During the Pete Carroll era, the Seahawks have a proven track record of developing talent. Russell Wilson, Earl Thomas, D.K. Metcalf, and Bobby Wagner were all drafted by Seattle and have made significant contributions to the franchise. The front office made an interesting signing, giving their talent development staff their biggest challenge yet.
Mark Vital is coming off of a college basketball national championship
From 2012 to 2016, Mark Vital was a star basketball player at Washington-Marion High School in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Coming out, he was rated as a four-star prospect and the No. 63 overall player in the country by 247Sports. He received scholarship offers from Western Kentucky and Baylor.
Vital decided to commit to Scott Drew’s Baylor Bears. The Lake Charles native was a four-year starter at Baylor and brought some unique attributes to the team. He was not nearly the scorer that players like Jared Butler, Davion Mitchell, and MaCio Teague were. Vital averaged just 6.4 points throughout his career.
The 6-foot-5 forward impacted the game in other ways, though. He was a good rebounder for his size. He excelled on the defensive end of the floor. Vital was a two-time Big 12 All-Defense selection.
The Baylor Bears were one of the best college basketball teams in the nation in 2020. They finished with a 28-2 record in the regular season, good for first in the Big 12 conference. The Bears put together an impressive NCAA Tournament run, culminating in a national championship victory over Gonzaga.
Vital’s role in the championship journey cannot be overlooked.
The Seattle Seahawks signed Vital to their practice squad
The Seahawks have plenty of talent in their receiving corps. Wide receiver D.K. Metcalf exploded in his sophomore season. Tyler Lockett has been one of Russell Wilson’s security blankets over the past few seasons. The front office drafted Dee Eskridge out of Western Michigan to add more speed and playmaking ability.
So why give Mark Vital a look? He won’t pose any threat to the wide receivers on the roster. Seattle signed him as a tight end, which makes perfect sense considering his build. The former hoops star went undrafted in the 2021 NBA Draft and played with the Portland Trail Blazers in the NBA summer league.
Silencing rumors about him possibly returning to Baylor to play college football, Vital announced his intentions to pursue an NFL dream on Twitter.
“Often, the greatest paths take us to some unexpected places,” Vital said in a hype video. His path had landed him on the Seattle Seahawks practice squad. While he had options to make a career in basketball, he’s making the transition to the football field. He’s hungry to be great.
Mark Vital believes he can be a Hall of Fame talent for the Seahawks
Vital has posted several videos of him participating in drills to prepare for his football career. The transition won’t be easy, though. Basketball has been his life since high school. The Baylor standout hasn’t played organized football since middle school.
Despite the lack of playing experience, he does have the tools to be a successful tight end. Vital’s athleticism was on full display at Baylor, evidenced by his numerous rim-rattling dunks and chase-down blocks. He stands 6-foot-5 and weighs about 250 pounds.
He’s following in the footsteps of tight ends who played college basketball, including Jimmy Graham, Tony Gonzalez, and fellow Baylor grad Rico Gathers.
However, Vital says he’s already getting compared to another basketball player who made a move to tight end. “I’m already getting compared to Antonio Gates from different scouts and teams when hearing them talk about me,” he said in an interview with KPLC 7. “He and I are both explosive, fast, and big. We are built the same.”
Vital possess an NFL frame and an ideal combination of size and speed. The Seahawks currently have Gerald Everett and Will Dissly on the roster at tight end. The path to the active roster will be challenging, but it’s not impossible.
Mark Vital believes he has a bright NFL future ahead of him. “I feel like I can be a Hall of Famer.”
All stats courtesy of College Basketball Reference