If you thought Willie Cauley-Stein was hard to defend on a basketball court, wait until you see him on the gridiron.
The 7-foot Kentucky star, a first-team All-SEC player, played one season for Olathe Northwest High School in Kansas. That year he tallied 64 receptions for 1,265 yards and 15 touchdowns. That's a staggering average of 20 yards per catch.
As his undefeated Wildcats prepare for the NCAA tournament and look to become the first team in four decades to go undefeated, several high school highlight tapes of Cauley-Stein have emerged. He looks like a man among boys:
Here's a good look at football highlights interspersed with basketball highlights:
At 7-feet tall, Cauley-Stein is about four inches taller than former Eagles wideout Harold Carmichael, who at 6-foot-8 was the tallest receiver to ever play in the NFL.
"You just can't imagine seeing a human being that size in pads," Olathe athletic director Jay Novacek told the Sporting News of Cauley-Stein. “Even though Willie was relatively skinny in high school, with just how much more massive he looked in pads and a helmet, you go from a seven-foot person to 7-5. It looked like a wall.”
But Cauley-Stein never got beyond high school football, in part because he had emerged as a blue chip basketball recruit before his senior year. In fact, Kentucky coach John Calipari watched Cauley-Stein from the sidelines several days before he committed to the Wildcats. With his future coach in attendance, Cauley-Stein caught a 57-yard touchdown pass and helped his team clinch a playoff berth.