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Gronkowski Going Pro
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 01/15/2010
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Jan. 15, 2010

Gronkowski Press Conference

TUCSON--University of Arizona tight end Rob Gronkowski, who missed the 2009 season with a back injury, announced that he will forego his remaining eligibility and enter the 2009 NFL Draft.

Gronkowski, a third-team AP All-American after a breakout 2008 sophomore season, injured his back shortly before the season began and did not play in 2009. He returned to a conditioning regimen about a month ago and has been cleared by a doctor to go full speed.

"I'm ready. It was a difficult decision but I believe I'm ready for the next challenge," Gronkowski said.

Gronkowski technically has two years of college eligibility left, considering 2009 as a redshirt year, although most UA observers expected him to enter the draft following the 2009 season.

"I know this has been a big dream of his for a long time," said UA head coach Mike Stoops. "He certainly possesses the quality you need to play at the next level. It's a great opportunity for him. Hopefully he'll mend properly so he can showcase his extreme talents as a football player."

The decision by a junior was Arizona's third in the last several years. Cornerback Antoine Cason opted to play his senior year in 2007 and offensive tackle Eben Britton deciding to forego his senior year this past season. Gronkowski is Arizona's sixth junior to declare early for the NFL Draft.

All-purpose backs Michael Bates (1993 draft) and Chuck Levy (1994), guard Yusuf Scott (1999) and running back Chris Henry (2007) preceded Britton and Gronkowski.

Gronkowski File

Gronkowski missed all of his junior year in 2009 after a back injury early in fall camp and subsequent surgery. He was a third-team AP All-American in 2008 and the first-team All-Pac-10 tight end. His demonstrated talents make him one of the most complete players at his position in the nation -- blocking skill, open-field power and speed, route-running and catching ability. His 2008 year could have been more record-setting except he missed the first three games of the year with a minor illness. In his first two games back, he scored five touchdowns.  Twice he earned John Mackey National Tight End of the Week honors - once with his career-best 12 receptions for 143 yards at Oregon. He is adept lining up inside or outside, and can catch it over the middle or deep. He's demonstrated strong yards-after-catch ability as a physical player. His touchdown-to-catch ratio of 1:5 shows he is a threat from anywhere on the field. In two years on the field he is the Arizona single-game (12-143), season (47-672) and career (75-924) record-holder for tight end receptions, yards and touchdowns (3 vs. Washington, 10 in 2008, 16 total). He had three career 100-yard games.

 

Career Totals 

Year

G-GS

Rec.

Yards

Avg.

TD

Long

2007

12-9

28

252

18.8

6

57

2008

10-9

47

672

14.3

10

43

Total

22-18

75

924

12.3

16

57

 

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