Baylor Basketball Star Heads to the NFL
College basketball stars have long found success in finding new professions after being really good college basketball players. The fact of the matter is that not everyone can make it into the NBA. Some guys go on to be engineers, doctors, teachers, police officers, and a myriad of other professions. Some though, move on to be NFL tight ends.
The most famous basketball star that made the leap to the NFL is potential Hall of Famer Antonio Gates who played for the San Diego Chargers after leading Kent State to the Elite Eight in 2002 and averaging 20 points per game a season after that. Gates quickly became the NFL's premier tight end, earning First-Team All-Pro honors in his second, third, and fourth seasons in the league.
Jimmy Graham famously played both football and basketball at Miami before heading to the NFL to be a tight end for the Saints, Seahawks, and Packers. Darren Fells played college basketball at UC Irvine and then played professional basketball before finally coming to the NFL to give it a shot. A seven-year NFL career, so far, seems like a pretty good decision.
Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez was a two-sport athlete at Cal before becoming the greatest tight end receiving threat ever for the Chiefs and Falcons.
On the defensive side of the ball, defensive end Julius Peppers played basketball at UNC and Corner Quinten Rollins played at Miami Ohio where he played basketball for four seasons before playing one year of college football, earning MAC Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2014.
That brings me to Mark Vital, who like former Baylor Bear basketball star Rico Gathers, will attempt to make the leap from college basketball to the NFL. Vital has a lot in common with guys like Gates and Peppers. He's a big man, but not NBA big man big. At 6-foot-5 Vital was able to move around at forward for the Baylor basketball team but at the next level, you just don't see a lot of 6-foot-5 forwards.
Gathers was signed by the Seattle Seahawks and will join their practice squad heading into the season. Vital hasn't played football since middle school.