CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Jimmy Graham can thank former Miami Hurricane quarterback Bernie Kosar for his expected future in the NFL.
Kosar threw to Graham, a four-year letterman on the basketball team, last summer three days a week as Graham had aspirations to play football.
"He was the one, who kept pushing me and telling me, 'Jimmy, I think one day you can be a playmaker in the NFL'," Graham said.
He was initially surprised at the praise he received from the former Pro Bowler.
"I was like, 'what is this guy talking about,'" Graham said.
Graham, a 6-foot-6, 260-pound tight end, responded with a successful season as he was second on the team with five touchdown catches on 17 receptions for 213 yards.
He participated in the Senior Bowl and turned in the second-fastest 40-yard dash time among tight ends at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis with a 4.56, but did not run the 40 at the University of Miami's annual pro day on Friday.
"I think people know I'm fast, they know I can catch, and I didn't think I really needed to run it again -- I was told not to run it again," Graham quipped.
Some scouts have questioned Graham's toughness, which was never questioned on the basketball court as one of Miami's top enforcers and physical players in addition to his rough upbringing in North Carolina.
"I'm not sure where that (criticism) comes from," Graham said. "I know when teams look at what I've been through in my life, what I've been through in college and high school, that I've had to be tough and be on my own and when they know those things, they won't really have any questions about it."
Graham, who is represented by Jimmy Sexton, is projected as high as a second-round pick in April's draft. He's planning on visiting 8-10 teams next week.
Other notes from the University of Miami's pro day:
» Offensive lineman Jason Fox, an all-ACC pick, who started 47 games, ranking third on UM's all-time list, suffered a left hamstring injury when running the 40-yard dash.
» Sam Shields, who caught 75 passes as a wide receiver before making 10 starts at cornerback his senior season, ran an unofficial 4.28 in the 40-yard dash. Shields was arrested last week on a misdemeanor charge of possession of marijuana, less than 20 grams.
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press