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Ole Miss Steelers knew about 'freak' DK Metcalf years ago

Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

PITTSBURGH -- The run up to the 2019 NFL draft raised DK Metcalf's profile because of viral pictures of his chiseled physique and a double-take performance at the combine. His four catches for 89 yards in his Seattle Seahawks debut only intensified his promise on the field.

But all that is old news to Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Donte Moncrief, who got the drop on Metcalf around 2013. Moncrief was a junior at Ole Miss when he and teammates attended a game at nearby Oxford High School, where Metcalf was an emerging prep talent. Then, Moncrief attended a high school basketball game and asked himself, "Who is that?" after Metcalf kept dunking on people.

Two Ole Miss alumni with the Steelers, Moncrief and corner Mike Hilton, will host Metcalf on Sunday at 1 p.m.

"He’s been a freak since high school," Moncrief said. "He’s been a good player, good receiver. He just blew up out of nowhere. I didn’t know he was that big. Now he’s like a tight end. He’s a freak, a great player and a good guy."

Metcalf tore up the combine with a 4.33-second 40 time and a 40.5-inch vertical, which is impressive for a 5-foot-10 speedster. Metcalf is 6-foot-3 and 228 pounds. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll told reporters that Metcalf "may be even more unique than we thought."

But Metcalf was perceived as raw as a receiver, so he fell to the late-second round of the draft, No. 64 overall, 13 spots behind fellow Ole Miss receiver A.J. Brown.

Hilton has seen Metcalf's work ethic up close, which is why he's bullish on him becoming a refined NFL receiver.

"He transformed into a freakish athlete, but I've worked out with him before, so I know what type of guy he is," Hilton said. "Everybody knows what kind of vertical threat he is, but he’s working on his route-running game, which is what you need to last in this league. I know he’s working hard on it."

Moncrief has noticed Metcalf is "way better than he used to be" as a receiver. Although Hilton doesn't expect to line up against Metcalf, who primarily plays on the outside, he's excited about what Metcalf can do -- just not on this Sunday.

"I know we’re all proud," Hilton said.