Pac-12: Fendi Onobun

Pac-10 ranks third on draft day

April, 26, 2010
Twenty-eight Pac-10 players were selected in the NFL draft over the weekend, which means the conference ranked third among BCS conference for producing draft picks per team.

(Note: A lot of sources are crediting the Pac-10 with 29 draft picks, but they are including tight end Fendi Onobun, who played basketball for Arizona but football for Houston last year).

While the Pac-10 beat the SEC the previous two years, the SEC produced 49 draft picks this go-around, an average of 4.08 per team, which was just under a player per team better than the Big Ten (3.09) and two players better than the Pac-10 (2.8).

While it's worthy of note that the Pac-10 averages 15.5 starters returning in 2010 while the SEC averages 14.25, any way you cut it, 49 draft picks is extraordinary.

Here's the list:

Some notes:

  • The Big 12 had nine picks in the first round, including five of the first six. The Pac-10 had 13 in the second and third round. Thirty of the SEC picks came in the first four rounds. The Big Ten had 10 in the seventh round.
  • USC may not have dominated the early rounds as usual but it still produced seven draft picks, which tied Alabama and Oklahoma for second among college programs. Florida produced nine draft picks to rank No. 1.
  • Utah led non-AQ teams with six draft picks.
  • Arizona State finished ninth in the Pac-10 in 2009 but it produced four draft picks, second best in the conference. Oregon, California, Stanford and UCLA produced three apiece. Washington and Arizona had two players drafted, Oregon State one. Washington State didn't have a player selected for the first time in 15 drafts.
  • Last year, 32 Pac-10 players were picked.

Hoops to football: Why not more often?

April, 21, 2009

Posted by's Ted Miller

This article caught my eye this morning. It's about Arizona's Fendi Onobun, who's 6-foot-6, 250 pounds and loaded with athletic ability.

He's got NFL dreams.

What's the issue? Onobun, as many of you already know, played basketball for the Wildcats, not football. Beyond that, he said he's never even played football before.

So, yes, his chances of reaching the NFL are remote. But not impossible.

This story also sparked my memory. I covered Auburn back in 1997, and Terry Bowden's Tigers were hurting at tight end.

I recall a couple of the beat writers, in our always helpful way, telling Bowden we'd found him one: Adrian Chilliest.

Chilliest was a 6-foot-5 forward on the Tigers' basketball team. He had limited offensive skills but was a tough, physical presence on the court.

In other words, he was a tight end masquerading as a basketball player.

So he was a lot like thousands of young men who are that size and playing the wrong sport.

Guys that size often dominate high school basketball. They may even be good enough to get a college scholarship, as Chilliest was.

But a guy that size who doesn't have wicked ball skills, incredible leaping ability or a dead-eyed shot isn't going to get paid for playing basketball.

On the football field, however, the critical measure is 6-foot-5.

You can't teach 6-foot-5, and a lot of coaches will tell you that size with good feet is like precious clay that can be molded into a lot of different things.

Of course, there's another critical, intangible asset that's hard to measure: toughness.

Football is harder than basketball. It's more mentally and physically taxing. Practicing football -- particularly in the Alabama humidity -- isn't fun.

You never know how a guy will react after he gets the snot knocked out of him for the first time. Plenty of high school football stars wilt when they get to college and everyone else is just as big and fast and maybe a bit meaner.

Still, as a guy whose primary sport is football but who sometimes covers basketball, too, I often find myself looking at a small forward who averages eight points and nine rebounds a game and thinking: tight end, defensive end or left tackle?