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From Unknown To First Rounder, Jack Conklin's Rise


Now considered one of the top prospects for the 2016 NFL Draft, it wasn't that long ago Jack Conklin struggled to find a college to give him a chance.

It was just four years ago and Jack Conklin was far off recruiting radars.

The Plainwell (Mich.) High School product wasn't getting any offers to play college football at the Division I level.

He considered going to Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia before eventually, hopefully, catching on with a top program.

But after Michigan State came in with a preferred walk-on offer late, Conklin decided to join the Spartans.

Midway through his redshirt freshman season, Conklin received a scholarship offer from the school.

Three years later, he was named a 2015 first-team All-Big Ten selection along with first-team All-American honors from The Sporting News and USA Today.

"It was actually crazy; I was looking on signing day to see what we got. I was thinking where I was four years ago and I was thinking I had no idea where I was going to be," Conklin recalled at the NFL Combine in February. "To be here now four years later training for the Combine and possibly being a first-round pick, it's crazy. I think about it all the time. It's the chip-on-the-shoulder mentality that's the thing that drives me every day to see how far I've come and how close I was to not having this chance."

Indeed, Conklin's story is quite special.

He could be one of the first offensive linemen taken this year, ahead of players that got far more offers than him coming out of high school.

So with high marks from NFL scouts, Conklin left school a year early.

Check out images of offensive tackle Jack Conklin during his collegiate career at Michigan State.

"One of my goals going into college [was] I wanted to be an All-American and to accomplish that this year and to be a part of the Rose Bowl team and Cotton Bowl team and then the playoff team," Conklin said. "It's been my third year starting, I felt this was the time to take the next step and my dream of being an NFL player."

Of his 38 career starts, 35 came at left tackle.

Like other young offensive tackles, though, Conklin may be asked to play right tackle at first.

"I think quite a few teams about possibly playing the right side, and see how it goes into camp," Conklin said. "See how it goes, a lot of teams have projected at least starting off at that right side.''

Conklin told reporters though that he can easily play left tackle in the NFL, too.

He's dropped more than 10 pounds off his frame during the draft process, an effort to become quicker off the line.

"I think it just comes with athleticism," Conklin said of playing left tackle. "I think a lot of teams will see that [with the 40-yard dash]. A lot of teams don't know.…Hopefully that helps them think this guy can play left tackle, too."

His 40 time?

Five seconds flat, fourth best among offensive linemen at the Combine.




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