Why do we keep seeing big-time NFL tight ends coming out of the college hoops scene?
The OG of this phenomenon is former University of California Berkeley power forward Tony Gonzalez, who's headed to the Pro Football Hall of Fame unless he decides to be active and productive until the end of time.
Antonio Gates was a dangerous power forward at Kent State before putting together a borderline Hall of Fame career of his own in San Diego. Most recently, Jimmy Graham traded in his University of Miami shorts for a New Orleans Saints uniform. He produced one of the greatest statistical seasons ever at the position in 2011.
“It’s AAU basketball," Schiano said last week, according to ESPN.com. “Guys who are 6-2 as ninth-graders and have an opportunity to go to Las Vegas on a weekend trip, an opportunity to go to California or Florida in a basketball tournament, get a nice pair of shoes, a sweatsuit, and then they stop growing and there’s not a lot of 6-foot-3 power forwards. That’s the kind of athletes you need to play tight end. That was the hardest position to recruit in college. You had to project. Quite frankly, it’s the hardest position in this league to find. With the special guys, you can work mismatches."
Who doesn't like free stuff and trips to warm weather states? Now all Schiano has to do is find a Gonzalez/Gates/Graham of his own.