Every sports fan knows that just because an athlete is very successful in college does not mean he will be automatically be successful as a professional athlete.
There is a whole list of Heisman winners who were busts in the NFL. Several college basketball players of the year also did not fare well in the pros.
Some people think that Tim Tebow and Tyler Hansbrough, last year's winners of these awards, might join this not so prestigious list.
Tebow, who is almost 6’3” and 238 pound, has the physical size but not a great arm.
Hansbrough, who stands at 6’9”, 250 lbs., might not have enough height to be a star power forward in the NBA, but not enough speed and quickness to be a star small forward.
How will these factors affect their pro careers?
Honestly, I don’t know, but I do think it is an interesting question.
Tebow has been called a quarterback in a fullback’s body. If he were a great passer, this would be largely irrelevant.
But he is not. So people are suggesting that if he wants to make it in the pros, then he will have to play a different position, which is something that he is not willing to do.
Vince Young, like Tebow, is a good leader and a gifted runner, but also not a great passer. Young’s legacy is on hold right now and is very unclear at this point; hence, because of that, and the difference in their running styles and skills, he does not provide us much guidance.
Tebow reminds me a little of Bobby Douglas, 6’4”, 225 lbs., of the Chicago Bears in the 1970s. However, Tebow is both a better athlete and passer than Douglas. Hence, Douglas’ lack of success as a quarterback is also of little help in answering our question.
Perhaps Tebow is coming around at the right time because of the Wildcat formations that have been used in the pros this year. However, these formations are only used occasionally and not every down.
Will he be a good enough passer on the other downs?
Tebow passing seems to lack length, long ball, and touch. Perhaps, he will improve in both these areas. He certainly appears to have the strength to throw a bomb.
As for playing another position, it is tough to turn someone into a running back full time if they don’t want to be one. If Tebow has good hands, he might make a great tight end.
As for being a great quarterback in the pros, we will have to wait and see on Tebow. Unless, of course, you have it figured it out.
You could make the case that Larry Bird, 6’9”, 220 lbs., was a tweener, and that did not seem to affect his pro career. Charles Barkley, 6’5”, 250 lbs., was also a very successful “tweener.” But Bird and Barkley had several intangibles that contributed to their success.
Danny Ferry, 6’10”, 230 lbs., like Hansbrough, was both the college player of the year and a tweener, but he did not have a successful pro career. Apparently, Ferry did not have enough intangibles to make up for his lack of speed, quickness, and jumping ability, the same shortcomings Bird had.
In regards to Hansbrough, the question I would ask is: Does he have enough intangibles to make up for the fact that he is a tweener?
I don’t know.
I do think that Hansbrough has fewer intangibles than Bird, but more than Ferry. Hansbrough is very competitive, a good team player, has a knack for getting the loose ball, and is a clutch player. In addition, he has also has better jumping ability than Bird or Ferry, but not as much as Barkley.
Hence, my best guess is that Hansbrough will be a good pro, but not a superstar. Perhaps his pro career will be similar to Christian Laettner, but who knows?