University of Louisville tight end Josh Chichester made great strides of accomplishing his “ultimate goal” of playing professional football during the school’s pro day Wednesday.
According to his former high school coach, Lakota West’s Larry Cox, Chichester measured out at 6-foot-6 235 pounds, had a vertical jump that cleared 37 inches and turned in a 40-yard dash time of 4.58 seconds in front of representatives of 20 NFL teams.
In comparison, his 40-yard time would have tied him for the third place among tight ends during the NFL Combine in Indianapolis in late February. Furthermore, his 37-inch vertical was better than any jump turned in by tight end at the Combine.
Out of high school, Chichester’s athletic ability on both the football field and on the basketball court attracted the attention of many Division I programs. He was actually close to playing football at Ohio State, until the Buckeyes took away their offer. Other schools, Chichester seriously considered for both sports, included Purdue, Illinois, Tennessee and Pittsburgh, to name a few.
“Josh was a tremendous athlete, he had Division I basketball offers as well as football offers,” Cox said. “But he has always, really loved football and that has always been a passion for him.”
Chichester passion for football led him to sign with U-of-L and head coach Bobby Petrino, who left for the Atlanta Falcons job before Chichester participated in a single practice. Chichester described the coaching change as “a tough time” for him and the other recruits. However, he has enjoyed playing for head coach Steve Kragthorpe (hired in 2007 and fired in November of 2009) and for current head coach Charlie Strong.
Meanwhile, his basketball career at U-of-L lasted one year when he averaged 1.8 points in six games for U-of-L head coach Rick Pitino in 2007-2008.
“My ultimate goal is to play professional football,” Chichester said. “As I grew older and wiser, I realized…I couldn’t worry about being a dual-sport athlete, so I decided to drop basketball.”
Chichester was also a dual-position player for the Cardinals in 2010, splitting time between tight end and wide receiver. Out of high school, he was recruited only as a wide receiver.
“Playing tight end never came up until last year (2010) when I was bigger, faster, stronger, which I had to be in order to play the position,” Chichester said. “The transition was not as difficult as I thought it would be. The difficult part was learning the proper blocking techniques and schemes.
“I hope it helps me (reach the NFL), but I was determined to play wide receiver or any other position to help our team.”
In his four-year career, Chichester had 97 receptions for 1,253 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also graduated from Louisville with a degree in justice administration in 2010. This past season, Chichester was working on his master’s degree.
According to Cox, due to his performance Wednesday, Chichester has been invited to a regional combine in Detroit in late March. The NFL Draft is scheduled to take place April 26-28.