Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington’s record-setting tight end, is heading to Tampa Bay to join a handful of other former Huskies on one NFL roster. Bishop Sankey, the Huskies’ groundbreaking running back, is off to Tennessee to play alongside another popular UW alum.
Seferian-Jenkins and Sankey, each of whom opted to enter the NFL draft after their junior season, were validated for their early entry on Friday. Each was selected in the second round, with Seferian-Jenkins going with the 38th overall pick to the Buccaneers and Sankey at No. 54 to the Titans.
As his name was announced, a TV camera captured Seferian-Jenkins at his family’s Fox Island home. He laughed and handed out hugs.
In Tampa Bay, Seferian-Jenkins will join three other former Huskies on the Bucs roster: linebacker Mason Foster, defensive end Daniel Te’o-Nesheim and safety Dashon Goldson.
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“I’m going to bring explosiveness. I’m going to bring playmaking ability. I’m going to bring blocking. I’m going to bring an all-around tight end who can play on all three downs, and a guy who’s going to work hard, chase Super Bowls and try to win as many games as possible,” Seferian-Jenkins said in a conference call.
In his three seasons, the 6-foot-5, 262-pound Seferian-Jenkins broke nearly every record for a UW tight end, including career receptions (146), career yards (1,838) and career touchdowns (21).
In 2013, Seferian-Jenkins became the first Husky to win the John Mackey Award, given to the nation’s top tight end. He is the 10th UW tight end drafted into the NFL, and the first since the Seahawks selected Jerramy Stevens in the first round in 2002.
Sankey, meanwhile, was the first running back selected in the draft. Continuing a recent trend that has devalued the position, it is the latest that a first running back has been selected in the history of the NFL draft.
“I couldn’t be more excited. … Man, it just feels awesome,” Sankey said in a conference call.
In 2013, Sankey broke the UW season rushing record with 1,870 yards and he holds the school’s career rushing touchdown record with 37. He is the first UW running back drafted since Rashaan Shehee went in the third round to Kansas City in 1998.
In Tennessee, Sankey will play with former UW star quarterback Jake Locker, the Titans’ first-round selection in 2011. Sankey, the former Gonzaga Prep (Spokane) standout, is expected to get an opportunity to contribute right away next season for the Titans, who parted ways with former Pro Bowl running back Chris Johnson this offseason.
“What he brings to us is a great deal of versatility, vision, feet, the ability to catch the football — which is what we were looking for,” Titans general manager Ruston Webster said.
Sankey said the Titans were the only team in recent weeks to fly him in for a visit to the team’s headquarters in Nashville.
“I got a great feel when I went down on my visit. All the coaches there were great, and it was definitely a place that I wanted to be,” Sankey said. “It really is a true blessing to be the first running back taken. I’m just ready to get there and get to work.”
Adam Jude: 206-464-2364
On Twitter: @a_jude