Rico Gathers trying to duplicate Jimmy Graham's path to the NFL - FOX 8, WVUE, fox8live.com, weather, app, news, saints

Rico Gathers trying to duplicate Jimmy Graham's path to the NFL

Rico Gathers, Sr. won two state tiles in basketball at Riverside Academy. (Fox 8 Photo) Rico Gathers, Sr. won two state tiles in basketball at Riverside Academy. (Fox 8 Photo)
KENNER, LA (WVUE) -

In five season with the Saints, Jimmy Graham caught 51 touchdowns from Drew Brees. Mind-blowing numbers considering Graham only played one year of college football.

The 6'8" tight end was better known for his basketball prowess at the University of Miami. With Graham's blueprint to stardom mapped out, Riverside alum and Baylor Bear forward Rico Gathers Sr. is trying to make the same transition to gridiron glory.

"Basketball has been real good to me and I've put all my blood, sweat and tears into basketball but I always had that thought in the back of my mind that football was going to be one of my options," Gathers said.

Gathers hasn't played organized football since he was 13-years-old at East St. John Elementary. Rico lined up at tight end nine years ago and put in a Graham-like performance.

"I remember the last game I played like it was yesterday," Gathers said. "I had like four touchdowns in the championship game of our junior high league. We were up 28-0 at half, and I had scored all the touchdowns."

Gathers focus is back on the pigskin. He's at the Duke Academy to show he hasn't lost his pass-catching abilities. Now he needs NFL teams to take a chance on an unknown commodity.

"Jimmy Graham, a lot of people said he was still raw to the game when he first got there, look at him now. Antonio Gates, I'm pretty sure he was raw too, but look at him now. You're talking about two of the top tight ends to ever grace the game of football," Gathers said.

Right now Rico doesn't have any private workouts with NFL teams, but he'll hold his own pro day on April 21st at Tad Gormley. All NFL personnel will be invited.

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