Jared Abbrederis is a classic Packers player.
And it has nothing to do with the fact that he was born and raised in Wisconsin or even played college ball for the Badgers.
It’s because he has beaten the odds and succeeded when nobody thought he could or would.
“Abby” is the “Little Engine That Could.” He keeps telling himself: “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can,” that before long, he has not only done it, but has exceeded expectations in the process.
I remember watching him in high school. He was nothing but a blur of orange and black as he led the co-op team of Wautoma and Faith Christian to its first football state title ever. And Abbrederis did just about all he could that day. The quarterback running an option offense ran for 53 yards and a touchdown, was 6-for-11 passing for 73 yards and a touchdown, he returned a couple of punts and he even found enough time to pick off a couple passes.
Abbrederis quickly became a fan favorite at the University of Wisconsin by outworking everyone on the field while maintaining the quiet, humble side, which is a dead giveaway for hard-working Wautoma.
The fact that he elevated himself not only as one of the best receivers in the Big Ten but in the nation is even more impressive, seeing as who was throwing him the ball. His freshman and sophomore seasons he saw the best quarterback play of his career with Scott Tolzien and Russell Wilson throwing him the ball.
But then Maryland transfer Danny O’Brien, Joel Stave and Curt Phillips took over. All three were vastly inefficient. O’Brien had trouble understanding the offense, Stave had trouble consistently completing passes to wide open receivers and Phillips was trying to come back from three knee surgeries.
However, Abbrederis played through all that. And the former walk-on who originally had planned on going to Wisconsin to run track finished up his Badger career by being named first team All-Big Ten for 2012 and 2013.
Abbrederis may not look physically imposing, judging from his pipe cleaner frame, but he has deceiving speed and is an accomplished route runner.
At every stop, he has had to prove himself and now that he is once again playing for the home team, he will have to do it again after the Packers tabbed him in the fifth round. However, this time, he will be catching passes from a future Hall of Famer, which will make his job a little bit easier.
Underestimate Abbrederis if you must, but he’s used to it. For the last two years, everyone on defense knew that Abbrederis was easily the best receiver the Badgers had and the majority couldn’t come close to stopping him.
All that matters is if you can play and Abbrederis has proven that he can. But if you listen close, you can hear him saying this to himself: “I think I can.”
Cory Jennerjohn is from Wisconsin and has been in sports media for over 10 years. To contact Cory e-mail him at jeobs -at- yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter: Cory Jennerjohn