Small-school TE wonder says he owes chance at NFL to Chipotle burritos

INDIANAPOLIS — Ashland tight end Adam Shaheen isn’t yet in the NFL, but the groundwork for his first promotional deal has been laid out.

Shaheen has taken a strange path to the NFL scouting combine, from a college that has produced only a handful of NFL players. But even more amazing is his size increase — from 6-foot-4 1/2 and 195 pounds coming out of high school to 6-6 and 278 today, bigger than any other tight end in town this week.

That all happened over a four-year period, too. Shaheen played one year of college basketball at Pittsburgh-Johnstown, another Division II school, (and was pretty good) before transferring to Ashland (Ohio) to give football a shot. He was 225 in the fall of 2014 when he was Ashland’s No. 3 tight end, 260 as a starter in 2015 and then up to 278 this past fall, when he caught 57 passes for 867 yards and 16 touchdowns, which was more production than any of his team’s wide receivers.

But that growth! What is Shaheen’s secret?

“A lot of Chipotle burritos. A lot of burritos,” he said Friday. “No, it all honestly it was a lot of burritos.”

Chipotle burritos helped make a small-school prospect a big deal. (AP)
Chipotle burritos helped make a small-school prospect a big deal. (AP)

Not all heroes wear capes. Some wear helmets. Hearing Shaheen talk about the commitment it takes to gain the weight, er, chomp the burritos, is something we all can be inspired by.

“It was a ton of consistency for, going in and doing one hard week of training and then being lazy the next,” Shaheen said. “It was a year and a half to two years of constant[ly telling friends], ‘Sorry, guys, I can’t hang out. I gotta go eat.’”

What a brilliant regimen. While other wheatgrass-chomping prospects touted their draconian and restrictive diets, this gem of a human being is talking about binge eating burritos for a whole week and then needing a whole other week of recovery time. This is a prospect whom the fans can relate to. He’s one of us, people.

Shaheen’s hype as a football player is real, too, by the way. He has 20 formal visits set up with NFL teams at the combine and, scouts have been all over him for the past year. even was told Shaheen could be a first-round pick, although that feels a bit rich. Either way, he’s going to be the highest-drafted Ashland player ever and only the second in school history since 1972.

Still, he’s not buying into the hype.

“Actually, I deleted most of my social media,” he said. “I take after LeBron, the ‘blackout’ type deal. My dad has been sending me all of these articles. I am like, ‘You need to stop that right now. I am not going to read them until it’s done.’”

Mr. Shaheen and Adam: This is for you in late April, early May, whenever you get around to reading it. You are a monster and a future legend. We salute you.

Plus, if you’re into the whole scholar-athlete thing, Shaheen won his conference’s Commissioner’s Award for both classroom and athletic excellence. Which is cool. But the burrito thing makes him elite.

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Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!