Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Ex-hoops Cat Onobun works out for NFL squads

Citizen Staff Writer



Football could be in Fendi Onobun’s future.

Over the weekend, the former Arizona basketball player worked out for the New England Patriots, Carolina Panthers and Buffalo Bills. He was joined by former Wildcat football players B.J. Dennard and Marquis Hundley.

“It is a crash course,” Onobun said, although he worked on getting ready for the workout. “Now I’m just learning about all the terminology, trying to make things happen.”

Last month, in a conversation with the Citizen at the NCAA Sweet 16 in Indianapolis, Onobun wondered out loud if there were any Indianapolis Colts scouts in the building.

“It would be a challenge,” he said. “It’s worth giving it a shot if the opportunity is there.”

The reserve forward never played football, but he has the seemingly perfect build for it. He’s 6 feet 6 inches tall, 250 pounds.

That caught the attention of NFL scouts over the weekend.

“It went really well,” Onobun said.

He said he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds. He had a vertical leap of 37 1/2 inches and his broad jump was 10 feet, 7 inches.

“As far as feedback, I heard I ran really good for a guy my size,” he said. “Most tight ends were in the 4.6, 4.7 range.”

At last month’s NFL combine, the best time for a tight end was 4.5 by South Carolina’s Jared Cook, who also had the best broad jump at 10-3. Onobun’s vertical jump would have been second to Cook’s 41 inches.

“It’s cool,” Onobun said of his numbers. “I’m an athlete. I know that. Running and jumping and doing that is not that hard. I did some training with people after the season and during the season, nothing strenuous.

“But it’s a matter of (people asking): Can he take a hit; can he learn the game quick enough?”

Onobun, who just finished his career with the basketball team, said football may be the way to go because “obviously I’m not going to get drafted or I don’t think I will, considering I’ve never played a down. Right now, it’s wait and see.”

Onobun, 22, said former Duke basketball player Greg Paulus has looked into the NFL, reportedly working out in Michigan.

Former Cleveland State player J’Nathan Bullock also expressed interest in the NFL, and Pitt star DeJuan Blair regards the NFL as a potential fallback option if he doesn’t make it big in the NBA, the Sporting News reported.

Onobun said he went to an annual high school football all-star game where his best friend, Martellus Bennett – a Dallas Cowboy – and Paulus played in the game.

“(Paulus) played football and he was good,” Onobun said.

Onobun said what makes all this exciting is, “I’ve never done this before and a lot of people have been in my ear to try it out.”

Onobun, who has not signed with an agent, said he hopes to land in an NFL minicamp.

“My heart is basketball,” he said, “but it’s not like I have NBA scouts calling me. If someone (in football) wants to take a look, what can it hurt? I’ll give it a shot and see what happens.”

‘It would be a challenge. It’s worth giving it a shot if the opportunity is there.’


on his chances in the NFL

• INSIDE: UA men’s basketball recruit expects ASU to boo him. 2C UA women sign 2 to help inside. 5C


Some notable NFLers who played basketball, not football, in college:


Player, pos. NFL team College

Antonio Gates, TE Chargers Kent State

Marcus Pollard, TE Falcons Bradley


Sam Clancy, DE-DT Colts Pittsburgh

Wesley Duke, TE Broncos Mercer

Pete Gent, TE Cowboys Michigan St.

Cornell Green, DB Cowboys Utah St.

Ken Johnson, DE-DT Bengals Indiana

Wayne Moore,OT Dolphins Lamar

Preston Pearson, RB-DB Cowboys Illinois

Lonnie Wright, DB Broncos Colorado St.

Our Digital Archive

This blog page archives the entire digital archive of the Tucson Citizen from 1993 to 2009. It was gleaned from a database that was not intended to be displayed as a public web archive. Therefore, some of the text in some stories displays a little oddly. Also, this database did not contain any links to photos, so though the archive contains numerous captions for photos, there are no links to any of those photos.

There are more than 230,000 articles in this archive.

In TucsonCitizen.com Morgue, Part 1, we have preserved the Tucson Citizen newspaper's web archive from 2006 to 2009. To view those stories (all of which are duplicated here) go to Morgue Part 1

Search site | Terms of service