Austin Seferian-Jenkins, a Gig Harbor High School graduate and University of Washington tight end, declared for the NFL draft after his junior season concluded last month.
I caught up with the Mackey Award winner to ask a few questions about his decision to forego his senior season at UW.
What went into your decision to enter the NFL draft now?
ASJ: Felt that I was ready. Last year I was ready. I’ve done everything I could (at the UW). I believe in myself, felt I was ready for the next level. It’s a lifelong dream. Football is most important thing in my life, an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.
Did you have any have talks with new UW coach Chris Petersen prior to making your decision? If so, what did he tell you?
ASJ: We never really talked like that about leaving for the draft. When I met with him, it was just, ‘Hey, if you come back, you can improve on this and that.’ I understood that, but I still thought I should leave.
What do you think of Coach Petersen?
ASJ: He’s awesome. Awesome guy. He’s gonna do wonders for the program. I can’t wait to see what the Dawgs do next year.
Did former UW coach Steve Sarkisian going to USC have any impact on your decision to go now? What are your feelings on his decision?
ASJ: It didn’t do anything for me. I thought I was going to leave anyway. I’m happy for him. He’s going to a place where he wants to be, and he’s from. I’m really happy for him.
I think people were upset because he brought the program very high. They saw what he was doing and wanted to continue doing it.
USC is his dream job. You have to respect a man for doing what he had to do for his family and himself.
What’s your favorite memory or game from your career at UW?
ASJ: Probably the last Apple Cup was pretty special. Losing to those guys last year and winning this year felt pretty good. We played team ball and did it the right way.
Your teammate, Bishop Sankey, is also entering the draft. Did you guys have discussions together about leaving? Any bets on who will get drafted first?
ASJ: We discussed things about it but never made decisions or anything like that. I hope he gets drafted first.
He’s one of my best friends. It doesn’t matter to me. All that matters it that we go to teams that care about us and want to see us grow. Personally, I’d want to be drafted higher, and I’m sure he feels the same way. All that matters is we go the right teams that believe in us.
Lastly, what’s the first thing you’re going to buy with your NFL paycheck?
ASJ: Probably gonna buy a financial adviser. That’ll be my first thing.Sports reporter Jon Manley can be reached at 253-358-4151 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter, @gateway_jon.