Joe Staley is a two-time All-Pro offensive tackle for the San Francisco 49ers, a true stalwart on the offensive line. But if it weren't for current Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly, he may have never played the position.
After his freshman season at Central Michigan, Kelly called Staley, who at the time was a tight end, into his office and told him about a position change.
Apparently, Staley wasn't too pleased about moving to the offensive line (per Pro Football Talk):
Joe Staley wanted to be a tight end, cried his eyes out when Brian Kelly made him be an offensive lineman wp.me/p14QSB-75lo— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) January 29, 2013
The 49ers' blindside protector had this to say on the matter during Super Bowl Media Day (per PFT's Michael David Smith):
Brian Kelly came in and said ‘We do not use tight ends in our offense but we want to keep you on the field in some way. We are going to move you to tackle.’ I cried my eyes out. I am not afraid to admit it. Almost transferred but then stayed, gained weight, busted my butt and got drafted.
A recent NFL.com story expanded on Staley's initial disdain for his move with the Chippewas:
You have no idea how much I just did not want to play offensive line.
Then, they were like, 'You're just going to block everybody for the rest of your life,' and I was like, 'Awww, no.'
Clearly, Kelly made the correct decision, as Staley was ultimately picked in the first round of the 2007 NFL Draft by the 49ers.
Safe to say, the move was quite the collegiate learning experience for Staley and it undoubtedly paid off big-time.