The Miami Dolphins announced Thursday they are signing former North Carolina Central basketball standout Jibri Blount as a free agent tight end. Blount, the son of former Steelers star defensive back Mel Blount, didn't play college football, but will be the latest former college hoops star to get a shot at playing tight end in the NFL.
"Plot twist… I'm in the NFL!" Blount wrote on Instagram along with a photo of himself donning Dolphins apparel. The 6-foot-7 former Cleveland State and North Carolina Central basketball player enjoyed a breakout season as a redshirt senior during the 2019-20 season and was named the MEAC basketball Player of the Year after averaging 19.1 points and 9.3 rebounds for a team that won the MEAC regular-season title.
With his frame and rebounding ability, it's not hard to imagine Blount fitting in the mold of other former college basketball forwards who evolved into productive NFL players.
Tony Gonzalez, considered one of the top tight ends in NFL history, played football and basketball at Cal. Antonio Gates also made the successful transition to the NFL. The former Kent State hoops star was an eight-time Pro Bowl selection at tight end during his 16 seasons with the Chargers. Five-time Pro Bowler Jimmy Graham was also a forward for the Miami Hurricanes basketball team before switching over to football and finding success at tight end.
Those are just two of several former college hoops players who have found success on the gridiron. Considering that his father is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, it appears Jibri Blount also has genetics on his side. His father, Mel Blount, was a five-time Pro Bowl selection who won four Super Bowls as a cornerback for the Steelers between 1970 and 1983.