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From NCAA Basketball Champion to NFL: Mark Vital's journey as a forward with Baylor Bears to a tight end with Seattle Seahawks

Mark Vital was a crucial part of Baylor's championship run
Mark Vital was a crucial part of Baylor's championship run
ANALYST

Despite winning the NCAA championship with the Baylor Bears and playing for the Portland Trail Blazers this summer, Mark Vital is switching sports to the NFL.

On Thursday, the Seattle Seahawks announced that Vital had joined their practice squad as a tight end prior to the upcoming NFL season. The 24-year-old is not short of confidence after four standout years with Baylor and is already proclaiming himself a future hall-of-famer.

In this article we will take a look at Mark Vital's journey to the NFL and if he will be able to make the transition from college basketball.

Mark Vital confident of making switch from college basketball to the NFL

Vital played as a starting forward for Baylor as a senior
Vital played as a starting forward for Baylor as a senior

As a power forward with Baylor, Mark Vital was an intricate part of their NCAA championship-winning side. He played 30 games as a senior, averaging 5.6 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 0.9 blocks per game. In their title matchup against Gonzaga, he grabbed an impressive 11 boards while putting up six points and two steals.

Although he had a successful college career, Vital went undrafted in July and failed to impress on the Portland Trail Blazers' summer league roster. He averaged just 11 minutes in each of the three games he played and finished having grabbed four rebounds per game and 1.3 points.

Over the summer, Mark Vital also held workouts with some NFL teams, which was enough to earn him a spot on the Seattle Seahawks' roster. He hasn't played football since middle school but has already earned comparisons with future hall-of-famer Antonio Gates, who made eight Pro Bowls with the San Diego Chargers after transitioning from basketball.

The Seattle Seahawks have had success themselves with college basketball players making the switch to the NFL in the past. George Fant, who was signed as a free agent in 2016 completed a $27m deal with the New York Jets last year. Vital will join the Seahawks' practice roster alongside fellow tight end Tyler Mabry.

He will be hoping that his skills can translate well to the NFL with his strength and size. Speaking to KPLC-TV, Vital was not short of confidence about his ability to fit in:

"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."

Mark Vital is 6-foot-5 and is already 250lbs. He was named to the Big-12 All-Defensive team on three occasions and earned All-Conference honors in 2020. This season he was also a finalist for the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year award for the second time in a row. Seahawks fans will certainly be keeping an eye on his progress.


Edited by Arnav Kholkar
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