UC Davis wide receiver Keelan Doss caught NFL scouts' attention with his four reception, 55-yard performance at the Senior Bowl. That did not surprise Dan Hawkins, who has been his head coach for the past two seasons.
Hawkins describes Doss as a special breed of wide receiver, the complete opposite of a diva; a film-room junkie who quietly comes in every day and goes to work.
“What a great kid,” Hawkins said. “He’s an amazing person, humble, smart and a good worker. I’m really pleased how he handled himself this week and it didn’t surprise me at all.”
Doss was equally complimentary about Hawkins.
“It’s kind of just me as a person,” Doss said during his week in Mobile, Alabama. “I like to go out there and take care of business so I can’t thank coach Hawk enough for what he’s done helping my career since he’s been at UC Davis. I’m just thankful.”
Hawkins believes there are few challenges for Doss as he prepares for the draft. One will be his 40-yard dash time, and the other will be proving he can get separation at the top of his routes. That’s not saying he’s worried about him at all, because he isn't.
“Whatever team is lucky enough to get him,” Hawkins said, “will be very happy with him. He’s rare. He doesn’t just want to play, he will put in the work. He’s always the first one in and the last one out.”
“I’ll be in the film room watching this whole practice right after this,” Doss said at the end of the first day of practice at the Senior Bowl. “Like to see what I messed up on, like to see what I’ve been good on and what I can improve on for next practice.”
Doss knows what he needs to work on heading towards the NFL scouting combine and the draft. At 6-foot-3 and over 200 lbs., he’s not a burner. But, his performance at the Senior Bowl already has scouts buzzing about him.
“That’s what everyone will see out of me,” Doss said, “because I’m a big guy. Just going to keep training for it and let the results take care of themselves. I’m not worried about it. Got to go out there and work hard for it and see what happens.”
Doss was so busy taking meetings with team scouts when he was in Mobile that Hawkins had to advise his receiver to get some rest, knowing there will be plenty of time for meetings in the coming months.
Hawkins also praised Doss’ versatility, as the receiver spent time on offense and special teams. He was very proud of the first Senior Bowl practice, as Doss knew exactly what his job was on the punt team and other players seemed unsure of their roles.
“I was fired up how he was jumping in there and rolling with it,” Hawkins said. “He can get the call 10 times or one time. It doesn’t matter. He keeps working.”
After his first practice under Raiders coach Jon Gruden, Doss recognized the magnitude of who he was working with.
“It was great,” Doss said. “He’s obviously very passionate about what he does. Just being coached by him and understanding what he’s trying to teach us is a big deal.”
Coach Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers personnel department also got a close look at what Doss in Mobile. He could be a viable addition to a receiving group that needed help -- and depth -- at the end of the 2018 season.
No matter where he lands, Doss will be missed in the Aggies locker room in 2019. Yet, Hawkins couldn’t be more excited for the wide receiver's future.
“When your best player is your hardest worker, it sets the tone for your team. He’s going to make a team very happy.”