Baylor Hoops Star Rico Gathers Has Possibly Been Planning For The NFL Since Middle School

ESPN– “The NFL’s been a dream for me ever since I was 7 years old,” said Gathers, a wide receiver in middle school in his hometown of LaPlace, Louisiana — and a dominant one at that, he wasn’t too humble to admit.

Gathers said he made a “business decision” to choose basketball over football, in large part to avoid the wear and tear on his body. That was the advice of his older brother Greg, a record-setting defensive end at Georgia Tech in the early 2000s before a kidney ailment cut short his own NFL dreams.

“When I made that decision in the eighth grade, all the high school football coaches in my area, from John Curtis to East St. John to Destrehan, they were like, ‘You’re crazy, man,'” Gathers said.

Awesome story on ESPN today. Rico Gathers, the big mauler on the boards from Baylor, not only is entering the NFL draft, but has maybe been planning to all along. I gotta tip my cap to Rico. Instead of spending four years getting beat up on the grid iron, he kept his body fresh. Lower risk for injury, less wear and tear, and still spent college as an elite athlete. And yes maybe it is a red flag for NFL teams that he hasn’t played football since he was 13. But look at guys from Baylor that have been playing football since they were 13. Robert Griffin. Josh Gordon. How have their careers gone? Not great, right? Maybe if they took some time off, kept their minds out of the game, they’d be on the path to stardom like Rico.

It’s insane how many college basketball forwards have turned into elite NFL tight ends. Tony Gonzalez from Cal, Antonio Gates from Kent State, Julius Thomas from Portland State, and Jimmy Graham from Miami. Even middle-tier tight ends Jordan Cameron and Martellus Bennett dabbled on the hardwood in college. At this point I don’t think I’d draft a tight end unless he played college basketball. I’m asking for rebound rates at the combine. Free throw percentage over 40 times. Show me how you take a charge. What kind of rotation do you get on your mid-range?

So good luck to Rico next week. Hopefully he’ll get drafted and become the next great hoop star tight end. Then maybe we’ll forgot he got knocked out of the NCAA tournament in the first round as a 3-seed and 5-seed two years straight.

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