Carroll County Times

Ravens: Converted basketball player Holloway an intriguing TE prospect

The last time Murphy Holloway played organized football before the Baltimore Ravens' recently completed rookie minicamp was as a sophomore in high school.

Seven years ago.

But in the age where every team is looking for the next Antonio Gates or Jimmy Graham, a basketball player who it can mold into an All-Pro tight end, Holloway represents a particularly intriguing developmental tight end prospect.

Holloway is 6-foot-6, 240 pounds. Anyone who watched Holloway play basketball at Ole Miss is already familiar with his athleticism and leaping ability. And, while raw, Holloway showed glimpses of potential as a pass-catcher at Baltimore's rookie minicamp.

"It's a tough adjustment," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Sunday. "It's different playing basketball and playing football, [but] the thing about Murphy is he has some skills. He can catch. He has nice ball skills. He showed that he has no problem snatching the ball.

"So, the rest of it - just everything from a stance to understanding the plays and all of that - just the way you move in football is a little different than basketball. But he's got a chance. He's a very good athlete, a very hard worker, very willing guy, smart guy."

Ravens wide receiver Tori Gurley offered praise for Holloway via Twitter Sunday following the conclusion of the three-day minicamp.

"[Shout out] to @Murphys_Law31 [Holloway]," Gurley said on Twitter. "Bro looked good at practice this [weekend]."

Those who follow college basketball closely are likely already familiar with Holloway, one of the top players in the SEC the last two seasons.

Holloway was a four-year starter for Ole Miss, a first-team All-SEC selection as a senior last year who finished his career as the Rebels' all-time leading rebounder.

He averaged 14.5 points, 9.7 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 0.7 blocks as a senior last season, helping lead Ole Miss to a 27-9 record, an SEC conference tournament championship and a win in the NCAA tournament.

But Holloway chose to pursue a professional career in football once his senior season ended and worked out for several NFL teams prior to the NFL draft, including the Ravens.

He signed with Baltimore as an undrafted free agent shortly after the conclusion of the draft and will attempt to make the team as a reserve tight end behind Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson.

His primary competition for a roster spot will be Alex Silvestro, who spent much of last season on the Ravens' practice squad, and fellow undrafted free agent Matt Furstenburg (Maryland).

Said Harbaugh: "Obviously around the league now you can go back to [Antonio] Gates as an obvious example, but there have been guys who have [made the transition from basketball to the NFL]. Jimmy Graham played a year in college before he did it, so guys can do it."