INDIANAPOLIS — Projections from draft experts have Stanford's Coby Fleener at or near the top of this year's tight-end rankings. He has first-round potential, but he'll have something to fall back on if for some reason his dream of playing in the NFL doesn't come true.
Fleener said he will be armed with a master's degree in media studies by the time Stanford's academic year is complete, if all goes to plan.
"To have a backup plan and a Stanford education is not a bad thing," he said.
The 23-year-old size-speed prospect will not be participating in any running drills at the Combine this week — he sprained his ankle in the Fiesta Bowl and has been rehabbing from the injury. He will bench-press and interview with teams while in Indianapolis, though, and plans to run at his pro day on March 22.
He handled the media-session portion of his time at the Combine like a pro Thursday, sharing the story of how his mother, Michelle, decided on his first name — Jacoby. Turns out Fleener was actually named after former Redskins offensive lineman Joe Jacoby, a three-time Super Bowl champion and four-time Pro Bowler.
"The story is essentially that mom was watching football on television and saw the name on the back of Joe's jersey, liked the name, turned to my dad and said 'What do you think about naming our son Jacoby?'" Fleener said. "My dad, whose name is Bill, wasn't a big fan of that idea. He wanted his son to be named Bill.
"After a long labor and delivery my mom said 'The one thing I ask is I'd like to name our son.' So, here I am."
His studies at Stanford recently led him to speak with his namesake for the first time. Fleener's professor, Gary Pomerantz, for a sports journalism class is a former Redskins beat writer and was able to help Fleener connect with Jacoby.
"I just recently wrote a story for my sports journalism class that described my interaction with Joe and how things came about," Fleener said. "... Had a great conversation. He's a great guy. Glad to kind of consider him a friend now."
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