The next installment of my “Welcome Aboard” series is going to be on undrafted free agent rookie wide receiver Thomas Sperbeck. He is one of the eleven receivers currently on the Buccaneers roster going into camp, so he’s got a ways to go and an uphill climb all the way but he’s off to a good start so far.
Sperbeck grew up near Sacramento, California where he attended Jesuit High School. There he led the football team in passing (1,049 yards/13 TD’s), rushing (932 yards/9 TD’s), tackles (69) and scoring while being named first team all-conference on offense as well as all-purpose player of the year.
He began his career at Boise State as a redshirt freshman, but only for the first 3 games. He proceeded to play in 8 of the final 9 games, missing one due to an ankle injury and catching only 5 passes for 40 yards all season. His sophomore campaign was much better playing in all 14 games while starting in 8 the last of them and producing 51 catches for 877 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also set career highs in catches (12) and receiving yards (199) in a game while being named the MVP of the Fiesta Bowl against No.10 Arizona.
He started all 13 games of his junior season setting a new Boise State single season record with 1,412 receiving yards, tying the school record with 88 receptions and adding 8 touchdowns while being named to the All-Mountain West first team and as a Biletnikoff Award candidate as one of the nation’s top receivers. He ended his four-year career at Boise State as the school’s leader in receiving yards (3,601) and 100-yard games (15) as well as 4th in receptions (224). He was again named to the All-Mountain West first team and a Biletnikoff Award candidate after finishing with 80 catches for 1,272 yards and 9 touchdowns.
At 5’11″/190lbs, Sperbeck wasn’t invited to the 2017 NFL Combine but he did put on an impressive showing at Boise State’s pro day putting up a 4.47 forty yard, a 32″ vertical jump, a 9’4″ broad jump, a 4.05 twenty yard shuttle, a 6.71 three-cone drill, 10 reps on the 225lb bench press and catching every pass thrown in his direction. Though he went undrafted, he was immediately signed by the Bucs as a free agent following the draft and he hasn’t disappointed.
He’s actually impressed the Bucs coaching staff. The question is has he impressed enough? The wide receiver competition in camp is going to be brutal. The Bucs have 11 receivers on the 90-man roster right now that will be fighting for what will likely be 6 positions on the 53-man roster. The first four WR spots will most certainly be filled by Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, Adam Humphries and Chris Godwin. It’s one of those last two spots that Sperbeck will be fighting for and he’ll need to really shine on special teams as a returner to do so. In my opinion, this is one of the better position battles to watch in camp and it’ll be fun to see who comes out the winners in the end. But until then, as always…GO BUCS!!!