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Tennessee drafts UMass receiver Tajae Sharpe in fifth round 

  • UMass receiver Tajae Sharpe runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in February, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Massachusetts wide receiver Tajae Sharpe warms up before an NCAA college football game against Akron in Foxborough, Nov. 7, 2015. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

  • Tennessee Titans general manager Jon Robinson was part of the management team that selected UMass receiver Tajae Sharpe. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)



@MattVautourDHG
Sunday, May 01, 2016

AMHERST  – Former UMass receiver Tajae Sharpe appears to have landed in one of the most promising offenses in the NFL.

Drafted as the first pick in the fifth round (140 overall) by the Tennessee Titans on Saturday, Sharpe joins an offense that features 2014 Heisman winner Marcus Mariota at quarterback and 2015 winner Derrick Henry, who the Titans took in the second round, at running back.

“I am just blessed to be a part of the Tennessee Titans, and I can’t wait to get to Nashville to get to work,’’ Sharpe said Saturday on a conference call with Titans media. “It sounds good to me. Catching passes from a former Heisman Trophy winner, I just want to get there and get to work with a great up-and-coming quarterback. He is a young guy as well so I want to get our chemistry going as soon as we can and help the Titans get some more wins.”

Sharpe said he was not surprised that the Titans were the team that picked him.

“I had a lot of good interaction with them,” he said. “I had a workout with them and it went really well. I felt like I ran very good routes and I caught the ball well. We had some really good conversations in the meeting room. I’m not surprised that I ended up here. I’m glad to be a Titan.”

Sharpe watched the draft at home in New Jersey.

“We’re just celebrating and enjoying a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Sharpe said. “I couldn’t be more blessed right now.”

Sharpe knows that some people discounted his 111 catches and 1,319 yards because it came mostly in the Mid-American Conference. He was eager to prove himself as a pro.

“I am definitely looking forward to it, but it’s not going to be a problem for me at all,’’ he said. “I look forward to facing the best competition there is. That’s something I had to hear throughout my whole college career ... playing at a small school in the MAC and not playing the top competition every single week.

“But at UMass we had some very big games there and during those big games I showed up in every single one. So I am very confident in my abilities and I am just going to continue to work as hard as I can every single day and just prove myself to everybody.”

Sharpe is the highest-selected Minuteman in the draft since Vladimir Ducasse was the 61st player taken in 2010 by the New York Jets.

Sharpe is the 25th UMass player taken in either the NFL or AFL drafts. While he is the first Minuteman receiver drafted in over 40 years, Victor Cruz, Julian Talley and Jeremy Horne have all earned roster spots as undrafted free agents in recent years.

 Matt Vautour can be reached at mvautour@gazettenet.com. Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at www.facebook.com/GazetteUMassCoverage.