Allen Hurns, an undrafted rookie, looking to build on successful NFL debut

JACKSONVILLE, Florida — Jacksonville Jaguars receiver Allen Hurns doesn't want to be a one-week wonder.

Hurns caught four passes for 110 yards and two touchdowns — both in the first quarter — in Sunday's season-opening loss at Philadelphia.

A 6-foot-3 rookie from Miami, Hurns became the first player in NFL history catch two TD passes in the first quarter of his NFL debut.

Hurns and the Jaguars (0-1) insist it wasn't a fluke.

"This league is a show-me league," Hurns said Wednesday as the team prepared to play at Washington (0-1). "You can't do it just one week. You've got to do it every week. You don't want to just do it Week 1 and then you go missing after that."

Hurns has stood out since signing with Jacksonville as an undrafted free agent in May.

Having played under Jaguars offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch at Miami, Hurns knew the playbook cover to cover before he even took a snap in Jacksonville.
"That eliminated all the thinking," Hurns said. "I knew all the routes. I knew all the terminology. I wasn't like, 'Oh, what do I have on this play?'"

Hurns set a single-season school record in 2013 with 1,162 yards receiving, breaking the mark held by Leonard Hankerson. It was a breakout year for sure, but not enough to get him drafted.

He expected to be selected during the second or third day of the draft. Instead, he watched as 33 receivers were chosen during the three-day, seven-round event.

Hurns was disheartened to say the least.

"It was very frustrating," he said.

College and NFL teammate Stephen Morris offered a little more insight, saying the two even recalled their angst over breakfast Wednesday morning.
"He still wakes up and tells himself he'll never know what it felt like to be drafted," Morris said.

As it turned out, it may have been best for Hurns to be a free agent.

Jacksonville Jaguars' Allen Hurns (88) scores a touchdown as Philadelphia Eagles' Nate Allen (29) hangs on during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Instead of ending up on a team as a late-round pick and having to learn a new offense and find a niche, he chose to sign with Jacksonville and reunite with Fisch.

It didn't bother him that Jacksonville had two returning starters in Cecil Shorts III and Ace Sanders. And it didn't bother him that Jacksonville had just used second-round picks on fellow receivers Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson.

All Hurns e wanted was a decent chance at making the team.

"Once I got here, I realized I was blessed for this opportunity and I'm trying to take advantage of that," he said.

Hurns started making plays in organized team activities, and after numerous receivers were sidelined with injuries, he really started getting noticed while running with the first-team offense.

He made even more progress during training camp while filling in for injured receivers Shorts and Robinson.

"Constant improvement," Fisch said. "We were excited about him during the draft process and now he's continuing to improve and really hasn't disappointed us at all."

Certainly not in the opener.

With Shorts out because of a hamstring injury, Hurns started and caught a 34-yard touchdown on Jacksonville's second possession and added a 21-yard on the next drive. He made an acrobatic catch on the second one, spinning and grabbing a slant thrown well behind him, before breaking through two tacklers near the goal line and diving into the end zone.

"He understands defenses and how to attack them," quarterback Chad Henne said.

Hurns is a perfectionist, too, which is why two dropped passes in the second half overshadowed all his early success — at least in his mind.

"Those were plays I should have made," he said. "At the end of the day, I dropped two passes. If I would have made those two plays, I would have had a hell of a game."

Still, it was a heck of an opener.

Now, though, Hurns wants it to lead to bigger things and not just be his career highlight.

"He might not have another two-touchdown, first-quarter game, but he's going to be productive," Morris said. "He's not going to be one of those guys who's here for one week and then doesn't show up again. It's going to be every week, week-in, week-out."

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