Auburn wide receiver Sammie Coates -- a projected 1st round NFL Draft pick -- customized his cleats at the NFL Combine to honor a 12-year-old girl with leukemia ... TMZ Sports has learned.
Coates became friends with Kenzie Ray after she attended a game back in 2013 -- and they've maintained a strong friendship ever since.
And get this ... Coates recently signed a deal with Under Armour -- and the shoe giant flew out famous cleats customizer David Zambrana (aka DezCustomz) to pimp out some shoes for UA's top guys.
We're told Coates knew exactly what he wanted -- and worked with Dez (along with Kreative Custom Kicks) to pay tribute to his friend Kenzie.
Dez obliged with a VERY cool set of cleats which features Kenzie's name right across the toe.
And that's not all ... Dez says there were other guys who also asked for heartwarming tributes to the people they care about the most. For example:
-- South Carolina RB Mike Davis requested shoes in honor of his mother, who's his best friend and biggest inspiration.
-- Auburn RB Cameron Artis-Payne dedicated his cleats to his late grandmother -- who was very special to him.
Makes you wanna root even harder for these guys, right!?