Adam Thielen has been widely regarded as one of the better wide receivers in the entire NFL over the past few years. He’s made multiple Pro Bowls, led the league in touchdowns multiple times, and he embodies the sentiment that hard work can help anyone achieve their dreams.
However, it wasn’t always bright lights for Thielen. Vikings fans are well aware of his humble beginnings as a Division II Minnesota State WR before becoming a free agent signing in 2013. receiver
Now, 10 years later, another Minnesota State-Mankato WR is trying to follow a similar path. That player is Jalen Semple, who signed with the Washington Commanders as an undrafted free agent. Ben Standig reported the signing The Athletic.
Semple joined the Mavericks in 2017 and after redshirting the 2017 season, he played in 14 games in 2018, recording 16 receptions for 286 yards and a touchdown. His best season came in 2021, where he had 64 receptions, 1,047 yards and 8 touchdowns. It looked like 2022 would surpass that production, but he played just four games before a foot injury ended his season.
All the 6’6 receiver played was 42 games over four seasons (redshirted in 2018, no D-II season in 2020 due to COVID) and recorded 114 receptions, 1,898 yards and 14 TDs.
Semple now joins the Washington Command staff in hopes of earning a roster spot this fall. He will face a room that includes starters Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson and Curtis Samuel, as well as Dyami Brown, Alex Erickson, Dax Milne, Marcus Kemp and Marcus Kyrick McGowan.
Ahead of the 2022 season, the former Mavericks gave an interview NFL Draft Diamonds. Check out what he had to say when asked to describe the role he plays in crime:
I’m primarily used as an “X” receiver to the boundary where I draw single coverage in the backfield and beat one-on-one routes. We are known for being a very physical team across the board and have a run-first offense. While we beat them in the run game, that helps open things up in the passing game, allowing me to run very effective fade routes. I’m a very unselfish player and I know my role on the team, but I have the tools to translate to other offenses. I can use my height and speed to my advantage. I’m used to lining up out wide and I’ve played in certain situations across the pitch. I expect to be moving a lot this season.
If Semple can play in an NFL game this season, he will be the 11th player in Minnesota State program history to do so and the fourth since Thielen joined the Vikings.
In fact, joining the Commanders marks three consecutive years that the former Mavericks has joined an NFL team. TE Shane Zylstra joined the Detroit Lions in 2021, where he played 17 games, and DE Brayden Thomas played for the Los Angeles Rams in 2022.
Josh Frey is a 2020 graduate of the College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com.. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, playing or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account. @Freyed_Chicken.