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Dayton's Adam Trautman has gone from off the radar to one of draft's top tight ends

Adam Trautman never expected to be a participant in the NFL Combine when he began his college football career as a tight end at Dayton.

The Flyers haven't had anyone drafted to the league since 1977. Dayton is an FCS school, too, and players rarely receive the same level of scouting attention as FBS prospects without posting eye-popping numbers.

That appeared to be a tall task for Trautman, who was new to the tight end position when he arrived with Dayton. He was a quarterback at Elk Rapids High School in Michigan but switched to tight end with the Flyers and learned the position from scratch.

Now, after an illustrious senior season with the Flyers, he's become one of the top tight ends for the 2020 NFL Draft.

"I'm just happy to be here," Trautman said. "It's another opportunity to compete against the best kids in my class and just put on a show. I knew the work I put in could get to this point eventually — just not right away."

Trautman, who received no football scholarship offers out of high school, had the idea of switching to tight end just a week into fall camp of his redshirt freshman season. He told then-offensive coordinator Eric Evans he wanted to switch positions so he could take a heavier load with the offense. Trautman just wanted to contribute, and he wasn't going to do that as a young quarterback.

Evans gave him a shot in the middle of practice. He had Trautman run an over route that he capped off with a diving catch. 

The next words he heard from Evans?

"Go get a white jersey."

The position change was official. For the Flyers, it was only a small roster shakeup. For Trautman, it was a life-changing decision.

"I was just like, 'Hey, I just want to be a part of this,'" Trautman said. "I knew I could bring a whole new dynamic to the tight end position. We eventually made the switch, and that was the greatest decision of my life."

Trautman's 6-foot-5, 250-pound frame and top-tier athleticism were perfect for the tight end position. That's how he motored his way through defenses of the Pioneer League and led Flyers receivers in receptions and touchdowns his sophomore season.

Check out behind the scenes photos of Head Coach Kevin Stefanski and General Manager Andrew Berry on the first day of the Combine

In his senior year, Trautman was an FCS All-American selection after hauling in 70 catches for 916 yards and 14 touchdowns.

NFL scouts were salivating over his skills, and Trautman was ascending NFL draft boards.

"I just have a relentless style of play along with an edge," he said. "Every level I've been in, I've been told that I'm not good enough. Coming out of high school, I was told, 'You're not good enough to play FBS.' I'm here to keep fighting that. I'll always use that edge and carry it with me."

That edge took Trautman to the Senior Bowl, where he made two receptions for 10 yards and impressed NFL scouts with his versatility, athleticism and catching abilities.

He's looking to continue his rise this week at the Combine. The Browns are a team that could be in a position to draft Trautman, who currently projects as a mid-round selection, though his stock has continued to rise as the draft nears. NFL.com's Chad Reuter projected Trautman to be drafted by the end of the third round.

The Browns — who have picks at No. 41 in the second round and No. 74 and No. 90 in the third — could be in position to grab Trautman and bolster a tight end group that includes David Njoku and Ricky Seals-Jones.

But wherever he goes, Trautman won't forget about where he started.

"I wouldn't change a thing about where I went to school," Trautman said. "(Being drafted) would mean the absolute world to me."

Check out photos of players interviewing at the 2020 NFL Combine

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