UConn’s football program might not be much to celebrate, but they’ve produced some freakish athletes in recent years. The latest proof came Monday morning at the NFL combine, thanks to former Huskies defensive back Obi Melifonwu:
Here’s the thing: Melifonwu’s gravity-defying broad jump certainly qualifies as jaw-dropping, but former teammate Byron Jones jumped 12 feet, 3 inches at the combine two years ago. 12’3”!
UCONN CB Byron Jones 12’3” broad jump would be a world record. Previous record of 3.71 meters (12’2”) has stood since 1968.— Andrew Siciliano (@AndrewSiciliano) February 23, 2015
The similarities don’t end there; Jones vertical measured 44.5 inches (!!). And Melifonwu did this:
The Cowboys selected Jones, a safety, in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft and he’s been a key member of the secondary ever since. Melifonwu, who is listed at 6-4, 219 pounds, is currently the No. 3 safety at CBSSports.com, and is projected to go in the second round.
Former UConn coach Bob Diaco, who previously coached at Notre Dame, had this to say about Melifonwu back in November, shortly before the safety earned first-team All-AAC honors.
“I’ve coached some great secondary players that are having very accomplished careers in the NFL,” Diaco said at the time, via the Hartford Courant. “[Melifonwu] is as physically gifted, or more physically gifted, than those players at that position. ... He has another step to take as a player, which he’ll take. I’d like to name him in alignment with those other players, who are exceptional right now by NFL standards. But I’m not sure that’s appropriate [yet] and he’s definitely a better athlete. [His development] is going to be something.”