Lincoln Sefcik: Path To The NFL Draft

By Simon Carroll

Approximately 250 prospects will hear their name called on draft weekend. Some of them will be household names, others less so. But there will be hundreds more than that hoping for a shot once the festivities have ended in Detroit. One look at this year’s Super Bowl – where 18 players on the two active rosters entered the league as UDFA’s – tells you there’s more than one route to making a team, and being a success.

Lincoln Sefcik may not have come off the board by the time Mr. Irrelevant is determined. But as long as he gets an opportunity, he doesn’t mind how it comes. The former South Alabama tight end sits down with Simon Carroll to talk about his path to the NFL Draft:

Born A Cowboy

The son of a former Oklahoma State defensive lineman, Lincoln Sefcik and football were on a collision course from when he was old enough to walk. Born and raised in the shadow of Boone-Pickens stadium, watching ‘The Pokes’ was predictably a big part of his young life:

“I grew up in Stillwater until I was about fifteen, when my family moved out to Enid. It’s about an hour NorthWest, but it’s pretty much the same kinda town, just without the big college there. My father inevitably introduced me to football from an early age, and I remember going to games at Oklahoma State from maybe three years old until high school – back then I was a big Cowboys fan!”

Moving away from Stillwater didn’t quench Sefcik’s passion for football in the slightest. Suiting up for the Enid Plainsmen, Lincoln would play wherever he was needed on the gridiron – and he quickly worked out what he was good at, and what he wasn’t:

“I did a bit of everything at high school – although I probably didn’t play any defense between eighth grade and my senior year. I was pretty much on offense throughout my time there. As a senior, I helped out at safety a little – I’ve probably got some stats somewhere, but I certainly wasn’t a guy that the opposition was scared of! But I got the job done for the most part. The first game I started back there, we played a team that had killed everyone with this one play. I knew it was coming, I saw it coming, and I still got beat! Right then and there, I knew I wasn’t meant for that side of the ball.”

Destined for a role on offense, Sefcik dominated as a pass catcher, even if he only had a taste of the true position he now plays today. But wherever he lined up, he made use of another sport he excelled at – a sport that the state of Oklahoma takes very seriously:

“I found my way over to tight end at college, but I think I only really played the position my last two games at high school. We played some big defensive ends, so they threw me in there to chip them, help the tackle, then get out on a route. There was no run blocking or anything like that! Really I was a receiver, and that’s where I excelled at high school. I wrestled too, which helped with my body positioning, footwork and weight balance, blocking and general control over yourself. I was wrestling from three years old all the way through high school, and it definitely helped me a little bit.”

One Offer Worth Taking

Lincoln Sefcik was an unlikely star at Enid, posting unfamiliar numbers for a school of it’s size. 700 receiving yards over the last two seasons as a physical, big receiver/tight end, with multiple 100 yard games under his belt – he had the ability to take his game to the next level. Also lettering in basketball, track and wrestling during his time there, he had shown he had the raw physical and athletic tools necessary too. And still, his recruiting experience was a rough one:

“I didn’t really get recruiting attention like you would think. I only really had one other offer, and if I’m honest the offer from NEO was the only one worth taking. The other offer, they covered something like $2k of a scholarship that cost $30k a year, which simply wasn’t an option for me. Late in the process, kind of early December of my senior year, I sent some tape over to the coaches at A&M – my dad had some contacts out there. One of them came to see me the next day, watched me at a wrestling duel actually! He said I’d fit in nicely over there, and so I went for an official visit in January, where they offered me a scholarship. My dad played there, my uncle played there, and my cousin was on the team. It all kinda made sense.”

The offer from NorthEast Oklahoma A&M was appreciated and accepted. Really, it was the only viable option, even if it was a good fit for Sefcik. It could be said that finding a home on offense late meant that, despite the numbers, Sefcik was yet to learn just how good he could be. As a result, perhaps the slow-developing nature of his recruitment didn’t affect him as much as it might have others. But one thing he did know, was that it would only be football he pursued as a college athlete:

“I was really patient in the process. I didn’t know I had the ability to play in college until I spoke to the NEO coaches in December of my senior year. I mean, I had a bit of interest in some D-2 schools throughout the process who kinda went cold on me. Crazily, my first offer was for wrestling! I hadn’t wrestled for a while, came back to it in my senior year, and took this guy who had won national championships to overtime. So I got an offer based on that – which I appreciated, but there was never any chance I was going down that route.”

Limited Opportunities

Lincoln Sefcik officially arrived in Miami, Oklahoma in 2018 as a tight end (I’m reliably informed it’s pronounced ‘Mia-muh’, and the locals don’t take too kindly to it being said any other way!). Immediately redshirting his first season, he knew he wasn’t ready to contribute to the Norsemen from the start:

“I showed up on campus a little under 200lbs. So there was no chance I was playing tight end at that weight. They had an older guy at that spot who was going to be the dude, so where I was at that point, my position, it didn’t make any sense not to redshirt, develop, and add some weight. I needed to get stronger.”

Sefcik had his first taste of football in an NEO jersey the following season. A&M ran a ground and pound offense, meaning that the opportunity to put up stats like he did at Enid never materialized. Lincoln focused on helping how he could and where he could, hoping for improvement to come a year later. A season that ultimately never existed:

“I really didn’t play a bunch in my redshirt freshman year. You might think it’s crazy, but my 33 yards off four catches was the most receiving yards of any tight end the two years I was there, such was the role of my position in that offense. I guess I was a little frustrated, but we had a really strong receiving corps, there were two blocking tight ends on the roster who had thirty pounds on me, and of course we were known for our strong run game. I just banked on myself to make my mark the next year – which of course ended up being wiped out by COVID.”

Incredibly, despite being at a small Junior College, and despite having next to nothing in the stats column, AND a global pandemic interrupting his career, Sefcik started getting some attention from D1 football programs:

“I actually got an offer after my first playing year from an FCS school. They were watching some tape on one of our o-lineman, and he wonders ‘who this kid is blocking out on the perimeter?’ They looked me up, and watched me a bit more, and thinks I’d be a good fit. They offered me, and I even went on an official visit, but I ultimately wound up staying. I hadn’t had the season I wanted, and I wanted to prove my worth to the team that gave me my first shot. But then of course COVID came round, which meant the next season vanished. A combination of a lack of tight ends in the portal, plus my size at that point, it started getting me attention. Teams needed to fill spots, and I benefited from it.”

Moving To Mobile

Lincoln Sefcik chose to stay at NorthEast Oklahoma in 2020, a season that ultimately was lost to COVID. Instead of lamenting his decision, Sefcik used the time wisely, putting together some film himself. As mentioned, by this point he head the size, strength and hands to be a legitimate all-round tight end, and with demand at the position outstripping supply it gave him an advantage he intended to make use of:

“I ran a virtual combine, drove up to NEO myself. It wasn’t anything super serious – they needed to see me move, run routes, the usual drills. I had one of my coaches come over to film it and put me through the routine. We mashed it up, sent it to a load of coaches, and I got a LOT of stuff from that. South Alabama called me about ten minutes after they watched it, and offered me immediately.”

After his high school recruiting experience, Sefcik was now enjoying having a choice to make. And despite not really having the opportunity to prove himself on the field, he was being courted by FBS football programs. The Jaguars’ didn’t hesitate to pull the trigger on the tight end, which went a long way. But for Lincoln, there were other factors that led him to choosing Mobile, Alabama as his new home:

“South, they had just built a new stadium. One of my friends from NEO was also there, and it really kind of just worked out for me. I liked them more than the other offers I got – and obviously I liked the fact they were fairly close to the beach! I struck a rapport with the coaches, they sold me on the potential I had in that offense with my new teammates.”

The decision would eventually prove to be a good one. But not long after he had committed to South Alabama, a change in personnel put his offer in jeopardy:

“I actually got recruited by the old staff. But South fired them about ten days before signing day! I didn’t know if I even had an offer at that point. They hired Coach Wommack, who called me maybe two days before signing day and honored the scholarship. It was exciting, but also a major relief.”

Putting It On Show

For the first time since high school, Lincoln Sefcik was put in a situation where he could show what he was all about. Under new head coach Kane Wommack and offensive coordinator Major Applewhite, Sefick put up stats not seen from a tight end in Mobile since Gerald Everett graced the Jaguars with his presence. 32 catches, 218 yards and 5 scores proved he belonged at this level – but Lincoln admitted it was a lot of hard work for both him and his tight end coach to achieve such a standard in less than a year:

“My position coach, Rob Ezell, he did amazing things with me. I definitely had a lot of growing pains when it came to blocking, as I’d never had a true tight end coach before. NEO didn’t have one. Because of that, I didn’t have any of the fundamentals down. No footwork, how to block – and I had never even taken pass pro steps before! We would do drills, and Coach Ezell would be like ‘what is that?!’ I simply did not know where to start with this. I knew I had the athletic ability, it just needed to be put in to a technical standpoint to allow me to learn everything. By the Summer, I had learned the offense well enough to play, and I had shown that I could do a lot of things to help. I was nowhere near what I am now in terms of a tight end, but I had come on leaps and bounds in a short space of time.”

Sefcik’s time at ‘South’ as he affectionately refers to it coincided with one of the best seasons in the schools’ history. 2022 saw the Jaguars win ten games and go to New Orleans for a bowl game, just the third in their history. Sefcik had something of a down year himself as he recovered from a broken hand, but bounced back nicely in 2023 – a season where he was able to head back to his old stomping ground of Stillwater, Oklahoma, as his new team took on the Cowboys in front of friends and family:

“Oh it’s up there with one of my most memorable moments. Everybody was there – I think I had about 80 to 100 people in the stands and it was crazy. I had three catches too – one of which was the first catch of the game. It was like ‘here we go’… it was great to show them the player I had become. My dad in particular – I was playing his old team, but there was only one team he was rooting for that day.”

Reserved, calm, with a subtle sense of humor, I wouldn’t describe Sefcik as a talker. That said, looking back at his college career, he is keen to tell me how he led by example – and how his demeanor can change between the sidelines:

“I’m most proud of the teammate I was. I was a good leader, supported guys, helped my peers get better. I did it in high school as well,  but I definitely grew as both a person and a leader in college. Being able to be somebody who could be relied upon to set the standards and drive the team on to meet them is very rewarding. It’s a trait I can take with me to the next level. I’m kind of a quiet dude, but I’m very vocal when I need to be on the field. I can flick that switch when necessary.”

"The Possibilities Are Endless For Me"

Training in Dallas Texas, Lincoln Sefcik is now preparing for a shot at the NFL. Go back seven years to Enid, Oklahoma where a young tight end learning his craft struggled to get one JuCo offer, it’s as unlikely a story as you will find in this draft cycle. And yet, somehow, someway, Sefcik has always been able to show he has something to offer. The next opportunity for that will be on his pro day down in Mobile on March 19th, and his regime right now is geared towards that date. Despite the unchartered territory, it feels somewhat familiar to the hard working tight end:

“It changes. I’m not going to be doing any blocking at my pro day, just running some routes. So we’re focusing mostly on that when it comes to the position drills. As for the testing, I’m no different to the rest of the prospects, trying to get stronger, quicker, more explosive. I’m a former receiver, so I can move – I’m a former wrestler, so I can get physical. Really it feels like any offseason training – real ‘head down’ work. I’ve always liked that kind of grind if I’m honest!”

Quiet but confident, Sefcik has the feel of a draft gem just waiting to be found. And for any scouts traveling down to the Gulf Coast, he’s ready to put on a show:

“I think my times at my pro day are going to be pretty impressive. I can run and I can change direction probably with the best of them in the draft. But you know, this whole process is about poking holes in your game. So you can’t just focus on what you are going to shine at – it’s looking for things they might question. Maybe they have questions about run blocking, maybe they’d like to see more in the stats column as a pass catcher. So running drills and routes on March 19th  – I can put any concerns there to bed.”

He might not have had an interest in pursuing a wrestling career at college, despite almost embarrassing a National Champion on the mat. Regardless, the grit, power and dedication to hard work that comes from such a raw sport is ingrained in Sefcik. And whilst he perfects the art of tight end, he’s happy to use these traits to help an NFL team in other areas:

“I know I’m in the early part of my learning curve as a tight end. I’m ready to embrace other roles whilst I hone my craft in that regard – get me on special teams and earn my coaches trust. Once that’s established, my role can grow from there. But one look at my journey tells you that’s a path I’m more than willing to embrace. But when you think about it, I’m not really close to being what I can be at my position. And because I’m so intense and determined to maximize myself, the possibilities are endless for me. I’ll bring that intensity to special teams – I love them, I managed to play on every unit on special teams except punt return last year. It’s a big part of the game where you can make a real tangible difference – you gotta have a certain mindset to dominate on those units.”

One Shot

Lincoln Sefcik may not be as flashy or as attention-seeking a tight end as someone like Travis Kelce. He’s cut from a different kind of cloth, a man who has had to almost will himself to this stage by leaning on his work ethic, physicality and athleticism to get noticed any way he can. As a result, he’s that dangerous mix of quiet but assured, a confidence that doesn’t need to be on show, but is there regardless. As Sefcik explains, it gives him that certainty that – much like Kelce – he’ll be able to do anything asked of him at the next level:

“I think I’ve played in every aspect of my position in my career. In the backfield, inline, split out – really any role on the field. So the playbook, the terminology – sure, there’ll be stuff to learn. But I’ll have some familiarity wherever they line me up. And one thing about me – I like learning a new playbook. It’s never been an issue for me, I pride myself on having it down. Obviously it will be more nuanced, more complicated than at college, but I’m confident I’ll be a quick learner.”

Despite the optimism, Sefcik isn’t deaf to his perceived ‘draft stock’. He’s fully aware that draft weekend could come and go without his name being read out at the podium – and he’s okay with that. Much like at high school in Oklahoma, he only needs one team to give him a shot – and it will be back in the Sooner State where he learns his fate:

“Yeah I’m gonna go back to Oklahoma and hang out with my family in Tulsa. There’s a small chance I could get drafted, but I’m practical about it. I’m not gonna let it upset me if it doesn’t happen; all I’m asking for is an opportunity to show them what I’ve got. If you would have told me I’d be in this situation at the start of college, I would have been shocked. You always have dreams, have a deep feeling that anything is possible, but it’s such a long shot. I’ve worked hard to give myself even the smallest opportunity, which I’m grateful for – and if it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. That’s not to say it isn’t important to me – I’m desperate for the chance. Whichever team gives me that opportunity, it will mean everything.”

Mock Draft





A huge thank you to Lincoln for taking the time to talk to us. Everyone at The Touchdown wishes him well in his future career.