Former Texas Tech Star Says Practice Makes Perfect -- And Practice Hard He Will

NEW YORK (WFAN) — Jace Amaro is pumped up to be a member of the Jets, but said he initially struggled with the idea of not returning to Texas Tech for his senior season. He ended up getting the advice he needed from the one person who probably would have benefited most from him staying in school.

Speaking to WFAN’s Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts on Friday, the big tight end said Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury ultimately erased any doubts he had about turning pro.

“It was definitely hard for me, especially because my whole family revolves around Texas Tech. My parents graduated from there. My sister graduated from there. I have a bunch of family in Lubbock, so, you know, it was really tough for me,” said Amaro, who was selected in the second round of last month’s draft.

Amaro said he told Kingsbury that he would return, but the coach put his player’s future before the program.

“He said this is the best choice for you, which ultimately it was. And I’m glad that I made this choice and I’m really confident about where I am and where I stand on this team,” Amaro said.

The Jets are hoping the 6-foot-5, 265-pound Amaro turns into the prototypical NFL tight end, one that catches everything and can run the types of downfield routes that can stretch the field in the same manner that a speedy wide receiver can. Amaro, who had 106 receptions, 1,352 yards and 7 touchdowns during his final season at Texas Tech, said he’s in sponge mode, trying to absorb everything.

“I’ve been here for three weeks and I think it’s finally starting to click,” Amaro said after Friday’s OTA workout in Florham Park. “I felt really good at practice today, really smooth and I’m finally understanding the offense now. It’s becoming a lot more smooth for me. I’m just going out there and learning the plays and getting thrown the ball from Geno and Vick, so I feel like it’s going really well for me right now.”

Amaro was asked if his game compares to any tight end currently in the NFL. He said his hope is to be unique.

“I spent hours watching (Jimmy) Graham, (Rob) Gronkowski, (Tony) Gonzalez and so with all that I think it really helped me develop my game, but I don’t really try to imagine myself as any one of those guys. I just try to do what I do because I’m a different player than all of them,” Amaro said.

Because the Jets haven’t been equipped with a potential game-changing tight end in a very long time, there will be a lot of expectations thrust up on Amaro. He said how he prepares will tell the tale on what kind of player he becomes at the highest level.

“You have to have some visions of success. But just getting ready for (opening) day is just the biggest part of that. If I’m not ready they are not going to play me, if I don’t practice well they aren’t going to play me,” Amaro said. “So right now making sure I get all the offense down, playing smooth, playing fast and physical, with all that the catches will come. It might not be the first game or the second game, but it could be down the road because as a rookie it’s a totally different game playing in the NFL from college. I’m expecting it to come a lot quicker than take a lot longer to get me to where I need to be.”

If there was a knock on Amaro heading into the draft it focused on his blocking skills. He said he’s not too worried about the criticism.

“That’s something that I didn’t do in college, but it’s not something that’s a problem or anything. I’ve always been a great blocker and I’ve always been really strong. I bench press 30 times 225, so I don’t think it’s going to be a problem,’ Amaro said. “It’s more a technique kind of thing and knowing all the fundamentals. I’ve always known it’s a one-two thing, especially from college to the NFL. It’s going to be the guy who wants to block the other guy first. That’s going to be one of the best things I bring to the table as a Jet.”

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