NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tajae Sharpe led the nation in catches last season. It's something he's proud of, yet he knows it gets him nothing in the National Football League.
Now, he has to hit the reset button.
With the Titans, he'll get a chance to show he's more than capable of producing at the next level as well.
The Titans select Massachusetts WR Tajae Sharpe in the fifth round (140th overall) of the 2016 NFL Draft. (AP Photos)
"Coming from a smaller school … you know it's not the SEC or ACC or things like that so people kind of overlook guys coming from smaller schools,'' Sharpe said. "Just being able to say I caught the most passes in the country and more passes than anybody around the country it means a lot to me. It says a lot about how hard I work and how much time me and my quarterback put on the practice field and carrying over to game day."
The Titans selected the Massachusetts receiver with the 140th pick in the fifth round of Saturday's NFL Draft.
Sharpe (6-2, 194) hauled in a 111 catches as a senior in 2015. He had 1,319 receiving yards and five touchdowns last season. In four seasons, he caught 277 passes for 3,386 yards and 16 touchdowns.
With the Titans, he's already looking forward to catching passes and developing chemistry with his new quarterback, Marcus Mariota.
"I am just blessed to be a part of the Tennessee Titans, and I can't wait to get to Nashville to get to work,'' Sharpe said. "Catching passes from a former Heisman Trophy winner, I just want to get there and get to work with a great up-and-coming quarterback. He is a young guy as well so I want to get our chemistry going as soon as we can and help the Titans get some more wins."
Sharpe originally committed to Kent State out of high school, but ended up choosing UMass over Temple and Penn State, and other schools.
He was a first team All-MAC player who earned an invitation to the East-West Shrine Game. Sharpe was an injury replacement at the Senior Bowl but he suffered a quad injury late during the practice week and did not play in the game. He ran a 4.55 in the 40 at the NFL Combine.
But he made a good impression in his time in Mobile.
"Tajae Sharpe … is big, smooth and athletic,'' NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah said of Sharpe before he suffered his injury. "He's a very precise route runner. He was the toughest matchup for opposing cornerbacks."
Sharpe said he had a workout with the Titans in the pre-draft process. He said he's not surprised he ended up with the Titans because of how it went.
He's looking forward to his next challenge.
"I am definitely looking forward to it, but it's not going to be a problem for me at all,'' he said. "I look forward to facing the best competition there is. That's something I had to hear throughout my whole college career is playing at a small school in the MAC and not playing the top competition every single week. But at UMass we had some very big games there and during those big games I showed up in every single one.
"So I am very confident in my abilities and I am just going to continue to work as hard as I can every single day and just prove myself to everybody."