You may know some of Jake Kumerow's relatives better than you know the undrafted wide receiver who the Bengals signed following the 2015 draft. Kumerow's dad Eric and uncle John were both first round draft picks by the Miami Dolphins in 1988 and 1987 respectively. His cousin Joey Bosa is currently an All-American defensive end for the Ohio State Buckeyes and his cousin, Nick Bosa (Joey's brother) is a five-star recruit who recently committed to Ohio State.
Kumerow is looking to change that by making the Bengals' 53-man roster this fall.
Kumerow attended D-III's Wisconsin-Whitewater where he recorded 32 touchdowns and 2,648 yards during his three years on the team; he also won two D-III national titles in the process. In 2014 alone he had 1,116 yards on 66 receptions with 14 touchdowns. That was also while missing four games due to an ankle injury, while his team went 15-0 on the season.
Now, Kumerow is fighting for a spot with the Bengals and is grateful for the opportunity he's been given. "It’s been a lot of fun," Kumerow said. "I've been learning a lot and enjoying myself. The coaches are very involved and the players also help us out a lot when we need it."
So far, Kumerow says camp has been going well, but adjusting to the schemes has been tough. "I think I've been doing a good job of getting plays down but there's a lot I can still improve on. I’m definitely ready to get these next couple of weeks down. I’m trying to get better on a day to day basis."
Kumerow spent time this offseason working with his college quarterback, Matt Blanchard, who was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Green Bay Packers. And whether it's the work he's put in recently or his three years of dominant collegiate experience, he's impressing the media and fans alike with his training camp performance.
Our own Josh Kirkendall said after the first four days of practice he could see Kumerow making the roster; Coley Harvey with ESPN has said to keep an eye on Kumerow and Richard Skinner with Local 12 referred to him as "the one who interests me the most."
When asked if hearing those types of reviews motivates him further, Kumerow said, "It definitely motivates me but I've just been motivated by getting a chance to play on this football team. I just know I go out there every day and show them everything I’ve got and show them that I can hang with these guys and be a part of the team. That's my main goal to show the coaches I can fit the program."
Kumerow has been paying close attention to his fellow Bengals wide receivers to soak in everything they're doing and use it to his advantage. "A.J.'s helped me a lot," Kumerow said. "He’s taught me even more than he knows he has. Every time he’s up I watch him, I watch him very closely, I watch his every step he takes. That’s how I can learn to get better. He’s really skilled and one of the best in the NFL. If I get to watch him on a day-to-day basis it’s just a plus for me. And it's not just him, I watch everyone. It’s a great way to learn, making mental notes, watching the older guys. They've been there before and know the best way to do it."
Those are some wise words from the young receiver who also said Green, Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones have all helped him on the field. "When I’m out there and have a question or if I ran a route that wasn’t right they’ll come up to me and say hey, you should’ve done this or do this next time."
And, wide receivers coach, James Urban has been helping, Kumerow too. "I love him," Kumerow said. "He’s a great guy, great coach. He’s been nothing but a great help to me. You can just tell he has a passion for the game. He just really, really loves trying to make us better."
As far as the person who Kumerow's seen run around more than any coach he's ever seen, that honor goes to Al Saunders who has been assisting the wide receivers during training camp. "He gives you good confidence and has great pointers on certain routes. He’s been in the league so long so everything he says I just try to soak it in."
To make the roster, Kumerow says he plans to give a great amount of effort and hustle. "You have to finish plays and make plays and show the coaches you really want to be there. I’m just really grateful for the opportunity I have in front of me and glad the coaches are going to give me a shot."