Malik Dunbar may try his hand at football.
The former Tigers small forward is "keeping his options open and is looking out for what is best for his professional career" as it relates to the NFL, a source close to Dunbar tells The Plainsman.
On Tuesday, Dunbar posted a video on his Instagram story at what appeared to be Auburn football's outdoor practice facility. He was wearing an Auburn football helmet and orange and blue gloves.
According to the source, Dunbar is "drawing interest from the NFL."
At 6-foot-6 and 230 pounds with a jaw-dropping vertical, Dunbar would be one of the more physically imposing and athletically intimidating young players in the NFL should a team bring him in for workouts.
After transferring from the College of Central Florida in 2017, Dunbar played two seasons at Auburn, starting 16 total games over the past two years. For his Auburn career, the South Carolina native averaged 6.1 points and 2.8 rebounds per game while shooting just over 34 percent from 3-point range.
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However, Dunbar is best known by Auburn fans for his highlight-reel dunks and blocks as one of the most athletic players in the SEC.
As a senior leader during Auburn's Final Four season — the team's best NCAA Tournament run ever — Dunbar embraced the responsibility of an off-the-floor role model. His happy-go-lucky attitude and jubilant presence in Auburn's locker room was just as important as any Auburn player's on-court contributions, according to his teammates and coaches.
"Without Malik, we're not here," assistant coach Steven Pearl said at the Final Four in Minneapolis.
If Dunbar made the leap from college hoops to pro football, he wouldn't be the first. Famously, current NFL tight end Antonio Gates, who is the Los Angeles Chargers' franchise leader in receptions, touchdown catches and receiving yards, played basketball at Kent State. At 6-foot-4, Gates went undrafted by the NBA and NFL, but arranged an offseason workout with the Chargers, who then added him to their 2003 roster.
A current example of an NFL player who wasn't on the gridiron in college is Cowboys tight end Rico Gathers. He played basketball at Baylor from 2013-16, finishing as the Bears' program leader in rebounds and the only player in Baylor history with more than 1,000 points and rebounds in his career. Gathers was drafted in the sixth round by the Cowboys in 2016, despite his lack of football experience.
Dunbar is currently projected to go undrafted in the upcoming NBA draft. According to Auburn Athletics' official bio for Dunbar, he didn't play football in high school or at his junior college.
NFL teams will begin their rookie minicamps in the coming days, while the league's Rookie Football Development Program starts May 13.
The Plainsman will update this story.
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