Gronkowski ready for the expectations

Is there any doubt that Rob Gronkowski is one of, if not thee, gem of the Wildcats' 2007 recruiting class? He's the lone top-100 player that the Wildcat signed and verbally committed to the team in a very public fashion.

While he's certainly not the only intriguing player that the Wildcats signed, he is the most high profile. A rare East Coast signee, Gronkowski actually announced his intention to play for the Wildcats on ESPNU in front of a national audience.

He was also the first player Mike Stoops mentioned in his signing day press conference and he had high praise for the four-star prospect.

"To get a guy of the magnitude of a Robbie Gronkowski is huge," Stoops said. "To have an impact player in this system at tight end is critical to the success."

Gronkowski will have a lot of eyes on him next year. Stoops did not shrug off comparisons to some top college pass catching tight ends and mentioned that they feel he can put up numbers similar to the tight ends that new offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes coached at Kentucky.

Considering that those players put up some monster numbers it is safe to say that there are some high expectations for's No. 3 rated tight end.

Gronkowski does not mind the high expectations.

"It's going to be sweet," Gronkowski exclaimed. "It is going to make me work harder so I can prove myself worthy."

Signing day was a good experience for Gronkowski but he did not do anything special. He was scheduled to have a basketball game that night but it was cancelled, but that did not mean he was going to celebrate.

"I'm sure I'll do something this weekend," he noted. "Nothing special, but I'll celebrate."

Although Gronkowski had some ties to the Wildcat program and had visited several time unofficially, he had to be reassured that he was a good fit for the new offense that Sonny Dykes is going to be implementing.

Once Dykes and Stoops explained that their version of the spread was not all about four and five receiver sets, but instead will utilize a traditional tight end, Gronkowski was sold.

"That's what coach Dykes' plan is," Gronkowski said of a heavy reliance on the tight end. "They want a tight end to get open quick on short yardage passing plays, but still be able to stretch the field and go long. I think I can do both of those things."

For Gronkowski the rigors of recruiting are over and now he can worry about the rigors of college football. Over the past year he has changed schools, battled eligibility over transfer rules, had to chose a college and deal with being the subject of internet speculation. He was recruited by programs from every corner of the country, including a school where he had some family members play. He was good enough to be able to announce his decision on national television but had to deal with erroneous reports of a commitment to Clemson.

Yesterday a lot of that pressure was put behind him when he signed and faxed his letter of intent to Arizona.

"It just felt good," Gronkowski said. "It's good to be officially a Wildcat."

Now the only pressure will come from fans of the cardinal and navy.

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