2017 NFL Draft: TE Jeremy Sprinkle moves past Belk Bowl shoplifting


This was the most embarrassing moment of Jeremy Sprinkle’s life, and he can’t wait to talk about it. He probably can’t wait to be done discussing it, too, but at this point he wants to get right to it.

Many people might not recognize his name despite a promising four-year career at tight end for Arkansas, but the story of how his senior season ended is instantly familiar. It made the rounds on ESPN and Deadspin, and now Sprinkle is known more for his epic misstep than anything else he’s done.

As part of their week for the Belk Bowl last season, Arkansas and Virginia players were given a $450 shopping spree at the title sponsor’s department store in Charlotte, N.C. Sprinkle’s greed got the best of him, and he took much more than the allotment. In addition to what the store gave him, he was caught shoplifting $260 worth of clothing and accessories.

It’s among the first topic most teams, including the Dolphins, have asked about in pre-draft interviews.

“I just have to tell them the truth about what happened,” Sprinkle said at last month’s Senior Bowl. “It was just a mistake. Completely out of my character. I’ve just gotta stay out of trouble from here forward and show them that’s really not me.

“Throughout the years, teams talked to my coaches about me, so they understand that it’s out of my character to do something like that. It’s been weighing on me and I want to just let the teams know the exact story and get all the facts out there.”

The next step toward Sprinkle rewriting his reputation is impressing teams at the upcoming Combine, as well as in individual workouts and meetings. Most projections have him between eighth and 10th among tight ends, meaning he’ll likely be available in the fourth or fifth round. CBS draft analyst Rob Rang likened him to longtime Jaguars tight end Marcedes Lewis.

Miami badly needs a playmaking tight end and is almost certain to add one in the draft. Unrestricted free agent Dion Sims led the position with 256 yards and four touchdowns on 26 receptions last year.

The Dolphins have other priorities, however, and Sprinkle is on their radar if they opt to address tight end in the later rounds. They currently have one selection in each round except the third and fourth, but are expected to get a third and fifth as compensatory picks. They could go after a tight end earlier if they’re hooked on more prominent prospects like ex-Hurricane David Njoku, Alabama’s O.J. Howard or Bucky Hodges from Virginia Tech.

Team personnel spoke with Sprinkle the week of the Senior Bowl, and he said “they were fine” with his explanation of the Belk Bowl incident.

“Our conversation went pretty good,” he said. “They see me as a good fit in their offense. I’m just continuing to develop. They told me they’re definitely interested.”

What they like is a 6-foot-5, 256-pound frame on a guy with decent speed and a receiver’s mindset. He’s put on roughly 50 pounds of muscle since arriving at Arkansas, and coach Bret Bielema often used him at fullback. He also comes in ready to contribute on special teams after playing there throughout college.

In his final two years with the Razorbacks, Sprinkle totaled 60 catches, 769 yards and 10 touchdowns. He had solid games against Texas Christian, Alabama and Florida last season.

“I was sitting there with several NFL scouts and they’re just chomping at the bit to get a chance to be around him,” Bielema said last season. “We’ve actually had a lot of success at that position and I think he’ll turn out to be one of the best.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Miami Dolphins

Oregon earns massive NCAA Tournament resume builder, upsets Arizona
Oregon earns massive NCAA Tournament resume builder, upsets Arizona

The Oregon Ducks still have life on the NCAA Tournament bubble following their 98-93 overtime upset of No. 14 Arizona. Playing on Senior Night against a program with multiple scandals swirling, Oregon survived a double-double from Deandre Ayton — 28 points and 18 rebounds — en route to the win. Elijah Brown was brilliant with...
Former LSU star among 3 who holed eagles Saturday at Honda Classic
Former LSU star among 3 who holed eagles Saturday at Honda Classic

Three shots were holed from the fairway on par-4 holes for eagles at the Honda Classic Saturday, one of them by a young man who just might be the next big thing in golf: Sam Burns. Burns, 21, made a last-minute switch from an 8- to a 9-iron and holed out on No. 12 from 151 yards. His feat was matched by Tommy Fleetwood, who found the cup from 140 yards...
Thomas one shot behind leader List heading into Honda final round
Thomas one shot behind leader List heading into Honda final round

Even Justin Thomas admits it. While the reigning PGA Tour Player of the Year has won seven times in three years on Tour, the fact that two of them have come in Malaysia and two more in Hawaii has left his resume a bit on the light side. Winning the Honda Classic on Sunday would go a long way to change that. Thomas shot a tournament-best 31 on the back...
Gojowczyk tops another American on way to Delray Beach Open finals
Gojowczyk tops another American on way to Delray Beach Open finals

If unheralded German Peter Gojowczyk had his way, he’d play an American in every round of every tournament for the rest of his career. Gojowczyk added another red-white-and-blue notch to his late-blooming resume with a solid 7-6 (3), 6-3 victory over Steve Johnson Saturday afternoon to reach the final of the Delray Beach Open. Gojowczyk had already...
Tiger thinks he has a shot at Honda but Sunday rally seems unrealistic
Tiger thinks he has a shot at Honda but Sunday rally seems unrealistic

Tiger Woods is still thinking like he once did, imagining a Sunday climb over the 10 names that are above his on the leader board. The only way to win the Honda Classic, however, is to start playing like old times, too. Remember the 2012 Honda? That was four back procedures ago for Tiger. He came to PGA National as the No. 1 player in the world, and...
More Stories