Mason Schreck got the call he dreamed of, but he wasn’t necessarily expecting two.
The University at Buffalo tight end and Medina native’s phone lit up multiple times during the seventh round of the NFL Draft on Saturday. Teams were jockeying for his services as a nondrafted free agent.
A verbal agreement was in place to join the Philadelphia Eagles, but Schreck’s life changed minutes later when the Cincinnati Bengals grabbed him with the 251st selection, two spots ahead of the final pick known as “Mr. Irrelevant.”
Schreck joined Wadsworth’s Gene Gosssage (1958), Highland’s Jim Ritcher (1980) and Cloverleaf’s Kyle Juszczyk (2013) as NFL draft choices who attended Medina County high schools.
Hinckley Township’s Connor Cook (2016) graduated from Walsh Jesuit High.
The 6-foot-4, 253-pound Schreck got the news in Fort Myers, Fla., with his parents (Todd and Wendy), brother (Evan), girlfriend (Ally Peters) and grandparents by his side.
“I was on the phone with my agent,” Schreck said at a news conference. “He told me we were set with Philly. That was where I was heading. I had my contract figured out and everything.
“Not more than 2 minutes later, coach (Marvin) Lewis called me and broke the news to me. Honestly, I just broke down in tears. I’m so excited to get to Cincinnati.”
Schreck made an official predraft visit to the Queen City — he also visited the Detroit Lions — so the selection was not a surprise. The Bengals did not attend the Buffalo Pro Day in March, when Schreck ran a 4.76-
second 40-yard dash, flashed a 34ﾽ-inch vertical jump and broad jumped 9-10.
Schreck compiled 108 receptions for 1,120 yards and six touchdowns in his career. He was named to the Mackey Award preseason watch list as one of the top tight ends in the country before his senior season and justified the honor with 59 catches for 651 yards. The latter total was a school record for the position.
“My role (at Buffalo) was to be a hybrid guy,” said Schreck, who shares agent Joe Linta with Juszczyk, the highest-paid fullback in NFL history. “I was flexed out my whole career pretty much. We ran a lot of two tight-end sets, where I was the primary receiver most of the time. My game is very similar to (Bengals star) Tyler Eifert’s. That’s who I looked up to for most of my career in college.”
Schreck chose to attend Buffalo over Toledo in August 2011 after competing at quarterback camps all over the Midwest. Schreck was a two-year starting QB at Medina, compiling 1,437 passing yards and 12 touchdowns — ranking 11th and eighth in school history — and was at the helm for the come-from-behind Division I playoff upset at Canton McKinley on Nov. 6, 2010.
“What a dream come true!” Schreck said in a Facebook post. “So thankful to be able to represent the city of Medina, my school in Buffalo and my family in this next chapter of my life. Can’t thank my amazing family and my beautiful girlfriend enough for all of their support since the very beginning. Overwhelmed with emotion and can’t wait to get to work! WHODEY”
Positions changed when Schreck reached Buffalo, as he was moved to tight end and saw action as a Wildcat quarterback as a freshman while also catching 17 passes for 147 yards. Schreck was the secondary tight end the next two years, but he emerged as the top target as a senior.
“He’s a big kid, physical kid, and good receiver of the football,” coach Lewis said. “He’s just a good all-around prospect and a good, young guy to have in the fold and compete at that spot.”
The Bengals have 2015 Pro Bowl selection Eifert and two other tight ends on the roster. Schreck’s immediate competition will be C.J. Uzomah (25 receptions, 234 yards, TD last season) and 2015 third-round pick Tyler Kroft (10, 92).
“Every time I’ve gone to Cincinnati, I’ve had a pretty good feeling, so to say I play for the Bengals is pretty cool,” Schreck said.
Contact Albert Grindle at (330) 721-4043 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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