The NFL’s future Flash?

Lance Lysowski

Called a long-shot by many, Jameson Konz earns the opportunity to be selected in the NFL Draft.

Jameson Konz projected to go late, undrafted

For the past three years, a Kent State football player earned the opportunity to be selected in the NFL Draft.

Cornerbacks Usama Young and Jack Williams were selected in 2007 and 2008, respectively, followed by quarterback Julian Edelman last year. All three players saw their draft stocks rise following impressive showings at their pro days in front of NFL scouts.

Following in their footsteps in 2010 is tight end/wide receiver Jameson Konz. Konz, who many saw as a long shot to hear his name called at the 2010 NFL Draft, impressed his critics with his display of athletic ability on March 11 at Kent State’s pro day.

Measuring 6-foot-4 and 234 pounds, Konz ran the 40-yard dash twice, clocking in at 4.46 and 4.38 seconds.

Konz also posted a 46-inch vertical jump and a broad jump of 10 feet, 8 1/4 inches, which gave him the best numbers of any tight end expected to be

picked in this week’s draft. In fact, his vertical jump was higher than anyone at the NFL Combine.

The Uniontown, Ohio native said his training over the past months in Cleveland, at Tim Robertson’s Speed Strength, got him ready for his workout that caught the attention of NFL scouts across the country.

“It was just six workouts every single day, six days a week,” Konz said. “It was really good, and it really prepared me for everything I had to do at the pro day. Hopefully once I get on a team, then I just have to prove to the coaches that I can use all of these attributes and have them translate over to the football field.”

During his time at Kent State under coach Doug Martin, Konz was the definition of versatile. He spent three years at outside linebacker where he recorded 90 tackles and two sacks. An ankle injury ended his 2008 season, but Konz returned in 2009 at wide receiver/tight end and recorded 21 catches for 298 yards and two touchdowns.

“We started him off on defense because we needed him,” Martin said. “As years went on, we got more depth on defense. We always thought he would be an exceptional tight end, and we just never had the depth to put him there until the end of his career. The thing Jameson has to make an improvement in is catching the ball consistently. If he does that, he’ll have a great chance to make it.”

Although the Cleveland Browns were the only team present at his pro day, word spread around the league of the next athlete coming out of Kent State. Projected as a late-round selection or undrafted free agent, Konz has drawn interest from teams such as the Oakland Raiders and Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints.

No matter where or when the Kent State product is selected, the past few months have been surreal for Konz. He said he has waited his entire life for this weekend’s draft and can only wait to find out what the following months and years will bring.

“It’s always something growing up as a little kid; it’s something you look forward to,” Konz said. “Saying that, ‘Hey, I want to play in the NFL one day.’ It’s a dream come true to actually be in that position, and it’s really exciting.”

While getting drafted will only be the beginning for Konz, he said hearing his name in the same breath as Kent State alumni such as Edelman, tight end Antonio Gates and wide receiver Josh Cribbs is an indescribable feeling.

“It’s almost more than I can imagine because there are so many good players to come out of Kent and they’ve done so well for themselves,” Konz said. “To even be mentioned in the same lines as them is extremely great. I’m really happy, and I’m humbled.”

Another Flash who is attempting a future in the NFL is wide receiver Phil Garner. Regarded as a potential free agent pickup, Garner measures 5-11 and recorded 22 receptions for 204 yards as a senior.

The NFL Draft will be broadcast on ESPN all weekend. Round 1 will start at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Rounds 2 and 3 will start at 6 p.m. Friday and Rounds 4 through 7 on Saturday start at 10 a.m.

Contact sports reporter Lance Lysowski at [email protected].