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TE Adam Shaheen: Division II to Round Two?


Four years ago, Adam Shaheen was a 195-pounder accepting a scholarship offer to play basketball at Division II University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown.

Now he's a 278-pounder on the verge of possibly being picked on the second day of the NFL Draft.

How did Shaheen get from there to here?

"A lot of Chipotle burritos. A lot of burritos," he said. "No, in all honesty it was a lot of burritos."

OK, so a bunch of burritos was key to Shaheen adding the weight necessary for him to find himself in this position, but there was a little more to it than that. A two-sport standout in Ohio but an undersized one on the football field – "Ohio State wasn't knocking on my door to come play football," Shaheen said – he went the basketball route initially but not for long.

"I actually went to a football game the fall of that year, and it just put a bug in me," he said. "I was like, 'You know what, no matter what I've gotta do, if it's walking on at a Division II school, that's what I've gotta do.'

"So I got in contact with a couple small schools — Ohio Dominican and Ashland — and the rest is history, as they say."

Shaheen transferred to Ashland, a Division II school in his home state, after scoring 143 points and grabbing 80 rebounds as a freshman hoopster. His first year of college football, his yardage total barely topped his rebound total, as Shaheen – then up to 225 pounds – caught two passes for 85 yards as Ashland's third tight end.

In 2015, however, up to 260 pounds, Shaheen became a playmaker, breaking a Division II record for tight ends with 70 catches, amassing 803 yards and scoring 10 touchdowns. The NFL took notice, and Shaheen found himself fully on their radar before last season.

"The beginning of this year when camp opened, scouts started rolling through, watching practice," Shaheen said. "It was pretty consistent. Just about every practice, there was some kind of scout there."

Shaheen was a model of consistency on the field, setting a school record with 16 touchdowns in 2016 while catching 57 balls for 867 yards. His physical transformation to tight end complete – he played in the 275-pound range last season – Shaheen opted to forgo his senior year to enter the NFL Draft. Some believe he could be rewarded with a second-round selection.

"Shaheen's tape almost looks like a video game," ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay wrote in a recent two-round mock draft where he identified Shaheen as a mid-second-rounder. "He practically ran over opposing defenses with a size/speed combination you rarely see at the TE position."

Shaheen said this is all very humbling, and he could be humbled all over again as an NFL rookie. He obviously didn't face elite competition and is still relatively new to the position.

"It's going to be completely different," Shaheen admitted. "Am I able translate my game to the next level? I think I have the size, speed and athleticism. With the right coaching, it's going to be a good opportunity for me."

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