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Penn State Basketball’s Ross Travis To Enter 2015 NFL Draft

Yes, you read that correctly. Former Penn State power forward Ross Travis will enter the 2015 NFL Draft in an effort to follow in the footsteps of players like Jimmy Graham and Julius Thomas — former stars on the hardcourt that decided to test their skills on the gridiron.

Travis, who never played football at the collegiate level, is one of the more intriguing prospects available in the draft. At 6-foot-7, 235 pounds, Travis looks the part of a prototypical NFL tight end. He could be utilized optimally in a spread type offense, either lining up in the slot or on the line with a hand in the dirt. Scouts have reportedly raved about his potential, especially as a mismatch in the redzone.

Travis worked out today in front of scouts, and has garnered interest from notable teams around the NFL — including the Seattle Seahawks, the team Jimmy Graham is currently employed by. Not all of Travis’ numbers are available, but according to a team source, he blazed the 40-yard dash in 4.6 seconds.

This may seem like a radical move, but considering the recent successes of players in the molds of Graham and Thomas, the odds may be in Travis’ favor. Graham and Thomas have recorded 386 catches for 4,752 yards and 51 touchdowns and 109 catches for 1,282 yards and 24 touchdowns, respectively.

Given his inexperience on the gridiron, it’s unlikely that Travis will be selected in the draft. But based on the relative intrigue surrounding both his potential and size, it’s likely he could receive a training camp invite.

Travis joins fellow tight end Jesse James as the only two skill position prospects representing Penn State at the 2015 NFL Draft, set to begin Thursday, April 30 in Chicago.

Best of luck to Ross in the upcoming draft!

Update 6:25 p.m.: 

Travis spoke at a teleconference with the media to explain his decision to go back to playing football. According to Big Ten Network’s Brett Yarina, Travis hasn’t played football since his freshman year of high school.

“Like myself, Gates, Thomas, and Graham weren’t all great scorers, but were terrific rebounders,” Travis explained. “That physicality aspect is definitely something that could translate for me at the next level.”

Travis also said he met with James Franklin to consider playing at Penn State, but was afraid to commit to a full season without basketball if it didn’t work out. The former forward added he had opportunities to play basektball overseas.

With trailblazers like the aforementioned Graham and Thomas, former college players that made the successful transition to tight end in the pros, the decision was a “no-brainer” for Travis.

“I dont know if I’d be in this situation if I was the first one to be doing this,” Travis said. “Seeing the success of these other guys who literally have identical stats as far as basketball goes. It almost made it a no-brainer for me to go give it a shot. Seeing them go through it it made it easy for me to go.”

The primary concern he faces now is preparing his body for the grueling NFL.

“The biggest thing right now is to put on weight,” he said. “They know I’m raw, they know it’s raw talent, but they definitely see that athletic ability on the court, and how that can translate to the field.”

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About the Author

David Abruzzese

David is a senior from Rochester, NY, nestled right in beautiful Western New York. He is majoring in Broadcast Journalism, and as an avid sports fan, he passionately supports the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres. He is the first Penn Stater from his family, and couldn’t be prouder to represent Penn State University. In his free time, he likes to alpine ski, and play golf. You can follow him on Twitter @abruz11, and can contact him via email at [email protected]

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