A high school basketball player, Jets fourth-round selection tight end Chris Herndon said he literally grew out of hoops and committed to playing football as an upperclassman.
"I just noticed around ninth and 10th grade. I started working out more and getting bulkier," he said. "Honestly, I got too strong for basketball and football just seemed natural to me."
There's a laundry list of successful basketball players converted to tight ends, with Packers TE Jimmy Graham being one of the more recent. However, the 6'4", 253-pound Herndon doesn't want to compare himself to anyone who's made that switch prior.
"There are a lot of different tight ends and each is unique in their own way," he said. "It's hard to say I'm really like somebody, but as far as growing up, I always looked up to Antonio Gates, Tony Gonzalez and those types."
Herndon also takes pride in his blocking and said he's not scared to "get down there" and put his hand in the dirt.
The Miami (FL) product didn't have a ton of pre-draft interaction with the Green & White and is looking forward to arriving at One Jets Drive next week for rookie minicamp. Herndon has been to the New York area once in his lifetime as a 10- or 11-year-old for a family spring break trip.
"We're just sitting and watching," he said of his friends and family. "I had my phone face down, but I felt it start vibrating and when I looked, it was a New Jersey number calling. It was a big surprise."
Herndon played high school football with Giants third-round pick OLB Lorenzo Carter and is excited to be in the same area as the former Bulldog.
"I texted him last night," Herndon said. "I'm sure he texted me now, but my phone is going crazy so I can't really tell."
Meet the Jets Fourth-Round Draft Pick