaching staff and even Jermichael Finley's teammates by surprise when the third-year sophomore announced after the 2007 season that he was leaving school for a chance to play in the National Football League in 2008. While he is one of the more athletic players at his position, the league's advisory board told Finley he projected as a fourth-round pick.
With a daughter at home and another child on the way, Finley decided it was time to start earning paychecks.
"The NFL is every football player's dream, and when my NFL grade came back, it was encouraging, and I felt like it was in my best interest to enter the draft," Finley said. "I've worked really hard for three years at Texas to prepare for this, and I think I'm ready for the challenge."
Based on his performance at the Combine, Finley is likely to fit in the back half of the draft.
Known for his athletic skills coming out of high school, he considered enrolling at the University of Arizona. UA was the only school to offer him a dual scholarship, hoping to entice him to the university to play both football and basketball.
At Diboll High School, Finley was a four-year starter at tight end and played defensive end, wide receiver, safety, punter and kicker. He owns the school records with 316 receptions, 30 touchdown catches and 2,217 receiving yards. He also punted for a 37.9-yard average, kicked off and played an average of 101 snaps per game. He was named District Offensive Player of the Year in football and District MVP in basketball as a sophomore, averaging 24 points and 20 rebounds as a senior for the hoops squad.
Finley arrived at the University of Texas weighing 205 pounds in 2005, spending the season on the scout team. He learned the technique of playing tight end under the tutelage of former All-Big Twelve Conference selection and current New England Patriot David Thomas. Finley, who now wore Thomas' No. 16, put those lessons to use as a redshirt freshman in 2006 and established himself as one of the top Mackey Award candidates.
In 2006, he earned Freshman All-American honors, starting four of 13 games. He was the most productive freshman tight end in UT history, posting 31 catches for 372 yards (12.0-yard average) and three touchdowns, all tops on the Longhorns' freshman tight end chart.
Finley received All-Big Twelve honorable mention as a sophomore in 2007. He ranked third on the team with 45 receptions for 575 yards (12.8-yard average) and two scores. His 45 grabs are the second-best season total by a Texas tight end and his 575 yards rank third on the tight end chart. He also recovered a fumble for a score and recorded a solo tackle.
Finley started 17 of the 26 games in which he played at Texas. He ranks fourth on the school's career list for tight ends with 76 receptions and sixth with 947 yards (12.5-yard average), with five touchdown catches and another score on a fumble recovery.