Ole Miss senior Murphy Holloway signed by the Baltimore Ravens

Murphy Holloway was a big man at Ole Miss. Can he go from basketball star to undrafted NFL tight end? (USATSI)

It's always intriguing to see which college basketball players -- who don't have the ability to go pro in hoops -- have a shot at making a living in the NFL.

Murphy Holloway who, with all respect given to Marshall Henderson, was the most vital player on Ole Miss' team last season, will have a chance. He wasn't drafted but signed with the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens as a free agent over the weekend. Like many basketball-to-football converts, the 6-foot-7, 250-pound Holloway will play tight end.

And, like many former NFLers who played college basketball, Holloway did not spend a minute in a football uniform during his time on campus. In fact, reports show Holloway hasn't played organized football since his sophomore year in high school.

The power forward averaged 14.5 points and 9.7 rebounds this past season, when the Rebels made their first NCAA tournament in more than a decade.

Holloway wasn't the only hoopster who got a deal in place. Outgoing UW-Milwaukee senior forward Demetrius Harris was picked up by the Chiefs on Sunday. The inherent athleticism of basketball players gives way to chances in the NFL, primarily because they've already got the necessary height. And when you're talking brawny forward, that girth is needed as well.

Tack on the fact that many NFL minds consider tight end to now be the second most important position on offense to quarterback, and these athletes are changing the way that offensive schemes are run and how the tight end is used. If Holloway and/or Harris fit the mold, they could follow in the footsteps of Antonio Gates, Tony Gonzalez and Jimmy Graham -- all former college basketball players who adroitly adapted to pro pigskin.

CBS Sports Writer

Matt Norlander is a national award-winning writer who has been with CBS Sports since 2010. He's in his seventh season covering college basketball for CBS, and also covers the NBA Draft, the Olympics and... Full Bio

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