Rob Gronkowski played only his senior year at Woodland Hills High School after transferring from out of state. In talking today with Woodland Hills coach George Novak about some old times at Woodland Hills, he shared a memorable story about Gronkowski, the current NFL star.
Woodland Hills went away for preseason camp and the team brought along a new jugs football passing machine. It shot balls to receivers at different speeds. At one of the first practices, receivers would have to step up and catch passes. Some had trouble catching the passes.
When it was Gronkowski's turn, he stepped up and caught every pass. He asked if the passes could come at a higher speed - and then higher. He kept catching all the passes.
"So our receivers coach goes up and asks him how he can catch all those passes at that speed because they were coming pretty fast," Novak said. "[Gronkowski] said, 'It's easy. My dad has one of these machines for me in our back yard.'"
The funny thing about Gronkowski's pass-catching ability is this:
"I think he only caught 13 passes that whole season. We didn't throw too much," Novak said with a laugh.
The photo you see of Gronkowski is from his senior year of high school. Kind of menacing then, don't you think?
Gronkowski and the Fab 22
One last thing about Gronkowski. I just happened to look today at when he made the Post-Gazette Fabulous 22 in 2007. Wow. I never realized it but that Fab 22 team turned out to be pretty good. It had seven players who went on to play in the NFL. SEVEN!!!
Besides Gronkowski, the others were Thomas Jefferson's Dom DeCicco, Jeannette's Terrelle Pryor, Central Catholic's Stefen Wisniewski, Seton-LaSalle's Gino Gradkowski, Aliquippa's Jon Baldwin and Thomas Jefferson's Lucas Nix.
Pretty impressive. Seven of 22 to the NFL.
By the way, here are Gronkowski's answers to some questions for that Fab 22.
Eat 'N Park
Beating Central Catholic.
Law and Order.
Playing both ways.
Hopefully in the NFL, or owning my own business.