Shortly after his University of Washington Huskies defeated BYU in the Fight Hunger Bowl, junior tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins declared for the NFL draft.
Adam Jude of the Seattle Times provides the quote from the 6'6" UW standout:
I'm going to enter the 2014 draft. (It's) very exciting. The idea that I can provide for my mother and play at the highest level in the world for football and compete against the best guys in the world—it's a very exciting idea. I'm very excited for the next chapter in my life.
Seferian-Jenkins was a star from the get-go—he pulled in three catches for 91 yards and a touchdown in just his second career game in 2011—and when it was all said and done, he finished with 146 receptions, 1,840 yards and 21 touchdowns in three seasons.
All three of those numbers are records for Husky tight ends.
From a numerical standpoint, ASJ took a step back after a 69-catch, 852-yard sophomore campaign. But according to the 2013 Mackey Award winner himself, he has evolved into a more all-around player, per the Times' Percy Allen:
Personally I think I've gotten a lot better blocking. I think I've definitely taken it to the next level blocking. I've had a few holding penalties this year, but besides that I think I've taken an evolution in my game to become an all-around player.
It's probably safe to say most NFL scouts, pundits and analysts would agree.
Where will Seferian-Jenkins be drafted among tight ends?
CBS Sports ranks Seferian-Jenkins as the third-best tight end in the class of 2014 behind North Carolina's Eric Ebron and Texas Tech's Jace Amaro, slotting him as the No. 40 prospect overall.
ESPN's Scout Inc. (subscription needed) has him at No. 2 (behind Ebron) and No. 36, respectively, while the NFL Advisory Committee, per FOX Sports' Ross Jones, reportedly gave him a second-round grade.
No matter what projections you want to look at, though, one thing seems to remain constant: The talented tight end is likely looking at a second-round pick, with the potential to move into the first depending on his workouts.
NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah pointed out one of Seferian-Jenkins' rare qualities:
Shaping up to be a great TE group. ASJ rare size/catch radius MT @Softykjr: Austin Seferian-Jenkins told me this was his last game at UW.— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) December 28, 2013
His combination of size, strength and agility—he also played basketball (mostly as a load in the middle) for the Huskies during the 2011-12 season—is quite tantalizing, and his inclusion in the draft only further improves an impressive tight end class.