There's only one thing standing between Stanford tight end Coby Fleener and his new team, the Indianapolis Colts: a master's degree.
The Lemont native and Joliet Catholic graduate, who was drafted by the Colts on Friday as the 34th overall pick in the NFL draft, has already returned to Palo Alto, CA, where he will remain until he graduates in June.
In a phone interview Saturday, Fleener's mom, Michelle Nagel Fleener, said the excitement of the draft still hadn't worn off.
"This has all been a whirlwind for Coby. It's really unbelievable and amazing," she said.
Perhaps even more unbelievable than Coby achieving his NFL dreams is that he will be doing it alongside his college quarterback and good friend Andrew Luck, who was the first overall draft pick Thursday night.
"We had thought Coby was going in the first round, but this really ended up being such a blessing. To have this experience with one of his really good friends will be amazing for him," Michelle Nagel Fleener said.
Prior to the draft, many sports analysts predicted that Coby would be drafted in the first round, likely by the New York Giants. When three hours passed without getting a call, no one was more surprised than Coby's family.
"We were all really surprised after that first night," she said. "I guess you never really know, but we really thought he was going to the Giants. Thankfully it all worked out, and he has his career to look forward to."
For now, Coby is enjoying his last days in California. He'll graduate in June with a master's degree in media studies.
In his final season with Stanford last fall, Fleener led the Cardinal receiving core with 10 touchdowns. He racked up 667 yards on 34 catches while also leading the team with a 19.6 yards-per-catch average.
He has appeared in 51 games over the past four seasons for the Stanford Cardinal. He has 96 career receptions for 1,543 yards and 18 touchdowns.
In January 2011, he helped his team to a 40-12 victory over Virgina Tech in the 2011 Discover Orange Bowl. Fleener caught six passes for 173 yards and three touch downs, setting an Orange Bowl record for yards receiving and tying the record for touchdown catches.
Prior to his time at Stanford, Fleener was an all-conference, all-area, all-state and all-academic honoree at Joliet Catholic Academy.
Michelle Fleener said she's looking forward to her son playing closer to home, and is already brushing up on "her new favorite team."
"It will be great to see him more often. We can't wait for him to get started with the Colts," she said.
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