INDIANAPOLIS –This was not how Ryan Broyles expected his All-American career to come to an end.
The Oklahoma wide receiver missed the final four games of his senior season after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament against Texas A&M in November.
Broyles, the NCAA career leader in receptions (349), has endured the bitter setback of an injury that shortened his final season. He has worked through the adversity in getting ready for one of the biggest weekends of his life – the NFL Draft, where he will find out where his career path will lead.
"No one ever wants to get injured but it's just about how you bounce back," Broyles said. "I feel like you build character going through bad times, and my injury was certainly that. I'm just preparing for the future, not really hanging my head at all."
After being named a Biletnikoff Award finalist following his junior season, Broyles chose to return to the Sooners for his senior season.
The Norman native repeated as a Biletnikoff Award finalist when he had 1,157 yards receiving despite playing in just nine games.
The Big 12 head coaches voted Broyles to the first-team for his final year production that included 83 receptions and 10 touchdowns. His numbers allowed him to rank second in NCAA history with 4,586 reception yards. Broyles had 45 touchdown receptions.
He exits his college days by owning 10 school records – receptions in a game (15), seasonal receptions (131, 2010), career receptions, reception yards in a game (217, against Kansas, 2011), seasonal receptions yards (1,622, 2010), career reception yards, seasonal touchdown receptions (15, 2009), career touchdown receptions, 100 games in a season (10) and career 100 game (45).
Broyles is the conference career leader in receptions, reception yards and touchdown receptions. He had a reception in 48 consecutive games, along with 22 plays exceeding 40 yards. In 2011, Broyles had touchdowns in seven of nine games, including four outings with multiple scores, and he had four games with at least 13 receptions.
Due to injury, Broyles has seen his name slip on some draft projections, but he is not too focused on where he will be playing football next fall.
"I'm just very blessed to be in the position to make it to the next step and be a professional athlete in the NFL," Broyles said. "I don't worry too much about where I'm going to be placed. I just want a spot. I want a chance to shine so I'm just looking forward to that opportunity."
During his four years with the Sooners, Broyles went over 1,000 yards in punt return yards. That is an asset he feels he can bring to which team chooses him in late April.
His ability to contribute on specials teams gives him a leg up on some other receivers and even though he was not able to participate in all the drills at the NFL Combine, that has not stopped his attitude for wanting to contribute however he can.
"I got great people in my life and that's probably why I'm so positive," Broyles said. "It's not just me. I try to surround myself around people that are on the up and up."
That demeanor is what Broyles is hoping to show to NFL teams. His injury might have put him back from a physical standpoint but wherever he lands in April, that team will get a player who has had this goal since his elementary days.
"I just feel like once I get the shot to play in the NFL I'm going to make the best of it," said Broyles. "It doesn't matter what position I go in, everyone dreams to be a draft pick. At eight years old I started playing football and I wanted to be a first-round draft pick and play in the NFL. I know the opportunity is in front of me."
LOOKING AT THE 2012 NFL DRAFT'S WIDE RECEIVERS
THE LAST FIVE
The last five wide receivers drafted by the Colts:
2009: Austin Collie, fourth round, Brigham Young
2008: Pierre Garcon, sixth round, Mount Union
2007: Anthony Gonzalez, first round, Ohio State
2007: Roy Hall, fifth round, Ohio State
2001: Reggie Wayne, first round, Miami
THIS YEAR'S DRAFT
An alphabetical list of wide receivers expected to be selected in the 2012 NFL Draft (*-denotes underclassman):
Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State*
Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma
Michael Floyd, Notre Dame
Jeff Fuller, Texas A&M
Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina*
Dwight Jones, North Carolina
Reuben Randle, LSU*
Nick Toon, Wisconsin
Kendall Wright, Baylor
Note: The content in this story and in the series of draft-eligible players that appears on Colts.com in no way reflects the position of the Indianapolis Colts.