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Steelers select WR Markus Wheaton in 3rd round

Posted Apr 28, 2013

2013 NFL DRAFT - Steelers Third Round Selection

MARKUS WHEATON
Wide Receiver
Oregon State University Beavers
5-11 - 182
Chandler, Arizona
Chandler High School
Mountain Pointe High School
3rd Round – 79th Overall

CAREER NOTES
Wheaton appeared in 49 games for Oregon State, starting 30 consecutive contests at split end…Hauled in a school all-time record 227 passes, ranking third on the career chart with 2,994 yards receiving and sixth with 16 touchdown receptions…Added 631 yards with five scores on 83 carries (7.60 ypc), 68 yards on three punt returns (22.67 avg) and 81 yards on four kickoff returns (20.25 avg)…Scored 126 points as he recorded two solo tackles with a fumble recovery, also tallying 3,774 all-purpose yards on 346 touches, an average of 77.02 yards per game and 10.91 yards per play…His 227 grabs rank eighth in Pac-12 Conference history and topped the previous school mark of 222 by James Rodgers (2007­11), joining Mike Hass (220; 2002-05) and James Newson (213; 2000-03) as the school’s only 200-catch performers…His 2,994 yards receiving is the third-best career total by a Beavers performer, surpassed by Mike Hass (3,924 yards) and James Newson (3,572)…Gained at least 100 yards receiving 11 times, tying Sammie Stroughter (2004-08) for third in OSU history behind Mike Hass (19) and James Newson (16)…His 16 touchdown receptions rank sixth on the school career-record list…His 73 catches as a junior rank tenth on the OSU season-record chart, as his 91 grabs as a senior tied the school mark first set by James Rodgers in 2009…Wheaton’s 986 receiving yards in 2011 placed 11th on the school annual record chart, and his 1,244 yards in 2012 placed sixth on that list…Wheaton is one of only 10 players in school history to record at least 10 receptions in a game more than once, and one of three with at least four contests that reached the century mark (10 vs. Oregon in 2010, 11 vs. Arizona State in 2011, 10 vs. Arizona and 12 vs. Nicholls State in 2012).


2012 SEASON
Wheaton received All-American second-team accolades from The NFL Draft Report, in addition to being named third-team by CBS Sports and honorable mention by Sports Illustrated…The team captain and Biletnikoff Award candidate added first-team All-Pac 12 Conference recognition, as the split end started all 13 games, extending his starting string to 30 consecutive contests…Along the way, he also extended his streak to 36 consecutive games with at least one catch, the longest by any active player in the Pac-12…The senior went on to set a school season-record with 91 receptions, tying Dwayne Jarrett of Southern California (2005) for ninth on the conference season-record chart and breaking the previous school annual mark of 90 catches by Mike Hass in 2005…His 1,244 receiving yards placed sixth on the OSU season-record list and 27th in league annals…His 11 touchdown catches are one shy of the school season-record of 12, set by James Newsom in 2002…Scored two more times on twenty carries for 142 yards (7.10 ypc), finishing with 78 points…Added two solo tackles while also recovering a fumble…Paced the Beavers with 1,402 all-purpose yards…Ranked second in the conference with 7.00 receptions per game, third with an average of 95.69 yards and 10th with 107.85 all-purpose yards per game…Generated 473 of his 1,222 receiving yards after the catch…Had at least 100 yards receiving in five contests, tying Sammie Stroughter (2006) for fifth on the OSU annual record list…Had at least seven receptions in nine contests, including in each of his first four contests, as he pulled down at least 10 balls twice…Scored at least one touchdown in eight games, producing three multiple-touchdown performances…Wheaton made eight catches for 87 yards and recovered his own fumble, as OSU prevailed in a 10-7 decision over Wisconsin in the season opener…In the UCLA clash, he generated 150 yards on nine receptions that included a touchdown, adding 10 yards on a fly sweep. It marked the 25th consecutive game that Wheaton caught at least one pass and his 150-yard effort marked the seventh time he had gained over 100 yards receiving in a game, matching Robb Thomas (1985-88) and James Rodgers (2007-11) for fifth all-time in Oregon State annals…Wheaton finished the Arizona game with a career-high 166 yards on ten receptions in a 38-35 win. His 166 yards topped his previous career-high of 150 receiving yards that he established the previous week vs. UCLA…The split end scored twice while snatching five balls for 66 yards, adding another touchdown on a reverse to stake the Beavers to a 42-24 triumph…The senior scored twice on four receptions for 108 yards vs. Arizona State, marking the third game that Whaton produced multiple scores as a receiver during 2012. He also added 57 yards on three carries vs. the Sun Devils…Followed with eight grabs for 100 yards and a score vs. Stanford…Scored via a reception and on an end-around carry, posting his fifth 100-yard receiving effort for the year, as he amassed 123 yards behind a career-high 12 receptions vs. Nicholls State. The only Beavers to ever catch more passes in a game were Mike Hass (14 vs. Arizona State in 2004), Shane Morales (13 vs. Stanford in 2008) and Jacquizz Rodgers (13 vs. Arizona in 2009).


2011 SEASON
A member of the Biletnikoff Award Watch List (given to the nation’s top receiver), Wheaton received All-Pac 12 Conference honorable mention, as his 73 receptions not only led the team and rank ninth on the school season-record list, but his average of 6.08 catches per game ranked fifth in the league…Had 120 passes targeted to him (caught 60.83%), good for 986 yards (13.51 ypc), the 10th-best receiving yardage total in OSU annals…Saw the opposition deflect 19 of the balls targeted to him (15.83%)…He had one touchdown and came up with crucial receptions that led to 14 Oregon State touchdowns and during seven other possessions that produced field goals…Had 58 first-down snatches (79.45%), as he converted 22 third-down throws and another on a fourth-down play…Gained at least 10 yards with 47 of his receptions (64.38%) that included 12 grabs for 20 yards or longer…Was tackled once for a loss and twice for no gain after the catch…Gained at least 100 yards receiving four times – vs. Sacramento State, Arizona State, Brigham Young and Washington, as he grabbed a season-high 11 balls in the Arizona State clash…Finished fourth on the team with 25 carries for 190 yards (7.60 ypc), as 11 of his attempts resulted in first downs, seven of his carries gained at least 10 yards, with two for longer than 20 yards…Had key reverses that led to five Oregon State touchdowns and two more on series that ended with field goals…Wheaton opened the season by recording the first of four 100-yard receiving performances for the 2011 campaign…For the second time during his college career, Wheaton registered at least 10 receptions (11) in a game, snaring 11 balls for 116 yards vs. Arizona State. For the fourth time during his time with OSU, he gained at least 100 yards receiving (116) in a contest…The receiver had his fifth 100-yard receiving performance for his career vs. Brigham Young, as he tallied 104 yards on eight catches. His fifth 100-yard receiving game as a Beaver broke his tie with Imani Percoats (1999) to take over sole possession of ninth place on the school career-record chart…In a 38-21 triumph over Washington on Senior Day, Wheaton sent the upper classmen home with a victory, as he not only led the team with seven receptions for 125 yards, but also paced the Beavers with 66 yards rushing on just three attempts in a 38-21 triumph. His sixth 100-yard receiving performance tied at OSU tied Robert Prescott (1997-2000) for seventh on the school all-time record list. It was also his fourth 100-yard receiving game for 2011, good for sixth on the OSU season-record chart.


2010 SEASON
Wheaton appeared in all 12 games, starting eight contests at split end (came off the bench vs. Louisville, Boise State, Arizona and Washington)…Led the team and tied for seventh in the Pac-10 Conference with 55 receptions on 90 passes targeted to him (61.11%)…Ranked ninth in the league while leading the Beavers with 675 receiving yards (12.27 ypc), as 35 of his grab s (63.64%) gained at least 10 yards, including eight for 20 yards or longer…Produced 40 first downs (72.73%), as he converted 16 third-down grabs and made five of his catches inside the red zone…Scored four times for the passing game, as he also had key receptions to set up 16 touchdown drives and on six possessions that led to field goals…Wheaton finished second on the team with 220 yards on 27 carries (8.15 ypc), as he scored twice on the ground and had key reverses that led to eight OSU touchdown drives and three field goals…Produced 11 first-down runs, with nine gaining at least 10 yards and four going for at least 20 yards…Set up another touchdown drive with a 52-yard punt return vs. Arizona State and briefly served as a kickoff returner vs. ASU and Arizona, totaling 81 yards on four runbacks (20.25 avg)… The sophomore finished third on the team with 1,028 all-purpose yards, an average of 85.67 yards per game and 11.82 yards per attempt.


2009 SEASON
As a true freshman, Wheaton appeared in 12 games and started the California clash as a split end…He collected eight receptions for 89 yards (11.13 ypc), tallying four first downs while converting a pair of third-down throws…Four of his grabs gained at least 10 yards, including two for 20 yards or longer…Had timely receptions that led to one OSU touchdown and three field goals… Carried 11 times for 79 yards (7.18 ypc) and one touchdown, as he posted four first-down runs that led to a quartet of Beavers touchdown drives.


HIGH SCHOOL
As a senior, Wheaton transferred to Chandler (Az.) High School, playing football for Wolves head coach Jim Ewan, helping lead the team to an 8-4 record to finish ranked 13th in the state in 2008…Rated the state of Arizona’s sixth-best athlete by Super Prep, he was listed as the nation’s 41st-best player by Rivals.com, as that recruiting service joined Scout.com in awarding the youngster three-star prospect status…The All-Fiesta League and All-Division V choice recorded 15 tackles with three pass deflections as a senior, as he also averaged 10.22 yards on nine punt returns and 27.0 yards on 10 kickoff returns…Toted the ball 29 times for 304 yards (10.48 ypc) with two touchdowns on the ground, adding four more scores behind 37 grabs for 736 yards (19.89 ypc) in 2008…Some of his senior season highlights featured three receptions for 61 yards and a 38-yard score, two carries for 16 yards and a 16-yard punt return vs. Ironwood; a 10-yard touchdown catch with 33 yards on four runs and a 23-yard punt return vs. Dobson; 173 yards behind seven receptions and three carries for 25 yards, including a 17-yard score vs. Desert Vista and 115 yards with a 40-yard touchdown on four rushes, in addition to a 20-yard catch, two tackles and a pass break-up in a 56-0 rout of Yuma…Delivered seven tackles (5 solos) vs. Corona del Sol; two catches for 120 yards and a 68-yard touchdown while setting up another score with a 62-yard kickoff return vs. Mesquite, followed by two tackles, a pass deflection, three kickoffs for 63 yards and five grabs for 106 yards, including a 39-yard score…His senior season ended with seven receptions for 129 yards and 17 yards on three end-around carries vs. Hamilton…Before he enrolled at Chandler High School, Wheaton and his brother, Marquese, attended Mountain Pointe (Phoenix, AZ) High School, playing football as a sophomore and junior for Pride head coach Phil Abbadessa…As a 144-pound wide receiver and defensive back, he made twelve catches for 286 yards (23.83 ypc) and three scores in 2006. He also blocked a field goal and recorded 18 tackles to earn All-Region honors…That year, some of his better performances came vs. Maryvale, where he caught a 41-yard pass for a touchdown. He had four receptions for 138 yards and a pair of touchdown in a 38-27 victory over Marcos de Niza…In 2007, Wheaton arrived back at Mountain Pointe checking in at 155 pounds. The team struggled to a 4-6 record, but the two-way player paced the Pride with 315 yards with four touchdowns on 43 carries (7.33 ypc), as he also caught 23 passes for 476 yards (20.70 ypc) with six scores and averaged 23.69 yards on 13 kickoff returns. The All-Region and All-Class 5A Central League selection also posted 49 tackles (21 solos) with an interception, returning a blocked punt 10 yards and a fumble recovery 24 yards…Some of his junior highlights featured 95 yards and a score on eight carries, adding four tackles vs. Chavez; three grabs for 30 yards to go with seven tackles and an interception vs. Sunnyside; three runs for 38 yards and a 28-yard score vs. St. Mary’s; four catches for 80 yards, including a 28-yard touchdown as he also returned four kicks for 101 yards and posted four tackles vs. Horizon before he had six tackles, a fumble recovery he returned 24 yards, two kickoffs for 32 yards and three catches for 38 yards with a 26-yard score vs. Hamilton…Also carried 10 times for 70 yards and two touchdowns with a long of 29 yards while chipping in with five tackles vs. Cibola; adding three receptions for 100 yards and a 72-yard score, a 10-yard punt return, 13 yards on three carries and a trio of tackles vs. Mountain Ridge, followed by seven runs for 78 yards, seven tackles, three kickoff returns for 94 yards and two grabs for 23 yards vs. Corona del Sol…Closed out his 2007 season with four receptions for 126 yards and two touchdowns, including an 85-yarder vs. Basha before he produced nine tackles (6 solos) with a 51-yard score behind two catches for 58 yards vs. Desert Vista and then blocked a field goal try vs. Alhambra.


PERSONAL
Public Health major…Participated in the initial "Beavers Without Borders" trip during spring break of 2011, as he traveled to Guatemala to build a house for a needy family…Son of Katrina and Odis Wheaton…Father played basketball for NAIA Division II Howard Payne University…Brother, Marquese, was a teammate of Markus at Mountaine Pointe High School. He went to Phoenix Community College, earning All-Arizona Community College Athletic Conference honors after recording 39 tackles with three interceptions in 2009. He transferred to Southern Mississippi for the 2010-11 seasons, earning All-Conference USA honors as a senior, when he produced a 41-yard interception return for a touchdown vs. Navy, recovered a fumble vs. Rice that he advanced 75 yards for a score and blocked a field goal that he returned 79 yards for a touchdown vs. Navy in 2011. That year, the field cornerback also sealed a win over Southern Methodist with a pair of fourth quarter interceptions. In 25 games spanning two seasons at USM, he recorded 73 tackles (47 solos) with 2.5 stops for loss, 14 pass deflections and five interceptions…Their cousin is former University of Oregon standout defensive back, Kenny Wheaton (1994-96). Kenny was selected in the third round of the 1997 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys, playing for the pokes from 1997-99. In 2002, he played for the Detroit Fury in the Arena Football League before heading north to Canada, where he played for the Toronto Argonauts from 2003-08. Along with his brother Derrek, they attended McClintock High School, where they played varsity football, basketball, and baseball. At Oregon, Kenny was named the team’s outstanding player in 1996, adding All-Pac 10 Conference honors. In 1994, as a freshman, he led the Ducks with 73 tackles (96 solos) and four interceptions for 157 yards that included a 97-yard touchdown, the second-longest runback in school history. He is tied for the Oregon all-time record with three interception returns for touchdowns, adding five thefts for 128 yards and a 71-yard score in 1995 and two for 95 yards that included a 70-yard touchdown in 1996. His 350 yards via interception returns set the school career-record…Wheaton's cousin, Andre Bailey, also played football at McClintock High School and went on to play college football at Mesa Community College before attending the University of Texas-El Paso…Wheaton has also been a long-time member of the university’s “Beavers Without Bordors” group, which consists of current and former Oregon State student-athletes who have taken trips to Guatemala (Spring Break 2011), Macedonia (Summer 2011) and Ethiopia (summer 2012). On those trips the group assisted a building of a house for needy families. There were matching funds, but many of these student-athletes did their own fundraising for the trips…Born 2/07/91 in Phoenix, Arizona.






Markus Wheaton Conference Call Transcript

MARKUS WHEATON
Wide Receiver – Oregon State University Beavers
3rd Round – 79th Overall

How fast can you run? I know you didn’t run as well as you wanted to at the combine.
I think I can run a 4.3.


Have you ever ran a 4.3?
Yes sir.


Re: Comparisons to WR Mike Wallace now that you are with the Steelers:
I’m just excited. I’m excited to finally get off the board and know where I’m going. I’m ready to play football. It’s been a while. The Senior Bowl was a little bit of a struggle but I’m just ready to play football again.


Why was the Senior Bowl a struggle?
Just the new players, the chemistry wasn’t there, picking up a whole new offense in a week and stuff like that. You can’t really play as fast as you want to.


Are you more of an inside receiver?
To be honest, I envision myself anywhere. I played a lot of outside in college. Obviously, it’s not the same as the NFL but I feel I can produce outside. If I do need to play inside I feel I can do both.


Do you like disguising what you’re going to do by lining up in different places on the field?
Yes sir. I like being all over the place. The defense can’t really plan for you when they don’t know where you’re going to be. So, I like being all over the place.


Offensive coordinator Todd Haley said it is an indication of a smart player when you see them moved around a bunch of different places on tape. Tell us, how smart are you?
[Laughs] I’m going to have to show you when I get there. [Laughs]


Did you understand all the different positions you played?
Yes, sir. With them, like you said, moving me around a lot I have to know pretty much everything out there, know all the concepts and everything about the offense pretty much.


Why didn’t you return more kicks in college?
Coming in I struggled. I struggled catching the punts. I, obviously, wanted it real bad. I worked at it and eventually moved up the depth chart in the punt return position. Senior year I did end up getting a couple, not as many as I wanted, but they had Jordan Poyer who took over the position when we were young and he held onto it.


A criticism of your game is that you need to shorten your memory because you focus on mistakes too much. Would you agree with that?
Yeah, I think you could say that at times. I don’t feel those mistakes carry on for too long. I do think about it when I’m on the sideline but I don’t feel they carry on afterwards.


Have you watched the Steelers and QB Ben Roethlisberger? And what are your thoughts?
It’s a great organization. They’re always good. Ben is a great quarterback and I’m excited to get on the field with those guys and show them what I can do.


* VIDEO: Todd Haley on WR Markus Wheaton (Coming Soon)


Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley RE 3rd Round Pick Markus Wheaton

MARKUS WHEATON
Wide Receiver – Oregon State University Beavers
3rd Round – 79th Overall

Todd Haley: Good to see everybody again. It keeps a smile on my face. We got Markus Wheaton, a gnarly guy we are really excited about bringing aboard. He is a highly productive receiver out of Oregon State. He is a four-year guy that had great production both as a receiver, and he has also handled the football as a runner a bunch which we also like from a versatility standpoint. He is a good solid football player that brings speed to the team. He is a fast guy make no mistake about it. He’s a guy that can stretch the field. He plays inside-out and is a pretty versatile, good, polished football player at the receiver position.


I know his 4.45 40-yard dash time at the combine disappointed him. Does he play faster on tape?
Yes, absolutely. As one of those guys, kind of like Kevin [Colbert] said about Jarvis [Jones] at the combine, when you have guys that you like you aren’t rooting for them to run fast and get a lot of attention. I know it probably hurt his feelings and made him feel bad, but we were happy because when you put on the tape he plays fast. He’s a fast player and quick. He will be an exciting guy to have around.


Is he similar to Mike Wallace?
A little different skill set than Mike [Wallace] other than the speed. I saw Mike as more of an outside receiver outside the numbers. This guy has played the slot a bunch when he wasn’t outside. He is a little wider base, a little more running back build in my opinion. The speed comparison, it’s hard for anyone to run faster than Mike, but this guy does play fast.


Is he a returner?
He did some, very little. In our discussions, we think that we would definitely have him back there working at it.


Is his productivity what really jumps out at you? That and his speed?
Yeah, he is a highly productive guy and the numbers aren’t huge from a yards per catch standpoint, but he’s one of the guys that we thought that when the ball is in his hands he really gets even more exciting. So that leaves the door open to be able to do a lot of things with this guy, which kind of fits with Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders, so I think he will be a good guy to have in that group and we’ll get him coached up. He does a lot of different things which is always good. And he’s smart and he understands. He is a smart, good football player right now.


How much better do you feel being able to address two obvious needs in the draft?
I feel good. Like I said, anytime I can come in here a couple of times early, that’s always good. We need competition and the receiver position was one of the ones going in we knew we wanted to add to the competition. We like the guys that we have here, but you get another young guy in here to compete and push the other guys, that’s always a good thing in my opinion.


You have inside-outside, split flankers, with Antonio and Emmanuel and where does this guy fit in?
I think that’s one of the positives with Markus, that he can do both. He’s a guy that you saw in two back sets outside at the X-position and they also moved him over to the Z. Like I said, he was in the slot. He was in the backfield. So that tells us that he’s a smart guy. Anytime a coach feels comfortable moving a guy around a bunch like that, that’s good. So especially with what we have, which we have a nice mix right now of inside and outside guys, to have a guy that especially early is contributing on special teams and knows multiple positions including inside and outside spots, I think that’s a big positive with Markus, that I think he can probably play both spots, inside and out.


Do you think he’s more like Antonio Brown and can play the slot?
Yes.

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