Tutu Atwell, WR, Louisville
Pro Day Results:
40-yard dash: 4.39 seconds
3-cone: 6.87 seconds
Short shuttle: 4.09 seconds
Atwell was a dual-threat QB at Northwestern High School in Miami, racking up over 4,000 career passing yards and over 1,500 rushing. He was recruited as an “athlete” and tabbed as a 3-star prospect by most scouting services.
Atwell made the move to WR as a freshman at Louisville. He appeared in all 12 of the Cardinals’ games that year, ranking 5th on the team in catches, 3rd in receiving yards and 2nd in TDs. His 132 yards against Wake Forest set a single-game school freshman record. Atwell accounted for 11.4% of the receptions, 16.0% of the yards and 20.0% of the TDs on what was a bad passing game.
2019 brought a more productive Louisville passing game and a breakout season for Atwell under new HC Scott Satterfield. Atwell led the ACC in receiving yards and TDs, ranking inside the top 12 nationally. And the market shares were big: 38.9% of the catches, 41.8% of the yards and 34.4% of the TDs. Those marks stack up against any sophomore season in this year’s WR class.
Atwell took a step back this past year, though. He missed the Virginia game with an undisclosed injury and opted out of Louisville’s finale vs. Wake Forest. His per-game averages in his 9 outings were down from 2019, from 5.3 catches to 5.1, from 97.8 yards to 69.4 and from .85 TDs to .78 TDs.
Atwell still led the team in catches and receiving scores, but fellow 2021 WR prospect Dez Fitzpatrick led with 833 yards. Atwell’s market shares in his 9 games: 26.7% of the catches, 26.9% of the yards and 38.9% of the TDs.
Courtesy of FF Astronauts
Games watched - Miami, Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech
Atwell’s tape is pretty much exactly what you’d expect to see from a 155-pound WR.
He’s a blur with the ball in his hands, going from 0 to 60 in a blink.
Atwell is a tough cover in the slot vs. linebackers and safeties. He wins with quickness, acceleration and speed.
I was a little disappointed in Atwell’s route running, though. For such a small guy, he doesn’t display great agility in and out of his breaks.
And, as you expect, his small catch radius is a problem. I didn’t see him win a single contested opportunity in the 3 games I watched.
This deep ball is underthrown, but it’s still a catch that you’ll see bigger WRs come down with.
Atwell also struggles against physical coverage and had hardly any reps vs. press. Louisville clearly worked to keep him away from press, putting him in motion, using him in the slot and lining him up in stacked formations.
There are quite a few WRs in this year’s class with size questions. Atwell comes with the biggest -- or is it smallest? -- question mark.
Here are all the WRs of 160 pounds or lighter who have caught a pass since 2000:
Natson has a total of 2 career catches; Banks 11. Nelson’s best season brought 34 grabs.
Even if we expand our search to guys up to 165 pounds, we only add these names:
McCluster and Jett are the most optimistic comps for Atwell from a size perspective. McCluster checked in at 5’9, 165 pounds and was a RB/WR hybrid across 7 NFL seasons. He only once topped 522 total yards in a year and never topped 2 TDs. The 5’10, 165-pound Jett had 3 seasons of 40+ catches and 2 seasons of 800+ yards. He popped for 12 TDs back in 1997 to rank as a top 20 fantasy WR. But he had just 2 other top-36 fantasy finishes.
We’ve seen Atwell mentioned as a potential 1st-round pick -- which would be crazy but also add some intrigue to his profile. But his size is a serious concern and makes him unlikely to be much of a fantasy asset.