NAME: Hakeem Butler
SCHOOL: Iowa State
CONFERENCE: Big 12
POSITION: Wide Receiver
CLASS: RS Junior
RECRUITMENT RATING: 2-star
WT: 227 lbs
Speed: Tested faster than he looks on tape. That said still looked like he had plenty of speed. Isn’t a burner per say, but shown the ability to get behind a defense and create vertical separation.
Route Running: Isn’t the quickest guy in the world and is a little tight in his lower half. However, maximizes his route running ability with good step frequency. For example, does an awesome job of getting in and out of his breaks with little to no wasted movement. Possesses a very good understanding of how to target space to manipulate defenders away from their leverage responsibilities. Added nuances to his route breaks like head fakes and how he sinks his hips are impressive as well. Route tree is complete and can also work out of the slot because of this.
Hands: Most suspect part of his game. Flashes the ability to make difficult catches away from his body but has way too many drops on routine catches. Combination of mental lapses with concentration and bad hand placement cause Butler issues. Needs to more consistent with maintaining “diamond” hand placement and not clap his hands when attempting to catch passes that are closer to his body.
Releases: Wins with physicality and methodical step utilization more than pure quickness. Ability to combat press coverage with his hands is second to none. When hands are active, does a great job of evading defenders jams with chops and swims. Sometimes will try to win with finesses and leave his chest susceptible to jams.
Body Control: Natural ability to adjust his body to the football is special. Excellent at getting his body in the optimal position to make catches by the side line or shield defenders away from the ball.
Contested Catch: Extremely dynamic part of his game. Consistently attacks the football at it’s highest point. I mentioned before that drops can be an issue, yet Butler looks a lot more comfortable catching the ball outside of his frame. Comes down with passes at a much higher rate when plucking the ball out of the air as well. Also, does a good job of maintaining possession through contact.
YAC Ability: Contact balance is exceptional. Takes a valiant effort from defenders to get him down. That said, would rather run through tacklers than make them miss. Change of direction ability seems to be a bit limited because of tightness in his hips. Yet, has flashed the use of subtle cuts to elude defenders. I pray for opposing defenses if they let Butler get a full head of steam with the ball in his hands. That is when he is most lethal.
Blocking: Ruthless as a blocker. Displayed a ton of reps where he blocks his opponents into the dirt. Uses his frame and power to generate movement in the run game. Can get a little too overzealous at times and whiff on his targeted defender in space. Would like to see some more consistency when space blocking.
Best Trait: Contested Catch
Worst Trait: Hand Consistency
Best Film: Oklahoma (2018)
Worst Film: Iowa (2018)
Hakeem Bulter projects favorably as an X receiver at the pro level. In this role he can utilize his straight line speed, superb contested catch ability, and route running skills to be a big bodied target on the perimeter. Also, his complete route tree gives teams the luxury to use him at all levels of the field. Now Butler isn’t a perfect prospect. He needs to cut down on the concentration drops and consistently use optimal hand positioning. If he can iron out this flaw of his game, he could be a solid number 1 receiver with pro bowl upside.