LAS CRUCES, NEW MEXICO (KTSM) – He won’t hear his name called in the first round of the NFL Draft, but New Mexico State’s Jason Huntley has spent the last few weeks rising up Draft boards.
On the eve of the Draft, the Aggie is now a projected late-round selection, with NFL.com predicting he’ll go in the seventh round, 226th overall to the Chicago Bears. That rise is thanks in part to a blazing 4.3-second 40-yard dash at NMSU’s Pro Day on March 10.
If Huntley is selected, or even if he has to go the undrafted free agent route, he’s relishing finally being so close to a life-long dream.
“When you’re young, you always think about that, watching it on TV, like man, I wish I could be up there,” Huntley said. “The fact I’ve actually made it this far is still crazy.”
Huntley capped an exciting Aggie career as a well-rounded player. An elusive running back with the ability to catch passes as well, Huntley rushed for 1,090 yards and nine touchdowns in 2019, while also catching 40 passes, including another pair of touchdowns.
Perhaps Huntley’s best attribute for the next level, though, is his ability on special teams. An elite return man, he returned five kickoffs for touchdowns in his career and projects to get some of those same duties if he’s selected. His versatility is what really intrigues NFL teams.
“I can play so many different positions. That’s what they love,” Huntley said.
“When you look at the versatility he brings, he can play from the backfield, but you could also line him up as a slot receiver and create some mismatches there too. So he brings a lot to the table,” said New Mexico State head coach Doug Martin.
Huntley has been living and working out in his native Arlington, Texas, since the season ended. He told KTSM that he’s been contacted by over a dozen teams as the draft process has gone along. It’s not just the on-field measurables they like; Huntley’s off-field reputation is solid, which could help his draft day stock.
“I didn’t have any off-the-field issues and didn’t miss any game time so it was easy for them to talk to me about drafting me because I didn’t have anything going on,” Huntley said.
His professional career could begin this weekend; don’t be surprised to see Huntley make a big play or two at the next level.