Southern Pigskin

Elon‘s Hidden Gem

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By Matthew Osborne
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Elon wide receiver Aaron Mellette is projected to a be mid-round selection in the upcoming NFL Draft.

Often lost in the unrelenting hype surrounding the projected first round picks in any NFL Draft are the countless “under-the-radar” prospects who go on to have successful, sometimes even All-Pro, careers in the best professional football league in the world.

Playing his college football at Elon University in the FCS’ Southern Conference, 2013 wide receiver prospect Aaron Mellette is no stranger to fighting for a spot in the limelight alongside college football’s more recognizable figures. Despite ranking second behind former Elon All-American Terrell Hudgins in almost every major all-time SoCon receiving category, the common football fan in this country likely has no idea who Aaron Mellette is.

That is something that will change in the not-so-distant future.

After compiling eye-popping statistics during his three seasons as a full-time starter for the Phoenix, Mellette is currently preparing to hear his name called during the upcoming NFL Draft, which will take place next month. Most NFL scouts currently project that Mellette will be selected somewhere in the middle rounds.

As was the case with his predecessor Terrell Hudgins, the name of the game for Mellette at Elon was supreme production. In what basically amounted to three seasons of action, Mellette accounted for 304 receptions, 4,254 yards and 44 touchdowns.

Such tremendous production certainly makes it easy to imagine that Mellette would rest on his body of collegiate work heading into the NFL.

But to believe that Mellette is satisfied with what he has accomplished thus far in his career is to miss the mark on what makes him such a fierce competitor and exceptional athlete.

“Definitely I go out there and feel like I have something to prove just because I am from a small school and my name is not out there like some of the guys from the FBS level,” Mellette told the Southern Pigskin Radio Network. “You never want to let your production speak for itself, because then it might seem like you aren’t working as hard because you have all of the stats.”

While Mellette is accurate when he says that statistics and measurable physical attributes don’t tell scouts the entire story, those are certainly a healthy portion of the evaluation process.

Fortunately for Mellette, his athleticism was on full display for NFL scouts and executives during the recent NFL Combine in Indianapolis.

Originally thought of by some experts as a prospect who might struggle in some of the physical tests when compared to other wide receivers, Mellette turned in a very solid performance which included a 4.54-second 40-yard dash.

When combining his athletic prowess with his prototypical frame (6-4, 220 pounds), you have one of the top FCS prospects in the 2013 draft pool.

“Some of my strengths are catching the ball at its highest point, going across the middle and also getting behind defensive backs and hitting them for the homerun ball; I love doing that the most,” Mellette responded when asked to give a self-evaluation. “The NFL teams have broken down my game and they probably know my game better than I do, and I’m just trying to show them that I am coming in to work hard and prove my doubters wrong.”

With the Combine now a thing of the past, Mellette turns his attention to his upcoming Pro Day, which will take place next week. Though not a huge part of the evaluation process, the Pro Day does afford Mellette with an additional opportunity to catch the attention of professional scouts.

From the Combine and daily workouts, to his Pro Day and the logistical side of preparing for the Draft, Mellette has quickly become indoctrinated to the business side of the NFL. As he has recently learned, the lead up to the Draft itself is a demanding, rapidly-passing process.

“It does go by fast. It felt like just yesterday I was at the Combine, and the day before that I was at the Senior Bowl. From selecting an agency and starting to train and everything like that, it just moves so fast,” the two-time All-American commented. “You don’t really have time to look at it and reflect on it as much because you have to get ready for the next step ahead. It’s a fun experience and I’m glad that I got to partake in the Senior All-star Game and the Combine.”

Constantly engaged in the task of improving his draft stock, Mellette knows that he is coming down the stretch of the draft process.

In a little over a month, the North Carolina native will finally know where he will be reporting to training camp over the summer.

Exciting as his NFL prospects are, Mellette prefers to take a more low-key approach to his pending Draft Day experience.

“I think I’m going to have a cookout at my aunt’s house. I’m going to be in there playing video games, more than likely,” Mellette said of his plans for the day of the Draft. “I’m just going to chill with my family and let them watch all that stuff. If I sit there and watch, I’m going to get nervous. I’d rather just play video games and wait for the phone call.”

Some people still may be asking the question: “Who is Aaron Mellette?”

As those people are sure to find out, he is a special player who is poised to be the next FCS player to go on to enjoy tremendous success in the NFL.

Matthew Osborne – With an extensive background in both writing and high school recruiting, Matt serves as the Editor and Director of Recruiting for Southern Pigskin. Once serving as the South Region Senior Scout for a national scouting service, Matt is very familiar with the top football prospects in the south. If it is a weekend in the fall, you can rest assured that Matt is on the road watching some of the top high school and college games in the region. To keep up with all of the latest recruiting news in the south, be sure to follow Matt on Twitter: @MattOsborneSP. You can email him at [email protected].

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