Oakland v NC State
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March Madness has been full of surprises, as usual, and without question the biggest surprise is that the No. 11 seed North Carolina State Wolfpack -- who only made the tournament in the first place because they surprisingly won the ACC Tournament -- have crashed the Final Four by winning the South Regional. NC State is headed to the national semifinal for the first time since 1983, when the program, guided by legendary coach Jim Valvano, won the title by defeating heavily favored Houston with a last-second dunk in what is considered one of the most famous games in college basketball history. 

This year's team is led by big man DJ Burns Jr., who transferred two years ago from Winthrop and who checks in at 6-foot-9 and 275 pounds. The big lefty has averaged 18.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 3.5 assists in the Wolfpack's four tournament games, and poured in 29 pounds in the team's Elite Eight upset of Duke. 

But as he has captivated basketball fans during his team's run, Burns has also begun to generate real interest from NFL scouts due to his combination of size and agility. Senior Bowl director Jim Nagy posted over the weekend that he could not help but think about Burns "kick-sliding in pass pro or getting out on pulls," and a few days later, noted that he has received text messages from multiple general managers and assistant general managers and a director of college scouting confirming that there would indeed be interest in Burns should he decide to pursue a path to the NFL

On Monday, Fox Sports and NFL Media's Peter Schrager noted that he, too, had spoken with multiple scouts and general managers over the weekend about Burns' potential as a tackle prospect, and indicated that Burns would "get big turnout and potentially $ if he participated in a Pro Day/workout the week after the Final 4."

Burns would of course be far from the first college basketball player to pursue an NFL career. Tony Gonzalez, Antonio Gates, and Jimmy Graham were famously basketball-to-football stars, and Julius Peppers played both basketball and football at North Carolina before deciding on football as his full-time pursuit. 

Donovan McNabb, Antwaan Randle-El, Connor Barwin, Terrell Owens, Vincent Jackson, Martellus Bennett and Julius Thomas, among others, also played college basketball at one time or another before landing in the NFL. Most of those players landed at one of the offensive skill positions, though Barwin was a linebacker and Peppers was a defensive end. Burns' size and body type lend themselves more to being an offensive lineman, though, and there is apparently a potential path for him to the league, if he wants to give it a go.