Former Southern Regional Star Mike Gesicki Tears It Up at NFL Combine

Mar 07, 2018
Photo by: Mark Selders/Penn State Athletics

During his last two seasons with Penn State, former Southern Regional star athlete Mike Gesicki became one of the most viable and reliable tight ends in the country, and in doing so became a likely candidate to be snatched up in this year’s NFL draft, possibly as high as the first round. Of course, most players who are drafted are not a sure thing. But if any NFL general managers had doubts about Gesicki’s athletic ability, those certainly were put to rest on March 3, when he proved he has the goods to be an NFL-caliber player.

“Everybody’s been asking me, ‘What are you going to run? What are you going to jump? What are you going to bench?’ And I feel like if I tell everybody, it’s not going to be as cool when I do it,” Gesicki said during a press conference prior to the NFL Combine at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis. “All these teams ... ‘Oh, what are you going to run?’ Everybody thinks I’m slow, so I don’t want to tell them what I’m actually going to run. I’m keeping it all a secret.”

It wasn’t much of a secret soon into the Combine. Not only did Gesicki perform well, he all but blew away the field by finishing atop the leaderboard in six of the seven workouts. The only one in which he didn’t place at the top of the standings was the 225-pound bench press – he finished in second. Gesicki finished first, or tied for first, in the 40-yard dash, vertical and broad jumps, the three-cone drill, and the 20- and 60-yard shuttle runs.

In the 40-yard dash, Gesicki tied North Carolina State’s Jaylen Samuels with a time of 4.54 seconds, .13 ahead of Oklahoma’s Mark Andrews and South Carolina’s Hayden Hurst. In the 20-yard shuttle, Gesicki registered a time of 4.10 seconds, .10 ahead of Indiana’s Ian Thomas and .13 ahead of Central Michigan’s Tyler Conklin and Notre Dame’s Durham Smythe. In the 60-yard shuttle, Gesicki’s 11.33 seconds also was .10 ahead of Conklin and .53 ahead of Smythe.

With the three-cone drill, Samuels was the closest to Gesicki, who posted a time of 6.76 seconds, clocking a time of 6.93 second, while Stanford’s Dalton Schultz completed the drill in 7 seconds. For the bench press, Gesicki pressed the weighted bar 22 times, falling one short of South Dakota State’s Dallas Goedert.

Of course, in the jumps – remember Gesicki used to play basketball and volleyball, and has been showcased in various media accounts as an athlete with tremendous leaping ability – it wasn’t even close. In the board jump, Gesicki landed at 10 feet, 9 inches, while Thomas marked at 10 feet, 3 inches and Samuels managed a leap of 10 feet, 1 inch. For the vertical jump, Gesicki outleaped Conklin by 3½ inches, topping out at 41½ inches. Thomas managed a high of 36 inches.

At the press conference, Gesicki said he takes a lot of pride in his jumping ability and using it to his advantage when catching the football.

“When the ball’s in the air, I consider it mine,” he said. “I don’t believe in the whole 50-50 ball. In my perspective, it’s more of an 80-20, in that range. Growing up, I played a whole lot of basketball. In high school, I played volleyball. So jumping has always come pretty natural to me, and it’s only improved as time’s gone on. And it’s something I’ve been able to implement into my game on the field.”

In comments of several videos from the Combine, Gesicki was referred to as a “matchup nightmare” and an “athletic freak,” with many fans – from Jacksonville to Green Bay to Dallas – expressing interest in their teams’ acquiring him. In addition to the Combine, the 6-foot-6, 252-pounder said at the press conference he had met with some teams’ officials, and more meetings were in the works.

“I’ve met with a bunch of teams, informally,” Gesicki said. “I’ll have a lot of formal interviews tonight, so it will be exciting to go through that process as well.”

— David Biggy

biggy@thesandpaper.net

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