One of the scariest sights ever seen on a football field has been snapped up to play in the NFL after an athletic display never seen before.
The Washington Football Team found themselves their very own Hulk.
Sammis Reyes — a 2.01m, 109kg athletic anomaly and former Division I basketball player from Chile — will kick-start his football career in Washington as a tight end, the team announced on Wednesday.
The 25-year-old was initially slated to begin his NFL journey as a top prospect in the league’s International Player Pathway (IPP) program, which strives to give athletes professional opportunities.
But Washington swooped in to sign Reyes after he impressed pro scouts at the University of Florida’s Pro Day on March 31 — following 10 weeks of training at IMG Academy in Florida, alongside 10 others.
Reyes turned heads because of his athleticism and size. But he backed up the pre-draft hype by putting up glaring numbers, including a vertical jump of 40 inches. Additionally, he recently tested as the most-athletic size-adjusted tight end to ever enter the NFL, per the Relative Athletic Score.
Reyes joins Washington tight ends Logan Thomas and Marcus Baugh — and hopes to become part of the unique list of athletes who’ve transitioned from DI basketball players into successful tight ends: including likely future Hall of Famers in Antonio Gates and Tony Gonzalez.
Reyes, who grew up in Chile before moving to the United States at age 14, was a standout at North Broward Prep in Florida, where football coaches pleaded with him to play, in addition to his then-budding basketball career. But, after a few practices at the tight end position, Reyes concluded then that the risk of on-field injury wasn’t worth his basketball future.
“I wanted to go to the NBA; that was my dream my entire childhood, and of course it never happened,” Reyes told the South Florida Sun Sentinel. “So when I was 23, my current agent, my family and my close friends, they were like, … ‘You’ve got to give this football thing a shot. You’re fast, you’re strong, you’re powerful.’ So my friends, my best friends, and everybody around me convinced me to give it a shot.”
After a sporadic two seasons playing collegiate basketball for Tulane, Reyes made the decision to commit to football.
Reyes has been working with Justin Kavanaugh of the Sport and Speed Institute to make the transition in between sports.
“After the [first] workout, coach [Kavanaugh] was like, ‘Hey, man, you’ll be in the league. Let’s get you right,’” Reyes told the Sun-Sentinel.
“So I started working out with him, and it’s every single day, we’re training at least six hours a day. Sunday is the one day I take off.
“But whether it’s speed work in the morning — like linear speed, lateral speed — then running routes in the afternoon, always a heavy lifting session. My life for the past year has been living in the gym and running and getting in the best shape of my life.”