Scouting Report: Deontay Burnett, WR, USC

By Kelby Goodman

Number: #80 | Hometown: Compton, CA | Height: 6000 | Weight: 186 | Forty: 4.44E | Hands: 0858 | Arm: 3148 | Combine: Yes [DNP] | Year: 2018 (JR)


One of the more polished route runners in this year’s draft, his precision on each route is quite clear on film study, as he racked up 86 catches and 1,114 yards in his final season for the Trojans. He is at his best when forced to break off the original route and improvise, as his quarterback Sam Darnold would often be scrambling outside of the pocket. In every game, you can find at least one example of this and it generally resulted in a 20-plus yard gain. He showed the ability to take the top off a defense, as he got behind defenders rather easily. At first glance, his yards per catch average doesn’t seem to match his deep-threat ability but that was largely in part due to the USC offense, which emphasized a heavy dose of screen passes. When making the transition to the next level, his two biggest concerns will be his size and frequent drops. At roughly 170 pounds, he’ll likely be the lightest player on the field and even at the collegiate level, he was turned into a rag doll at times by corners and safeties. Any team that values their receivers as run blockers will be hesitant to invest a draft pick in this player, as he has repeatedly been jammed up at the line of scrimmage and bumped off his route by bigger, stronger defenders. He is best-suited lining up in the slot, which will avoid some of those bump-and-run instances and allow him to build up a full burst of speed. His game is very similar to that of Will Fuller (Texans), as they both have leaner frames, can be dangerous deep threats but both have had their struggles with drops. Overall, he projects as a mid-round selection.


2017: Burnett finished his Junior year campaign with 1,114 yards on 86 catches and nine touchdowns.

2016: The elusive Burnett was called upon often as a promising and sure-handed wide receiver as a sophomore in 2016. Overall in 2016 while appearing in all 13 games (and starting the last 5 as a third wideout), he had 56 catches (second on USC) for 622 yards (11.1 avg) with 7 TDs, as well as 3 carries for 31 yards (10.3 avg), 4 punt returns for 26 yards (6.5 avg) and 2 tackles. He made the 2016 AP All-Bowl Team first team, ESPN All-Bowl Team first team and ESPN Pac-12 All-Bowl Team first team. Burnett had 4 receptions for 26 yards and a 15-yard punt return against Alabama, 3 catches for 24 yards (with a 13-yard TD) and a 12-yard rush against Utah State and 3 receptions for 41 yards at Stanford. He had 7 catches for 93 yards against Arizona State, then 5 for 34 yards against Colorado, an 11-yard catch at Arizona and a 13-yard TD catch and a 15-yard rush against California. Against Oregon, Burnett had a game-high and career-best 7 catches for 87 yards (with a 2-yard TD) and he had a tackle. He had 4 grabs for 67 yards at Washington, 3 catches for 28 yards, a 4-yard rush and a tackle at UCLA and 5 catches for 34 yards against Notre Dame. Against Penn State, he caught 13 passes for 164 yards with a Rose Bowl record-tying 3 TDs (all career bests), including scores of 26, 3 and 27 yards (the last TD tied the game with 1:20 to play); the 13 receptions were the second most ever in a Rose Bowl.

2015: He was a reserve wide receiver as a first-year freshman at USC in 2015. Overall in 2015 while appearing in 12 games (all but Arkansas State and Stanford), he caught 10 passes for 161 yards (16.1 average). He had a 10-yard catch against Idaho, then 3 receptions for 53 yards at Notre Dame, 3 grabs for 82 yards at California, a catch for minus 6 yards against Arizona, a 9-yard reception versus UCLA and a 13-yard catch versus Wisconsin. He enrolled at USC in the fall of 2015 and was awarded a scholarship by virtue of an NCAA rule known as “blueshirting” (it allows a non-recruited student-athlete to receive athletic financial aid after beginning practice and have that student-athlete count towards the next year’s signing class if the school has reached its NCAA-maximum aid limit for the current year).

High School: He made 2014 South Bay Daily Breeze All-South Bay second team and All-Mission League first team as a senior wide receiver at Serra High in Gardena (Calif.). He had 27 receptions for 545 yards (20.2 avg) with 5 TDs in 2014. As a junior in 2013, he had 12 catches for 186 yards (15.5 avg) with 2 TDs. He completed 8-of-11 passes (72.7%) for 65 yards with 1 TD and ran for 25 yards on 6 carries (4.2 avg) as a 2012 sophomore. Current Trojans Olajuwon Tucker, Jalen Greene, Jalen Jones, Rasheem Green, John Houston Jr., Oluwole Betiku, C.J. Pollard and Christian Herrera also prepped at Serra.

Personal: He is a communication major at USC.