On Monday, the Seattle Seahawks signed Cyril Grayson out of LSU.
You’ve probably never heard that name before.
That’s because Grayson never stepped foot on the football field in college. Instead, he was too busy earning All-American honors seven times between indoor and outdoor seasons in the 200, 400 and 800-meter events.
After being part of four national title relay teams at LSU, Grayson turned his attention to football and took part in the school’s official pro day earlier this month.
According to the school’s athletics website, he was clocked at 4.33 seconds in the 40-yard dash, recorded a length of 10’7” in the broad jump and got up for a 34.5-inch vertical that day in front of the countless NFL scouts that were present.
Below was his first attempt at the 40, which was clocked at a cool 4.35 seconds:
As you can see, he has clear potential for breakaway speed if he is able to get into the open field. That’s probably the main reason why the Seahawks were interested in him.
After the impressive display of athleticism, the Seahawks brought him in for a visit and signed him as a wide receiver, which they were able to do since he was a fifth-year senior who never played football at the collegiate level.
And he’s not alone in that regard. Others have made the jump from track and field to the NFL. 49ers receiver Marquise Goodwin was a participant in the US Olympic Trials in 2016 and so was former USC cornerback and current draft prospect Adoree’ Jackson.
The 23-year-old, 5’9”, 178-pound Grayson hasn’t played organized football since 2011, his senior year at Rummel High School in Metairie, Louisiana. That season, he had 28 receptions for 731 yards and eight touchdowns, according to Seahawks.com.
“I know a lot of question marks were raised when I came in because I haven't played football since 2011 at Archbishop Rummel,” Grayson told reporters following his pro day workout. “So why should I even be here? It's always been a passion of mine and it's always been the plan to play (football), but because of scholarships and other reasons with compliance, I wasn't able to play. I've been training on my own and doing things I need to do to stay in shape and stay ready for an opportunity like this. Today was a great day. When I lined up I put up really good numbers. I can't complain.”
After signing with Seattle, he tweeted out the following:
Last week, in a NOLA.com article, Grayson explained why he’s going back to football, saying, “It’s always been a dream of mine. People take different routes to get different places. I came here and ran track. Nobody here today has the resume that I have. Nobody else is a seven-time All-American, five-time All-SEC, and four-time national champion. It speaks for itself. I’m a hard worker and the ultimate goal has always been to get to the NFL and pursue that dream."
He continued, "I miss it every day. It was hard to go to Tiger Stadium and watch the games. I go to sleep every night and dream about it and wake up and not actually live it. I always wanted to do it and I miss it every day.”
While it remains to be seen if Grayson will even make the Seahawks roster (since there are currently 10 receivers signed), he is one of the most interesting offseason signings so far for the simple fact that he flew under everyone’s radar until the surprise pro day performance.
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