The 2018 Big Ten’s Defensive Player of the Year was a consensus All-American a year after being named a first-team All-Big Ten selection. He was named a back-to-back Academic All-Big Ten performer. We spotlighted the fact that his leadership within the program was verified when he became just the second non-senior to be elected captain during the Jim Harbaugh-era. His father, Devin, Sr., was a first-round draft pick of the Atlanta Falcons in the 1995 NFL Draft after starring at Florida State.
Former Penn State tight end Mike Gesicki has all of the tools to become one of the NFL’s next multi-dimensional tight ends. The former Under Armour All-American and Southern Regional High School (N.J.) basketball and volleyball standout often leapt over the competition in Happy Valley. He is a player who has shown a knack for the clutch grabs on some of the team’s biggest stages. We caught up with the Academic All-Big Ten standout during the week of 2018 Senior Bowl practices to discuss his confidence, athleticism and goals for the future.
DN: In terms of your week (Senior Bowl 2018) how have you felt it has gone? Seems like you’ve been a tough match-up for a lot of the guys covering you, both safeties and linebackers. How have you felt about your route running?
Gesicki: I felt really good all week. Starting on Tuesday and leading all the way up to this practice and then through it. Felt really good. I’m a kind of guy that’s really confident in my abilities. So when I line up I know I’m going to win. Whether it’s man coverage or if it’s zone I’m going to find that open spot. So, all week in the one-on-ones that’s all of the stuff that I take pride in. It’s you versus another man and I’m doing whatever I can to win.
DN: It seems like a lot of your numbers that you’ve had -in terms of your workout numbers- were amazing in school. 10’7″ broad, you run in the 4.5-range and 38, 39-inch vertical. Talk a little bit about some of your goals for the combine and Pro Days.
Gesicki: Yeah, the combine…that’s kind of something that people ask me, ‘Are you nervous for the combine?’, all that kind of stuff. No, I’m not nervous at all. That’s kind of what I do. I run fast, I jump high, I’m strong, all that kind of stuff. So when I go to the combine I’ve got goals and aspirations that I want to reach. Whatever it is I’m going to continue to train and continue to work hard. I obviously want to run anywhere around the 4.55-range in that area (40-yard dash). Like you said, I want to get up in the long jump and try to break the record of 11’2″ for tight ends. I want to get somewhere around 11’3. Just continue to show off my athletic ability.
DN: Finally, confidence has always been a big part of your game. When you get a one-on-one matchup, you’ve wanted the ball throughout your career. Talk a little bit about what brings that out in you.
Gesicki: My entire life it’s just kind of been who I am in terms of confidence. Playing basketball growing up, if there was three seconds left I want to take the last shot. Now (at PSU) if we are in the Red Zone, one-on-one, I want the ball. Last play of the game, put it up to me on third down. Whatever it is, that’s just kind of who I am. I’m a big-time competitor. I’m going to do whatever it takes to win. I’m very confident in my abilities. So when I get out on the field and my number is called, I know I’m going to come up and deliver.
DN: Best of luck man. Appreciate the time.
Gesicki: Thank you very much.
—-2018 Senior Bowl practices, Day 3
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