Chile’s Sammis Reyes: Former D1 hoopster’s NFL Pro Day was a slam dunk

Antonio Gates, Anthony Gonzales, Jimmy Graham, and others were all certified college basketball players competing with their teams for spots in March Madness before blossoming into some of the best tight ends in the NFL. Others such as Moe-Ali Cox, Julius Thomas, and Rico Gathers have followed their footsteps as the copycat NFL continues to search for the elite physical traits that make up a professional tight end.

The NFL may have found their next basketball player turned red zone threat in Chilean athlete Sammis Reyes.

Breaking News: Washington has signed Sammi Reyes to a free agent contract.

Reyes is a former Tulane University (NCAA D1) Green Wave basketball player who along with 10 other international prospects competed at the University of Florida’s Pro Day on April 1st. The 6’5 260 pound former hoopster drew buzz from media and coaches alike with his impressive combine results.

According to NFL Network analyst and long-time NFL football executive, Scott Pioli, Reyes ran a 4.64 in the 40 yard dash and reached 31 bench press reps while producing a 40″ vertical and 10’5″ leap in the broad jump.

NFL International Player Pathway athletes Sammi Reyes and Austria’s Bernhard Seikovits awaiting their turns Photo: Lemar Griffin

These combine numbers are truly elite and should have NFL scouts across the country drooling. Reyes was one of eleven international prospects selected for the NFL’s International Pathway Player Program. These prospects from around the globe spent the last few months training with NFL coaches to have a chance to be one of four players allocated to a team’s practice squad.

Reyes on his Pro Day:

“I’ve worked for this my whole life. Even though it was for a different sport, I still think that I’ve built my athleticism from scratch. Attitude everything to me is about attitude and how bad I want it.”

It seems the hard work has paid off as the impressive numbers show untapped potential on the gridiron. Reyes is excited to put on the pads and make the switch to American football at the highest level:

“What I like about playing football is the physicality, you know in basketball you have to keep your hands behind your back, you can’t use your hands. Football you can go and grab somebody and just show them who you are. I love that!”

Before working on in line blocking drills with NFL coaches Reyes was a basketball prodigy in Santiago, Chile. He showed promise in the Chilean youth basketball circuit and his home country’s youth national teams. Eventually he earned a basketball scholarship to North Broward Prep School in Florida at the age of 14.

Reyes played extremely well in high school putting up 24.6 points, 13.2 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks per game. Reyes spent his free time playing on the AAU circuit and the U17 Chilean national team. Reyes always had great leaping ability winning a dunk contest at the Campiono Di Domani tournament in Chile.

Reyes on his love of basketball:

“I love basketball, my mom played basketball, my dad played basketball, they both play up until this day. So, I could’ve never imagined the opportunity that I have today.”

Reyes spent a season playing basketball at Loyola University New Orleans

After high school, Reyes attended the University of Hawaii for a semester before tearing his ACL and transferring to Palm Beach State, a community college in California. Reyes proved himself again at the junior college level earning a scholarship to division one Tulane University. The Chilean product spent two seasons coming off the bench for the Green Wave before finishing his college career with one season at Loyola University in Louisiana (NAIA).

When his hoops dreams ended after college, Reyes began looking for his next opportunity as he told Adam Lichtenstein of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

“I wanted to go to the NBA; that was my dream my entire childhood, and of course it never happened,” Reyes said. “So when I was 23, my current agent, my family and my close friends, they were like, … ‘You’ve got to give this football thing a shot. You’re fast, you’re strong, you’re powerful.’ So my friends, my best friends, and everybody around me convinced me to give it a shot.”

Reyes feels as if his transition to the gridiron is complete and his numbers show a phenomenal athlete with sky high potential.

The former Chilean national team power forward explains how determined he is to reach his football goals::

“I want to make the NFL. I’m not here to play games, I’m doing this for fame, I’m not doing this for clout. I’m doing this because I want to get there. I’m hungry, I’m willing to do anything, whatever it takes to get there. I want to be a part of an NFL team and make the 53-man roster.”

Look for Reyes to draw interest from several NFL teams. Transforming basketball players to tight ends has proven to be a successful process in the NFL and teams are always on the lookout for players with Reyes’s athleticism and work ethic.

Alex is a former NCAA and semi-pro American football player who is now located in London, where he works in digital marketing. His goal in writing for AFI is to stay involved with the game that has given him so much. Alex enjoys covering leagues and