Rico Gathers Discusses Desire to Play in NFL After Baylor Basketball Career

Joe PantornoFeatured ColumnistFebruary 26, 2016

Baylor's Rico Gathers (2) and Lester Medford (11) talk as they walk off the court during an NCAA college basketball game against Kansas on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016, in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

University of Baylor senior forward Rico Gathers wants to go from the hardwood to the gridiron after his college days are over. 

On Friday, Gathers told Adam Schefter of ESPN that he wants to arrange private workouts for NFL teams either when Baylor basketball isn't playing or when the season ends. 

"Football has been in my heart. I feel like it's a natural fit for me," Gathers told ESPN. "During my free time, I work on my routes all the time. I have my own football, my own cleats, I run 40s all the time. I think I'm ready."

The problem is that Gathers hasn't played in quite some time, per John Werner of the Waco Tribune-Herald:

He won't be the first player who is trying to go pro in the NFL after playing basketball in college; two of the best tight ends to ever play the game, Tony Gonzalez and Antonio Gates, played basketball at the collegiate level. So did Jimmy Graham and Julius Thomas, per Schefter.

The 6'6", 275-pound forward wanted to work out at Baylor's pro day on March 16, per Schefter, but it is a day before the beginning of the NCAA tournament, and the No. 19 Bears will surely be participating. 

In 26 games played this season, Gathers is averaging 12.0 points and 9.8 boards per game and is the team's leading rebounder. 

It looks like he can dole out some punishment with a football in his hand. He's done so without one while not really trying, as ESPN College Bball showed:

That kind of strength would be a nice asset when it comes to run blocking.

Gathers has also showed off a nice vertical, which he'll need to get up and catch those high passes, via WV Illustrated's Matt Hauswirth:

That kind of athleticism and physicality alone could pique the interest of some NFL teams. However, it's unknown how many hits he can take or if he'd be able to comprehend an NFL playbook. 

Having not played in so long, getting hit by some of the largest, strongest athletes while keeeping track of countless plays would be quite a test for Gathers. 


Stats courtesy of ESPN.com.