(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Cornelius Ingram's ultimate dream is realized. Cornelius was the No. 17 pick in the fifth round of NFL Draft today. Most prognosticators had him going in the second or third round.
But, the Philadelphia Eagles used their third pick in the draft to draft a tight-end. That TE being Cornelius.
It's been a long road for Ingram since he was recruited out of Hawthorne High in Florida by Gator Coach Ron Zook as a quarterback.
Coming into the program where there was another heralded recruit at QB name Chris Leak. Ingram was never given serious consideration at the position.
Ingram contemplated seriously leaving the team. Urban convinced him he could play TE and play it well. That he could compete at the next level if he just listened to him (Meyer) and embraced the position. And, with that talk Ingram came back to Florida with a renewed sense of commitment.
In 2007 he had 34 catches and 508 yards receiving as a red-shirt junior. A very productive year. He was considered a hybrid TE with 4.6 speed at 6'4 245 lbs.
In 2008 it was going to be his year. Urban Meyer had plans for a two TE package in his offense with Ingram and Aaron Hernandez. A package that he thought was going to confuse many SEC defenses and reap many YAC yards for his two talented TE's.
But, Ingram tears his ACL in the first week of fall practice in August 2008. Just like that he was gone for the rest of the season.
Ingram's knee collapsed while running a route without any awkward movement or contact. "The way it happened, I will never forget that day as long as I live," Meyer said of the injury.
"Missing Florida's 2008 BCS championship season was difficult for Ingram, despite Gator coaches and players doing all they could to make sure he felt like he was a big part of the team. As well-intentioned as they were, Ingram said there were moments he questioned his decision to return to school for his senior year."
The team and coaches had convinced him to take the victory snap in the BCS National Championship game if they had the game secured. After Ingram running out on to the field that night in full pads to warm up and coming back into the locker room he decided he wanted to play more than just a couple of downs.
With that his college career was fully over and he could look forward.
And, it has all worked out now. Ingram went through the combine and performed well. Doctors and trainers at the combine thought there were no lingering issues to from his injury.
He met with many teams and seemed to come away with a good sense that he had good interviews.
He worked out for teams like the Dolphins, Ravens, Eagles, Seahawks, and the Patriots.
It was the Eagles, though, that came calling this Sunday and offered him a chance to play in the NFL. I am excited for him. He is expected to contribute immediately with the rest of draft counterparts LeSean McCoy RB from Pittsburgh, and Jeremy Maclin, WR from Oklahoma State.
If anyone deserves some reward for all of the hard work it is Cornelius Ingram. I expect to see Ingram on the other end of many catches from Donovan McNabb.