120 Players You Need To
Arizona TE Rob Gronkowski
Who is Rob
… There are maybe a dozen or so truly unique
athletes that stand out in college football heading into the 2009
season. Gronkowski is one of them. He’s way too big for defensive
backs and way too nimble for linebackers, a rare combination for a
tight end. Two years since graduating from high school, he’s already
caught 75 passes for 1,197 yards and 16 touchdowns, setting all
kinds of school records along the way. The fearless kid from just
outside Buffalo is flourishing in the desert, already raising
questions whether he’s about to embark on his final year as an
amateur. While clearly built for the next level, the NFL will have
to wait at least one more year before it gets a hold of Gronkowski.
Always seeking new challenges, he has a few more immediate goals in
mind, like helping lead the Wildcats to another bowl game and
fine-tuning the little things that often go unnoticed. A bona fide
star at a position that rarely produces them, he’s the most
compelling thing to happen to Arizona football since Desert Swarm
was all the rage in the 1990s.
Statistics, information and photo provided by the
Arizona sports information department
Gronkowski’s best game so far was …
last Oct. 15 versus Oregon. The Ducks went into this game determined
to stop Gronkowski at all costs. Back to the drawing board. The
sophomore ate up the Oregon defense for a career-high dozen catches
for 143 yards and a touchdown. Even when two defenders got on him,
he was able to find the soft spot in the Duck D.
Why you should care about Rob Gronkowski?
… He’s one of the most exciting
tight ends to play college football in a long time, an All-America
candidate, and a first-day draft choice in either 2010 or 2011.
While most big-play tight ends are built like beefy wide receivers,
Gronkowski is a hulking 6-6, 270-pounder with the gait to burn
defenses down the seam. He makes all of the catches, and has
averaged a whopping 16 yards a reception in his first two seasons in
Positives about Rob Gronkowski …
There are plenty of players with Gronkowski’s unique athletic
ability. None of them, however, are 6-6 and 270 pounds. A freakish
confluence of size, speed, and Gumby-like flexibility, he’s a
matchup nightmare every time he runs a pattern. Years of training
have given him the soft hands and eye-hand coordination of a
possession receiver, allowing him to gently pluck balls out of the
air. At his size, he does 360-degree dunks, a testament to his
strange blend of physical gifts.
Negatives about Rob Gronkowski
… Although he’s come a long way since his freshman year, Gronkowski
still has room for growth running routes and blocking downfield. His
patterns can be a little sloppy at times and need to be tighter
beginning this fall. While he has the size and strength of many
linemen, the goal in 2009 will be to hold his blocks a little
longer, helping spring teammates for bigger plays.
A cool thing about Rob Gronkowski you probably
didn’t know … Gronkowski is just a
part of one of the most athletic families in the country. His dad,
Gordon, was an offensive guard with Syracuse in the 1980s. His
grandfather and great-grandfather were world-class cyclists, the
latter taking part in the 1924 Paris Olympics. Brother Dan is a
tight end on his way to the NFL. Brother Chris is top-tier fullback
at Arizona. Brother Gordy is a minor league baseball pitcher.
Brother Glenn, only 16, is about to become the fifth of Gordon and
Diane’s sons to receive an athletic scholarship.
2007: 28 receptions for 525 yards and six
receptions for 672 yards and 10 touchdowns