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So You’ve Drafted Penn State Wide Receiver Mitchell Tinsley...

It’s been quite the ride for Tinsley as he prepares for the next phase of his football career.

Syndication: Journal-Courier Alex Martin/Journal and Courier / USA TODAY NETWORK


Tinsley had a long journey to (likely) eventual NFL Draft pick, starting the JUCO route at Hutchinson Community College for two years. He performed well enough to receive multiple scholarship offers from non-P5 programs, eventually selecting Western Kentucky over the likes of Marshall, South Alabama, Ball State and others.

He became a regular part of the Hilltoppers offense from the get-go afterjoining the team in 2020, with 43 receptions for 377 receiving yards and four scores during his first season with the team (Note - WKU was able to play 12 games during the 2020 COVID-shortened season). However, he turned heads in 2021 by becoming one of the most prolific receivers in the nation, with an eye-popping stat line of 87 catches, 1,402 yards and 14 touchdowns on the year. Most notably, he came up big when his team needed him the most. Tinsley went off for 173 receiving yards for two scores on nine catches in the Conference USA Champiosnhip Game against UTSA, then followed that up with seven catches for 103 yards and two touchdowns as the Hilltoppers blew past Appalachian State in the Boca Raton Bowl. He finished the year averaging just over 100 receiving yards per game, and 16.1 yards per catch - quite impressive considering how often they looked to Tinsley in the passing attack.

Tinsley used his last year of eligibility to play for Penn State. While he wasn’t in the same pass-heavy offense as Western Kentucky, he was able to showcase his skills on a larger stage against many NFL-bound defensive backs. He became one of Penn State’s most reliable targets, catching at least three passes in 10 of 13 games. Tinsley also scored Penn State’s first touchdown of the season during a standout performance to help the Nittany Lions eek out a week one win against Purdure. He would find the end zone in three of the first four games of the season, and ended on a high note with six catches and a touchdown in the Rose Bowl as Penn State raced past Utah for one of the biggest wins of the James Franklin era.


Tinsley does not have the top-notch height and speed that would make him a high draft pick, but he does about everything else well when he steps on the field. Tinsley is a slippery passcatcher who knows how to get open and has excellent hands. He could find a long NFL career as a valuable possession receiver who knows how to move the chains and be a dependable target. He has great tracking skills with the ball in the air, and does well in traffic. Tinsley is also a tenacious blocker, helping spring several long touchdown runs by maintaining his blocks through the whistle. Considering he only started playing football during his senior year of high school, he still has room to grow as a player.