Butler Ready To Seize Opportunity In Indianapolis

Emmanuel Butler has made a habit of proving people wrong. A standout tight end at Mountain Pointe he signed with NAU. Despite interest from Power 5 programs like ASU, Arizona, Missouri, Colorado and others, the Lumberjacks were his only offer back in 2014. Butler leaves Flagstaff four years later the most decorated player in program history and looking to prove a point (again) this week at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.

“I’m the best receiver in this draft, that’s what I believe,” Butler said to Sports360AZ.com in a recent interview. “That’s what I believe and I’m going to continue to say that whether I go in the first round or am an undrafted free agent.”

The 6-foot-4 220-pounder has been putting in the work at XSOS in north Phoenix as well as his receivers coach, former Arizona Rattlers star receiver Siaha Burley. 

With “big” receivers once again the trend in the NFL, Butler certainly has the frame and skill set to play at the next level. One of his main focus points leading up to this week is improving his 40-time.

He also draws inspiration from fellow Big Sky receiver alums like Vincent Jackson, Trumaine Johnson and most recently, former Eastern Washington star Cooper Kupp who plays for the NFC Champion Los Angeles Rams.

“It doesn’t take you at a big-time powerhouse program to be able to play in the National Football League,” he said. “Once you strap on the pads…everybody is competing…the cream always rises to the top.”

The top is where Butler finds himself in the NAU receiving record books. He finished his Jacks’ career with 187 receptions for 3,222 yards and 33 touchdowns.

— NAU Football (@NAU_Football) February 12, 2019

Now it’s time to prove he’s ready to transition to the elite level of play in the NFL. Butler impressed in workouts and practices leading up to the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl and capped off his week catching three passes for 46 yards, including the games longest reception (32 yards). 

“I’m confident in myself and I’m confident in my abilities,” Butler explained. “I’m confident in the football player that I am.”

Butler will have a chance to show all of it in the coming days on the big stage in Indianapolis. 

A Valley native, Eric has had a passion for the Arizona sports scene since an early age. He has covered some of the biggest events including Super Bowls, national championships and the NBA and MLB playoffs in his near 20 years in local media.