Former Baylor Basketball Player Ishmail Wainright Signs Bills Contract

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistApril 30, 2018

LUBBOCK, TX - FEBRUARY 13: Ishmail Wainright #24 of the Baylor Bears handles the ball during the game against the Texas Tech Red Raiders on February 13, 2017 at United Supermarkets Arena in Lubbock, Texas. Texas Tech defeated Baylor 84-78. (Photo by John Weast/Getty Images)
John Weast/Getty Images

Former Baylor Bears two-sport athlete Ishmail Wainright announced Monday he signed with the Buffalo Bills.

Wainright played four years for the Baylor basketball team before joining the football team as a fifth-year senior in 2017. He caught four passes for 34 yards and two touchdowns in nine games last season. 

Antonio Gates is the most famous example of a former college basketball player making the transition to the NFL. Unlike Wainright, Gates had zero football experience at the FBS level before becoming an eight-time Pro Bowl tight end.

Wainright told the Dallas Morning News' Adam Grosbard his limited exposure to football at least provides some evidence of his potential.

"I have some film. Some guys went straight up from basketball to football with no film," he said. "They see that I'm able to block. They see that I'm able to catch. Speed is almost there but it's not where I want to be."

Like Gates, Wainright plays tight end. He's listed at 6'5" and 260 pounds, so he certainly has the size to hold his own in the NFL. And it was hard not to think his time on the hardwood helped when went up to haul in a touchdown pass in Baylor's 38-9 win over Kansas last November:

Charles Clay is under contract with the Bills through 2019, and Buffalo also returns Nick O'Leary, who caught 22 passes for 322 yards and two touchdowns in 2017. 

Wainright still has a lot of work ahead in order to make Buffalo's final roster, but simply receiving a contract represents a big step in his football career. Now, it'll be up to the rookie to make a big impression on the Bills' coaching staff this summer.

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