East Rutherford, NJ – For the first time since 2005, a National Football League regular-season contest featured an Austin Peay State University (APSU) alumnus when DJ Montgomery lined up out wide in the New York Jets’ Week 14 matchup against the New Orleans Saints, Sunday, at MetLife Stadium.
After spending the last season-and-a-half on the Jets’ practice squad, Montgomery was elevated to the teams’ active roster Saturday afternoon after wideouts Corey Davis and Elijah Moore were ruled out. While he was not expected to see much playing time outside of special teams, the rookie wideout made the most of his opportunities in his professional debut.
All three of Montgomery’s receptions came in the fourth quarter of the Jets Sunday afternoon game against the Saints, with his first catch going for eight yards. Montgomery’s next two receptions each went for 14 yards and resulted in first downs.
Montgomery finished third on the team with 36 yards and three catches in the 30-9 loss and showcased the start of a pro career the rookie wideout and Governor fans have been patiently waiting for for years.
Montgomery transferred to APSU in 2017 following two years at Holmes Community College. As a junior, he was an integral part of Will Healy’s team that helped to turn the APSU Govs football around, finishing and finished the season with an 8-4 record after only winning a single game in their previous 49 contests.
He finished second on the team in receptions (19), receiving yards (228) and tied for first in receiving touchdowns (3) during his first season in Clarksville and only expanded upon those numbers as a senior.
In his final year as a Gov, Montgomery more than tripled his receiving yards and touchdowns with 797 and 10 respectively. His 10 touchdowns in 2019 ranks fourth all-time in a single season at Austin Peay State University, while his 13 career touchdown receptions put the wideout ninth all-time in program history.
After going undrafted in 2019, Montgomery was picked up by the Cleveland Browns as an undrafted free agent. He showed potential during the preseason with five receptions, 124 yards, and a score across two games before being sidelined with a season-ending hamstring injury.
In August of 2020, the Durant, Mississippi native was claimed off waivers by the Jets after being cut by Cleveland the day prior. He spent the next year-and-a-half on the Jets’ practice squad before appearing in Sunday’s game.
Now Montgomery has completed the climb from playing at the JUCO level to being one of the few athletes to reach the game’s highest level.