When the 2013 NFL Draft ended on Saturday evening, the Baltimore Ravens quickly scattered to sign their targeted undrafted free agents.
One of their targets was Ole Miss basketball player Murphy Holloway. The 6’7, 250 pound forward signed a deal with the Ravens on Saturday despite the fact he hasn’t played football since his sophomore year of high school.
He was planning to enter the NBA, however concerns about his fit in the league led some to believe that his immense athleticism could lead to him having success in the NFL.
Per the request of scouts, Holloway decided to change his career path, and he is now set on making it in the NFL as a tight end. He just began his football training recently after spending two weeks at an NBA camp in Virginia.
“I talked to some of the scouts about football, so I thought about it, and I figure I’d give it a shot,” Holloway said.
Holloway’s size and athleticism have led him to follow in the footsteps of current NFL tight ends Antonio Gates and Jimmy Graham, who focused mainly on basketball in college but have turned out to be among the best at their position in football.
Unlike Graham, Holloway was actually one of his team’s star players in basketball. As one of the most efficient player for Ole Miss last season, Holloway averaged 14.5 points and 9.7 rebounds per game.
He helped lead the Rebels to the NCAA tournament.
The signing of Holloway by Baltimore makes it clear that the team is hoping that Holloway’s athleticism will translate well. Even if he isn’t the next Graham or Gates, his size and athletic ability could lead to success in football.
In order to understand the transition from college basketball to pro football, Holloway reached out to Gates.
“I talked to Melvin Ingram who plays for the Chargers,” Holloway said. ”He told Gates about me and Gates gave me some advice about making the transition.”
To make the quick change from basketball to football, Holloway has been focusing on football-specific drills.
“For me, it’s small technique things like running the 40 and doing cone drills,” Holloway said. “Doing small things that make you get better at the sport. For football, I think it’s mainly small things.”
Holloway noted that the Ravens weren’t the only teams interested in signing him as an undrafted free agent. The Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs tried to sign him to a deal as well, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers met with him during the draft process.
Ultimately, he chose the Ravens because he saw Baltimore as the proper place to make a name for himself in the league.
“I thought they had a good plan for me,” Holloway said. “I talked to Michael Oher and some other guys out there and I’m just grateful for the opportunity.”
Having spent not even a full month focusing on football since Ole Miss was eliminated from the tournament, catching on in the NFL won’t come easy for Holloway, but his athletic capability and potential could lead to him sticking around with the team.
He joins Maryland’s Matt Furstenburg as the only other tight end signed by the Ravens as an undrafted free agent. The Ravens have uncertainty right now at the third tight end spot, but the practice squad could be a viable option for Holloway as he continues to learn the game of football.
“I’m just excited about the NFL, the opportunity and the chance to just jump right in and play football.”