Emeka Emezie

If former Marvin Ridge High receiver Emeka Emezie continues his improved play of late during the second half of his senior season at N.C. State, he could improve his stock enough to be drafted by the NFL.

CBS Sports currently ranks Emezie as the 14th-best receiver prospect in the 2021 NFL Draft, and places him 75th overall. With 32 picks in each round, that projection would land Emezie in the middle of the third round.

Other outlets are less optimistic, including walterfootball.com, which ranks Emezie 40th among receivers in the 2021 Draft. In the 2020 Draft, 37 receivers were selected.

The last time Union County was represented in the NFL Draft was 2015, when Washington selected Duke receiver Jamison Crowder (Monroe High graduate) in the fourth round and Denver picked Maryland defensive tackle Darius Kilgo (Weddington) in the sixth round.

Emezie has improved his stock of late. He has had more than 80 receiving yards in three of his last four games, and has caught three touchdown passes during that stretch.

Through six games, Emezie leads the 4-2 Wolfpack in receptions (23) and receiving yards (370) and TD catches (3).

The senior’s best game of the season so far came against Pittsburgh on Oct. 3, when he caught seven passes for 101 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winner with 23 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

Listed at 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, Emezie has an ideal body for a strong outside receiver. He has already shown an ability to make contested catches on the outside. How well Emezie runs the 40-yard dash for NFL scouts will help determine his fate in the draft. While there aren’t any official records of a 40 time for Emezie, walterfootball.com lists his 40 time at 4.5, which is respectable.

Chris Trapasso of CBS Sports wrote on Oct. 5 that Emezie’s NFL Draft stock is up. “At 6-3 and a chiseled 220 pounds, Emezie has the body to win (the ball) on the perimeter in the NFL, and he’s long been very good with coverage draped on him,” Trapasso wrote.

In three-plus seasons at N.C. State, Emezie has 145 catches for 1,725 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Emezie, who has not been redshirted, will have some options after this season if he feels like he needs more time to prepare for the pros. The NCAA has granted a blanket waiver for all 2020 fall sports athletes because of the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning Emezie could return for a fifth season if he wants to next fall.

Emezie turned 21 in May and would be 23 by the start of the 2022 NFL season if he decided to stay another year in Raleigh.

The Wolfpack, which has already matched last season’s win total, will play five more games in the regular season, including a primetime matchup against No. 12 Miami at home on Friday, Nov. 6.