While at Mountain Pointe High School, Emmanuel Butler had the size and big play capabilities to play at the next level. At 6-foot-4, 200 pounds, he averaged almost 18 yards per catch with six touchdowns on just 26 receptions in Norris Vaughan’s run-heavy Pride offense.
He capped off 2013 with a state championships but just one offer came the receiver’s way: Northern Arizona University.
While he felt overlooked by in-state Arizona State and the University of Arizona, some of his strongest games of his college career came against the best competition.
2015 – NAU vs Arizona: 5 receptions, 119 yards, touchdown
2016 – NAU vs ASU: 7 receptions, 118 yards
2017 – NAU vs Arizona: 5 receptions, 87 yards
“I somewhat had a chip on my shoulder for the most part throughout my entire life,” Butler said. “I felt like I’ve been doubted and looked over for the entirety of my football career. It was great to go in there and have some big games against U of A and against ASU. I felt like I made some big plays.”
That chip on his shoulder helped him become the Lumberjacks’ career leader in touchdown receptions (33), receiving yards (3,217), as well as the single season records for receiving yards (1,208) and touchdowns (16).
“It drove me, it pushed me. It was the reason that I worked so hard today, being doubted,” Butler said. “It drives me. It’s the reason I’m so hungry. It’s the reason that I want to be the best. It’s the reason that I will be the best.”
Now, Butler hopes to become the first Lumberjack to be selected in the NFL draft since 2005. He was a participant in the NFLPA Bowl and NFL combine and hopes to hear his named called this week. Butler had one goal in mind in the pre-draft process.
“I really wasn’t focused on anything but showing (NFL teams) the best version of me.”
The NFL draft kicks off on Thursday at 5 p.m. and will run through Saturday.