Baskett’s NFL stock rising

Hank Baskett has gone from a quarterback at Clovis High School to a potential NFL draft pick as a wide receiver.

By Jesse Wolfersberger: CNJ staff writer

Clovis’ Hank Baskett III has put himself on the NFL draft radar with his breakout senior season at New Mexico.

Baskett, a 6-foot-4, 220-pound senior, finished the regular season with 67 catches for 1,071 yards and nine touchdowns.

Mentioned as a possible draft selection at the start of the season, Baskett has sky-rocketed to 21st on ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper’s “big board,” a ranking of the top senior prospects in the country. He is the second wide receiver on the list behind Arizona State’s Dereck Hagan (12th overall).

Kiper’s one-line blurb about Baskett III reads “Good size and presents mismatches for defense.”

UNM offensive coordinator Dan Dodd’s scouting report is similar.

“There are two schools of thought about NFL receivers,” he said. “There are turn-and-burn guys — Hank is certainly not that. And there are big, steady guys — Hank certainly is that. He’s got great, tremendous hands and deceptive speed. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him get caught from behind. Another thing that scouts really like is that he’ll block.”

Baskett was named Tuesday as one of 15 semifinalists for the Biletnikoff Award, given annually to the country’s most outstanding wide receiver, just another accolade for one of the most productive receivers in UNM history.

Dodd said Baskett, a 2001 Clovis grad, has improved immensely since he first arrived in Albuquerque.

“It’s incredible how far he’s come from a high school quarterback to a draftable NFL receiver,” Dodd said. “He’s gotten looks from a lot of scouts. We’ve had a scout from every NFL team take a look at him at some point this year.”

Baskett said the next step toward a pro career will be looking for agents, who have already began calling.

“It’s crazy,” said Baskett, who was limited to two catches for eight yards in Saturday’s 42-24 loss to Air Force. “Calling you all the time, calling you at 5:30 in the morning. I explain it like college recruiting times 100.”

For his career, he ranks third all-time at UNM in receiving yards, fourth in catches, and second in receiving touchdowns.

Hank Baskett Jr. said his son has yet to reach his full potential.

“I’m his biggest critic,” he said. “I want him to play up to his potential and beyond. He’s got so much untapped potential. He’s got a lot more left in the tank.

“I tell him every time I talk to him. Keep your eye on the prize. I’m just glad he’s gotten a chance to live his dream.”

The Baskett family will be paying close attention to the NFL draft on April 26.

“I’m gonna have to buy me a bottle of Maalox,” the elder Baskett said.

For now, the humble receiver will not allow himself to look too far into the future.

“It’s still a long ways away,” he said. “Right now I’m concentrating on graduation and seeing how the season ends. A lot of people are talking about when I’m going to get drafted and by who, but I’m taking nothing for granted.”

Just make sure there is some Maalox handy.