Former Duke University standout receiver Conner Vernon was added to the Cincinnati Bengals roster after being claimed off of waivers. Vernon went undrafted in the 2013 NFL draft coming out of Duke and was invited to training camp by the Oakland Raiders. He spent last season playing for the Cleveland Browns practice squad, but will have the opportunity to compete for a roster spot and playing time with the Bengals’ wide receivers as they enter training camp.
Conner Vernon had an amazing career at Duke, breaking both the Duke and ACC all-time receiving yards and receptions amassing 283 receptions for 3,749 yards. He finished on the second All-ACC team his sophomore, junior, and senior years at Duke. Head coach David Cutcliffe had this to say about Vernon while he was in college: “Conner is the most fearless wide receiver I’ve ever coached. I’ve never had a player who could make tough catches as consistently as Conner Vernon does. I think he’s an All-American football player.” Cutcliffe also praised Vernon for his toughness, durability, his work ethic, and his attitude approaching football.
Conner was known for his speed, route running, spectacular hands, and ability to catch the deep ball at Duke, but his size is what most likely kept teams from looking at him seriously as a professional prospect. Vernon is only 6 feet tall and 200 pounds, making him smaller than the average NFL wide receiver. He was also able to return kickoffs and punts throughout his career at Duke, so another way the Bengals can use him on their roster is as a return man. Hopefully the Duke alum will find a place on this roster and be able to showcase his talent in the NFL.