INDIANAPOLIS — There will be three ex-Fresno State players catching passes at the NFL combine, but none of them from their college quarterback.
Derek Carr decided early on not to throw here, preparing to show off his arm instead at the school's March 20 pro day.
But the bulk of his old receiving corps -- Isaiah Burse, Davante Adams and Marcel Jensen -- will compete fully this weekend.
"I'll be rooting for those guys," said Carr, who added that his focus since a season-ending loss to USC at the Las Vegas Bowl has been on the other combine drills he'll take part in this week.
There was no absence of camaraderie and teamwork when Carr, Burse and Adams spoke with the media Friday at Lucas Oil Stadium, site of the combine. Jensen's tight end group met with reporters Thursday and he, too, flashed his Bulldogs pride.
Each of the pass catchers, as expected, praised Carr, who continues to believe he is one of the best at his position in the 2014 draft class -- even if he isn't always included on experts' lists.
"From the evaluations I've got and from the meetings I've had, I don't care what those rankings are," Carr said. "I know what I've heard and what they've said to me. They're not going to sugarcoat anything for me. I love what people say outside of those circles. It's fun for me to hear because I know what the teams are saying and what they're telling me. It's been really good so far."
His teammates need no convincing.
"He's the best quarterback in the country," Adams said. "Our coaching staff trusted him a lot to do his thing. He called a lot of the plays, considering we ran the spread and an up-tempo offense. He helped out a lot of us."
Carr, meanwhile, returned the compliment, calling Adams the best receiver at the combine. Carr thinks that the 6-foot-1, 212-pound wideout will run faster than expected and also might have the combine's highest vertical leap.
"Some people say he's not the fastest on tape, but I still haven't seen him get caught on tape," Carr said. "I've seen him dunk and he's looking down through the rim."
Jensen also praised Adams, calling him one of the more underrated players in Indianapolis.
"Davante has a lot of upside," said Jensen, who compared Adams to former Colts receiver Marvin Harrison, while sitting in front of a huge Harrison portrait. "He's super strong. He has strong hands, can jump out of the gym. He's deceptively fast, great hands, great body control and great strength."
To prepare for the combine, Adams trained with former sprinter and Olympic gold medalist Michael Johnson.
"I'm ready to play immediately and handle business for any team that picks me up," Adams said. "They're going to get, in my eyes, the best receiver in this class. I really love the game and I'm extremely passionate about what I do. It definitely shows when I get on the field."
Burse shined at the NFLPA all-star game and thinks that helped boost his stock. He likes to model his game after Carolina receiver Steve Smith and Denver's Wes Welker.
"I just tried to perform as best I can and be comfortable," said Burse, who received coaching from Hall of Famer Charlie Joiner.
"He made me want to be more of a student of the game."
The 5-10, 188-pound Burse, also a dangerous return man in college, called it a blessing to play for a smart quarterback like Carr.
Adams gave Carr the credit for gaining both receivers entry into the invitation-only combine.
"I was fine with him being Batman and I'll be Robin if it gets me to the combine and gets me to the next level," Adams said. "It was a lot of fun."
Carr's leadership and football IQ also were lauded and his teammates restated how impressed they were with Carr's maturation. Observers in Indianapolis are learning how he had to grow up in a hurry last fall when his son, Dallas, was born with a serious intestinal condition. The support of teammates -- Jensen, in particular -- helped get him through it.
"It really hit home for me because while his son was dealing with his complications, my wife had just gone through complications after giving birth to our son six months earlier," Jensen said. "I could relate and I just tried to offer words of encouragement while also trying not to intrude. The core values on the team are trust and love."
Carr had to catch himself a few times Friday, holding back tears while recalling his son's difficulties and how much the support of his teammates meant. All is good now, and while Derek was in cold and windy Indianapolis, wife Heather texted a photo of her and Dallas at the beach.
Carr -- for his on- and off-field growth -- also has been able to rely on older brother, David, the former Fresno State standout who was the first overall pick by Houston in the 2002 draft.
"The No. 1 thing my brother has taught me is, you're going to be praised a lot, you're going to be criticized. Ignore both because neither matter," Derek Carr said. "Just work hard, be yourself, trust the people around you that care about you. Listen to them and continue to work hard like you do."
That mindset helped Derek Carr bounce back after a poor performance in in the bowl game against USC. He was considered the top quarterback at the Senior Bowl all-star game.
"I could not wait for the Senior Bowl to get back out there and say, 'OK, I can still complete passes. I'm not too bad at this.' Especially playing in a game where it's live. They can still hit you. I can step in there and make throws against SEC, ACC, Big 12 and Big 10 competition.
"It was great to get out there to show what I could do. The reviews and evaluations we got back were awesome. I'm so happy I was able to do that."