The Seattle Seahawks are signing former Baylor basketball standout Mark Vital to their practice squad as a tight end, the team announced Thursday.
Vital, listed on the school’s website as 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds, was a starting forward for the Bears, who won the national title in April. He was not selected in this year’s NBA draft and played for the Portland Trail Blazers in the NBA summer league before announcing earlier this week that he was pursuing a career in the NFL.
Vital averaged 5.6 points and 6.7 rebounds per game as a senior at Baylor. He was a finalist for Naismith Defensive Player of the Year for the second straight season while helping Baylor capture its first national title in men’s basketball.
According to The Waco Tribune-Herald, Vital hasn’t played football since middle school in Lake Charles, Louisiana. One NFL scout describe him as a “big, raw athlete” with natural ball skills.
“I feel like I can be a Hall of Famer,” Vital told KPLC-TV in Lake Charles. “I’m already getting compared to Antonio Gates from different scouts and teams when hearing them talk about me. I’m already getting compared to a Hall of Famer and that’s motivation to me to get to that level. I can see the similarities. He and I are both explosive, fast and big. We are built the same.”
The Seahawks have already had success with a college basketball player making it in the NFL. George Fant, signed by Seattle as an undrafted free agent in 2016, converted to offensive tackle with the Seahawks and signed a $27.3 million deal last year with the New York Jets.
The Seahawks have three tight ends on their 53-man roster in Gerald Everett, Will Dissly and Colby Parkinson, who is coming back from a foot injury. Vital joins Tyler Mabry on their practice squad.
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