While the mainstream NFL media has chosen to ignore the St. Louis Rams training camp, there has been no shortage of enthusiasm from the fans in St. Louis. Yesterday, camp drew a “record” crowd, with an estimated 2,300 supports coming to rally behind their squad at Rams Park. For the most part, those players who were expected to dominate have been impressive, especially on the offensive side of the football. Austin Pettis and Chris Givens have been two names mentioned regularly in the endzone, although Stedman Bailey and Brian Quick have made their fair share of “impressive” long-ball catches. However, there is one player in particular that appears to have grabbed the attention of the St. Louis Rams community, and it might not be who you expect…
Lindenwood University is a relatively small school in St. Charles, Missouri, comprised of fewer than 10,000 undergraduate students. Their football program is relatively new, with their team history dating back only two decades. The Lindenwood Lions play in the Mid-American Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA), what most consider a step below NCAA Division-II. They are currently in the process of transitioning back into the NCAA and have typically played a mixture of non-NCAA and NCAA Division I and Division II opponents. It’s from this small school that the St. Louis Rams appear to have found a gem…
Andrew Helmick, currently No. 84 on the St. Louis Rams roster, was an all-star in his own right at Lindenwood. As a junior, Helmick set a school record with 81.9 yards per game and raked in 12 touchdown catches, 11 of those on catches of 20+ yards. As a senior, he was a monster, breaking records all over the field. In a 45-30 victory over Missouri Southern, the Lions’ Senior Day, Helmick pulled in three 60+ yard touchdown receptions, on way to posting a second consecutive 200+ yard game… oh yea, and a 76 yard punt return touchdown to top it all off.
In an exclusive interview with NFL Draft Zone, Helmick spoke candidly about what he thinks he could bring to an NFL roster. Here are some of those comments:
"“I feel like I can offer numerous things to an NFL offense. I truly believe I can be that slot man and be the reliable go to guy. But more importantly, I also feel as though I could return kicks & punts. Even if its lining me up on kickoff or punt team and covering a kick, I put forth the talent and effort to help the team in ANY area. I realize the importance of special teams and am willing to do anything.” – Helmick on what he can bring to an NFL team"
"“I would compare myself to a Danny Amendola or a Victor Cruz. They both run great routes and can catch the ball on any down. Their teams rely heavily on them in clutch situations, and I love that about them.” – on who he compares his game to in the NFL"
"“I can’t answer that question, because my first NFL paycheck is going in the bank and not purchasing anything. I’ve never had more than probably $300 in my account at once, so I’m putting the check in, printing the receipt, and enjoying the moment.” – Helmick on his “first purchase” with an NFL paycheck"
A smart, big-effort player who models himself after work-horse receivers like Danny Amendola and Wes Welker… doesn’t sound too bad, right?
Helmick is quickly turning into a fan favorite at Rams Camp, with a relatively large following from Lindenwood University leading the charge. However, it is not just his fellow classmates, teammates, and friends that are taking notice…
There are already five players essentially cemented into the roster at wide receiver (i.e. Austin Pettis, Tavon Austin, Brian Quick, Stedman Bailey, and Chris Givens). In 2011, the St. Louis Rams had seven receivers on their opening day, 53-man roster; last year, they had six. That could be good news for Helmick, who appears to be battling with Nick Johnson, an undrafted free agency who spent most of last season on the St. Louis Rams’ eight-man practice squad, for potentially the last opening at receiver. Helmick may even have the upper hand, with extensive experience on kick return, and is already getting looks on special teams as the “gunner,” where his 4.3 speed can come in handy. While we may only be a couple of days into the Training Camp, it appears are though Andrew Helmick has, if nothing else, gaining the support of Rams Nation. Hopefully, with continuing hard work and effort, we will be cheering for No. 84 on Sundays this season.