Draft party slated for Kingsport's Gerald Sensabaugh
Noon, April 23
Kingsport Sports Club
American Way (Behind Ramada Inn)
By RON BLISS TriCitiesSports.com
KINGSPORT -- Usually when the NFL Draft rolls around, there's not that much local interest. But this year with former Dobyns-Bennett player Gerald Sensabaugh a possible first-day pick, the interest will be more intense.
Sensabaugh, who starred at Dobyns-Bennett, signed with and played at East Tennessee State until they shut the program down, and then finished at the University of North Carolina last fall, will be in Kingsport on draft day and watch the NFL Draft at the Kingsport Sports Club on American Way with friends and well-wishers.
Sensabaugh has set up the party as a fund-raiser for the Kingsport Boys & Girls Club's Riverview location.
Admission to the party, which starts at noon, is $10 with all proceeds going to the Boys & Girls' club outlet.
Sensabaugh moved to Kingsport from Oakland, Calif., and won All-Conference honors as a defensive back and wide receiver and competed in the state triple jump in track and field.
Twice at East Tennessee State, Sensabaugh was named All-Southern Conference and also made 1-AA All-American. Sensabaugh was named the MVP of the defensive team at North Carolina last fall and made national headlines with his comments that Miami looked beatable in its game at Chapel Hill. He was criticized for "adding fuel to the fire,'' but looked like a prophet when the Tar Heels pulled the upset of the Hurricanes."
He's got a chance to go as high as the late second round,'' said Brian Barrett, a D-B assistant coach who coached Sensabaugh at D-B and stays in contact with him. " Cleveland met with him Monday. Dallas, Jacksonville, Atlanta, Miami, Denver and New England are other teams that have expressed an interest. New England put him through a private workout last week.''
Sensabaugh, a 6-0 1-2, 214-pound defensive back, ran a 4.49 in the 40 at the combine in Indianapolis and broke the NFL record for vertical leap with a 46-inch jump. That's three inches higher than basketball player David Thompson's 43-inch vertical leap that drew so much attention back in the 1970s.
Another D-B player, Teddy Gaines, went in the seventh round to the San Francisco 49ers a few years back but Sensabaugh stands to be the highest pick of a player from Kingsport since the Cifers brothers, Bob and Ed, and Hal Miller were all first-round NFL picks more than 50 years ago. Sensabaugh and Gaines are cousins. He is also cousin to former West Virginia player Boo Sensabaugh.
In addition to the party on Saturday, April 23, Sensabaugh will have an autograph signing and picnic for the children on Sunday, April 24 in the Riverview Community.