Detroit Lions wideout Quintez Cephus has had quite the journey to the NFL, and he is sharing a portion of it with fans.
Cephus, who lost his late father to gun violence, was recently given the chance to sit down and write him a letter thanks to the NFL. Normally, such an event would be a deeply private moment, but Cephus let folks inside to tell part of his story about growing up, being a star athlete at a prep school, succeeding on the field at Wisconsin, overcoming the fight of his life in court and then losing his father, who had been incarcerated but was released from prison.
Here’s a look:
.@Lions rookie WR Quintez Cephus lost his father to gun violence. Then, he almost lost his freedom.
Quintez traces the most dramatic and unforgettable moments of his inspiring story – through letters exchanged with friends, fans, and family members. @QoDeep_87
📺: NFL 360 pic.twitter.com/BLhgoON27i
— NFL (@NFL) September 30, 2020
Without spoiling much of the video or letter, Cephus explains the highs and lows of what he has gone through, and the most touching part involves his feelings about being drafted by Detroit and his reaction to think of his dad in the moment.
“The first time I cried after being drafted was when I told you that dad I made it, your boy was drafted to the Detroit Lions. I have a long journey ahead but I am going to continue to be a leader, work hard, respect others and take good care of my little sisters and my mom like you always told me to do.”
After a solid training camp, Cephus has taken that next step toward the league and is confidently navigating his rookie season. As this video shows, he’s also mature beyond his years as well and a player the team and fans can be proud to have on their side.
Quintez Cepuhs Compared to Hall of Fame Wideout
While Cephus might have been a mere 5th round pick in the minds of some, some strong value was seen in the selection by NFL.com reporter Gil Brandt. As Brandt said, he believes Cephus was a good selection for the Lions, and he thinks he shares physical similarities with Michael Irvin, former Dallas Cowboys wideout. Irvin went in the 1st round and Cephus went later, but there are similarities to the eye of someone formally in personnel.
I love the Lions' pick of Wisconsin WR Quintez Cephus. I said before he reminded me of a young Michael Irvin in terms of size/speed. Top Big Ten CBs said he was toughest to defend. Would have been drafted much higher if he had run better at combine (4.73)
— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) April 25, 2020
This is lofty praise for Cephus, but interestingly enough, his newest teammate Jeff Okudah claimed Cephus was the best player he competed against in college and someone who made him evolve his own game at cornerback. Obviously, the players will get to compete against each other all the time now.
Jeff Okudah called Quintez Cephus the toughest receiver he covered in college. Now they're teammates.
— Justin Rogers (@Justin_Rogers) April 25, 2020
Jeff Okudah: "Quintez Cephus from Wisconsin, I think he's the best receiver I went against. It doesn't matter what his 40 time was. Football is played in between the lines and he's a technician, someone that I changed my plan up for every single week."
— Chris Burke (@ChrisBurkeNFL) April 25, 2020
It will be interesting to see how good Cephus and Okudah can make each other moving forward, and if Cephus can take his place amongst the best in the league like Brandt thinks.
Quintez Cephus Stats
In college, Cephus put up a solid 1,496 yards and 9 touchdowns in a run-heavy Badgers offense. He’s a player that has some potential which is obvious given the numbers he put up and his work ethic and body type. So far in the NFL, Cephus has put up 43 yards on 3 career receptions.
Cephus didn’t have a fast run at the NFL Combine running in the 4.7’s, but improved things during his early pro day with Wisconsin. More than the speed, it’s the ability of Cephus to run good routes and make solid catches which impresses. As a result of that, he could be a solid pro who sticks in the league.
Cephus will only get better with time, and as he does, there is little doubt his father will be looking down proudly.
READ NEXT: Matt Prater Takes Home Key NFC Award