Kansas State fullback Glenn Gronkowski, the youngest brother of the uber-athletic Gronkowski family, told Sports Illustrated on Saturday night that he plans to forgo his final year of college and declare for the NFL draft. Gronkowski completed his redshirt junior season on Saturday in the Wildcats 45-23 loss to Arkansas in the Liberty Bowl.
“I think it’s the right time,” Gronkowski, 22, said. “Time to move on.”
Gronkowski will enter the NFL draft process with a strong pedigree and modest statistics. He’s a 6’3”, 234-pound fullback who carried the ball 11 times for 45 yards and one touchdown this season. Kansas State used him some in the hybrid role as a tight end, as he caught 15 career passes for 369 yards and five touchdowns in his career. He’s also played special teams throughout his career. “I think I can be used at a lot of different positions,” he said. “I can play wherever a coach wants me to play and help out the best I can.”
If Gronkowski makes the NFL, he’ll help his family become part of history. Three of Gronkowski’s older brothers – Rob, Dan and Chris – have already played in the NFL. Rob Gronkowski has emerged as one of the best tight ends in NFL history while Dan and Chris are both retired. When the three brothers played simultaneously in 2011 a Yale student calculated the odds of that at 1 in 31 million.
The Gronkowski’s could be the second family to have four brothers play in the NFL in the Super Bowl era. Only the Browner family in that time—Jim, Joey, Keith and Ross, who played from 1979 through '87—has put four brothers on NFL rosters. The Fuller family should also put a fourth brother in the NFL this year as Virginia Tech corner Kendall Fuller projects as a high pick and will join brothers Kyle (Bears), Corey (Lions) and Vincent (retired) as the fourth brother to make an NFL roster.
Glenn Gronkowski said that’s always been a goal for he and his brothers.
“That’s one of our long-term goals,” Glenn Gronkowski said, “to have this happen.”
Gronkowski added that seeing his older brothers battle injuries factored into his decision. While he’s stayed generally healthy at Kansas State, he knows how vicious the NFL can be. “The NFL is a lot more physical, and fullback is definitely one of the most physical positions," he said. "There’s only so many hits on your body like that.”
Glenn Gronkowski graduated in December with degrees in marketing and management and a minor in leadership. He graduated cum laude with a 3.8 GPA and earned first-team All Academic Team Big 12.