But even though his team lost 70-10, Coastal Carolina wide receiver
None of it was a big surprise to South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier, who had said before the game, “Matt Hazel could play for anyone in the SEC.”
Now, Hazel will get the chance to prove he can play in the NFL.
The Dolphins made him their sixth-round draft pick on Saturday, taking him with the 190th overall selection.
“I thought I was going to go a little higher, but just being selected by the Dolphins is just an unbelievable blessing,” Hazel said via conference call. “All the hard work is paying off, now the real work begins.”
Hazel, 6-1, 198, joins the Dolphins after setting a Coastal Carolina career record with 183 receptions.
He tied the single-season record with 61 catches as a junior in 2012 before breaking the mark with 70 catches, good for 990 yards and nine touchdowns, last season.
Hazel earned first-team All-Big South Conference honors each of the past two seasons, but it’s at the East-West Shrine Game where he solidified his draft status.
“I just went there with a chip on my shoulder,” Hazel said. “I felt like I had something to prove. I just took that mind-set that this is a business trip. I needed to do what I needed to do to get paid. The week of the East-West, I felt real good about it. I got a lot of great feedback.”
Hazel was the third Coastal Carolina player invited to the East-West Shrine Game, following defensive back Josh Norman and wide receiver Jerome Simpson, whose school receiving records he broke.
Hazel scored a touchdown in the East-West Shrine Game and was called the best receiver during practices by NFLDraftScout.com.
“It went well,” Hazel said. “I feel like a lot of teams told me I was the best receiver there. It was an opportunity to showcase the skills I was trying to showcase the world every Saturday, and especially the NFL scouts. Just show them I can play with anybody.”
Hazel, who started 39 games over the past four seasons starting with three as a true freshman in 2010, was the second wide receiver selected by the Dolphins in this draft.
With Hazel and
Hazel is the first Coastal Carolina player ever drafted by the Dolphins, although CCU quarterback Tyler Thigpen played for Miami in 2009-10 after being acquired in a trade.