The most talented Sealy Tiger football player in recent memory, Ricky Seals-Jones, is adjusting to life in the NFL after signing with the Arizona Cardinals as an undrafted free agent.
Seals-Jones graduated from Sealy High School in 2013 and played his college football at Texas A&M.
As an Aggie, the Sealy star caught 10 touchdown passes and had 1,442 yards on 123 receptions despite several injuries that sidelined him.
Seals-Jones was brought in for rookie mini-camp with the Cardinals and survived the first roster cut and will enter the preseason camp on the roster.
"It's been good, just working out," Seals-Jones said. "I'm starting to get the playbook down. They've made some cuts here and there, and luckily I've survived to make it to camp and preseason."
Seals-Jones is the fourth Sealy area player to reach the NFL. He joins his cousin and NFL legend Eric Dickerson, Texans punter Shane Lechler and punter Justin Brantly, who signed with the Houston Texans as an undrafted free agent in 2009.
"It's a dream come true to come from Sealy, not a lot of people have the opportunity that I've got," Seals-Jones said. "You can literally count them on one hand that ended up making it to the NFL. I'm very grateful that I even get an opportunity to get out here and do what I do."
As a pro, Seals-Jones will transition to tight end from wide receiver.
"I played a little bit of tight end at Texas A&M my last year, but once you get the playbook down - they're teaching us on the fly - you just have to be a sponge," Seals-Jones said. "You just have to absorb everything and take it in as you keep it going."
Before the draft, Dickerson helped Seals-Jones with workouts and preparation for the combine and has offered advice on what to expect at the next level.
"Having someone that's been in the league and done it, if I have any questions I can hit him up and ask for advice," Seals-Jones said. "It's good to have someone that knows how it should be done and been in that role and in that situation as a rookie."
The transition from college football to the NFL takes an adjustment period, and one aspect, in particular, has stood out to Seals-Jones.
"I would say the speed," he said. "Learning a new position coming in would be the toughest things."
Playing at Texas A&M helped prepare Seals-Jones for the next step. As a freshman, he was under the national media spotlight with quarterback Johnny Manziel on the roster, and the Aggies were regulars in the top 25 during his time in College Station.
"All the stuff we did at Texas A&M got me here," Seals-Jones said. "I'm grateful for the opportunity there. I don't think I would be in the position I'm in now without them. I got lucky, but all my hard work paid off, and I'm going to keep striving."
In high school, Seals-Jones was a five-star recruit under Sealy head coach Jimmie Mitchell and an All-American.
"(Mitchell) is one of my favorite coaches," Seals-Jones said. "We talk all the time on the phone and catch up with each other."
Looking back on his playing days with the Tigers, Seals-Jones said the excitement of Friday nights and rivalry games are the things he remembers the most.
"When coach Mitchell came in he changed the program around to a winning program," Seals-Jones said. "We took what he brought and ran with it. We had a nice little run. My favorite times were our rivalry games when we played Bellville, Columbus, and Brookshire. They're literally like right up the street. Every game was like a rivalry game, and it was big to go in and compete with people you grew up with and try to go out and win."
He lined up at quarterback during the 2011 season as a junior and racked up 1,245 yards and 15 touchdowns on the ground and passed for 761 yards and eight touchdowns to earn District 24-3A MVP honors. Seals-Jones was injured early on in his senior season.
He shared advice for the current Sealy Tigers on what it took to reach the college ranks and now the pros.
"Work hard and listen to what your coach has to say," Seals-Jones said. "It pays off. Just take the little things they emphasize and keep grinding. It's a fight. You have to have that will and be determined. You're going to have setbacks and get injured, but you have to bounce back from it. You can achieve anything."