Michael Gallup earned 16 letters across four different sports at Monroe Area High School in Georgia. The Colorado State receiver has always been a jack of all trades, and and while he's now concentrating on one sport, he's still confounding opponents with an unstoppable array of different skills.
In the Rams' opener vs. Oregon State, Gallup caught 11 passes for 134 yards and one touchdown. Nine of the yards came on a receiver screen pass in which he barreled into two Beavers' defenders to make it a nine-yard catch instead of a six-yard catch. Ten came over the middle on a contested catch that he elevated to secure, and five more came on a two-yard curl in which he broke a tackle and spun for an additional three yards.
On the first drive on the third quarter, Gallup caught a pass one yard behind the line of scrimmage, broke a tackle seven yards downfield and dragged another defender three yards to complete the 18-yard gain.
In the fourth, he burned Oregon State cornerback Xavier Crawford down the middle, made a terrific over-the-shoulder catch on a poorly thrown ball, spun and used Crawford's tackling momentum to pick up 10 more yards.
As spectacular as his performance was, it's become commonplace. In 22 career games, he's topped 100 yards in 10 of them, including with more than 200. And he's done so on a combination of screens, deep passes, 15-yard out routes and more, showcasing an all-around game that's putting him in contention for a second-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
The 6-foot-1, 200-pounder ranks first in the FBS in receiving yards (1,167), second in receptions (72), third in average yards per route run (4.3) and second in forced missed tackles after the catch (18). Rams' head coach Mike Bobo has compared him to Anquan Boldin, who was also a former high school quarterback that did a little of everything at Florida State and during 14 seasons in the NFL.
“Boldin doesn’t run out of bounds as a wide receiver, he’s going to run somebody over,” Gallup said in mid-October. “He’s a deep ball threat, but also in the screen game he’s not scared to take a hit if it comes his way.”
Gallup is a former three-star high school recruit who had offers from Kentucky, North Carolina State and others but inadequate test scores forced him to take the JUCO route. Two years at Butler Community College in Kansas have been followed by two remarkable years in Fort Collins, where he has 148 catches for 2,444 yards and 20 touchdowns in 22 games.
“You can be at the line of scrimmage to jam him up, and you think you’re good for the rest of the route because you threw off the timing,” Colorado State cornerback Kevin Nutt said of Gallup. “But he’s so good with his hands and he’s so strong that he can get you out of position so quick to where he stacks you up and he’s gone."
He has also tremendous vision and a high football IQ. He immediately identifies coverage and tendencies and adjusts his multi-dimensional game to exploit the defense's weaknesses. He's particularly good at altering routes against both man and zone coverage to find soft spots.
Michael Gallup isn't a scheme- or system-specific receiver. He can move the chains in a conservative, methodical offense, take the lid off the secondary for a strong-armed quarterback or do a little of both. He's a player to keep a close eye on over the next month and throughout the draft process.