RICHMOND, Va. – Mo's a pro.
VCU Men's Basketball senior forward Mo Alie-Cox signed a professional contract Friday with the Indianapolis Colts of the National Football League as a tight end. If he makes the Colts final roster, he'll be the first VCU student-athlete to play in the NFL. VCU does not sponsor football.
Alie-Cox has not played organized football since the ninth grade, but NFL scouts have long eyed the Alexandria, Virginia native's 6-foot-7, 250-pound frame and athleticism. Alie-Cox's recent pro day in nearby Mechanicsville, Virginia reportedly drew representatives from 30 of the NFL's 32 teams.
As a student-athlete in his fifth year, Alie-Cox was not eligible for the NFL Draft and was declared a free agent.
If he makes the Colts' roster, he would be the third Atlantic 10 men's basketball player to make the transition from college basketball to the NFL in the league's 41-year history. Sam Clancy (Pittsburgh) played for the Seattle Seahawks, Cleveland Browns and Colts from 1983-1993. James Harris (Temple) had an NFL career from 1993-98 where he played for the Minnesota Vikings, St. Louis Rams and Oakland Raiders.
In four seasons on the basketball court for VCU, Alie-Cox totaled 1,092 points, 663 rebounds and 255 blocked shots – second-most in school history – in 142 career games. A three-year starter, Alie-Cox was named to the Atlantic 10 Conference's All-Defensive Team three times and also received a, All-Atlantic 10 Third Team citation in 2016 and an All-Tournament nod in 2015 when VCU captured the league crown over Dayton. He averaged 9.5 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.0 blocked shot per game in 2016-17 for VCU.
Alie-Cox will look to join a growing group of college basketball standouts who successfully converted to NFL standouts. Tony Gonzalez and Antonio Gates (who also did not play college football) pioneered the trend in the late 90s and early 2000s, but in recent years, players like Jimmy Graham have continued that movement with success.
The Colts have some experience converting college basketball players to tight ends. Indianapolis signed former Miami (Fla.) forward Erik Swoope – who had never played organized football - as an undrafted free agent in 2014. Swoope caught 15 passes for 297 yards last season for the Colts.
Alie-Cox is not the first VCU Basketball player to attempt to earn an NFL roster spot. In 2007, Jesse Pellot-Rosa, who was a football star in high school, attended the New York Jets' training camp as a wide receiver, but was eventually cut. He later returned to basketball and has been playing professionally overseas for the last decade.
The Colts will hold workouts Organized Team Activities, or OTAs, May 22-23, May 25, May 31, June 1-2 and June 5-8. Minicamp will be held June 13-15.