After His Hard-Partying Recruiting Trip, A Girl At Clemson Left Rob Gronkowski A Voicemail Saying He Effed Up His College Decision

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Rob Gronkowski is pound-for-pound probably the best all-around tight end to ever play in the NFL, and he had to toil away and persevere through myriad injuries as a key cog in the New England Patriots’ dynasty to achieve such status. Medical red flags actually followed him into the professional ranks, which was part of the reason he slid to the second round of the 2010 draft.

Before all the accolades and four Super Bowl victories, though, Gronk was self-admittedly just a typical knucklehead teenager trying to figure out his life as a high schooler. Although he ultimately chose to attend the University of Arizona, there was real interest from Clemson, who hosted Gronk for a recruiting visit.

For all his success on the field, Gronk is known as a bit of a fun-loving party animal away from the gridiron. That was most definitely the case when he went to check out what Clemson was all about, as he confessed to The Ringer‘s Ryen Russillo to going “HAM” on what was supposed to be a business trip of sorts.

Once Gronk made his commitment to Arizona, he received a phone call from some Clemson girl he had no memory of giving his phone number to. She had quite the spiel for Gronk once it became public knowledge that he wouldn’t be going to play for the Tigers in South Carolina after all.

“I went absolutely HAM, and bless them for even hosting me that weekend. They probably thought I was the biggest idiot of all times, which was true — at that time I sure was. I actually commit to the University of Arizona, and here’s the kicker: I get a voicemail in my messages.

I must have gave out my number a couple times that night. I don’t remember. I was having too good of a time. I was drinking all the ‘water’ that they got down there in Clemson. It’s great water. Then I listened to it, and it’s some girl that goes to University of Clemson.

And it’s like, ‘Hey Rob, I saw you committed to the University of Arizona. I’m gonna tell you this right now: You absolutely effed your decision up. We were all waiting for you down here in Clemson. Well, you have a good life. We’re going to miss you so much, but let me tell you once again, you effed up. Bye-bye!’

And I was like, oh s***! What a voicemail! I’m showing it to all my friends […]  We thought it was the greatest thing at that time, that’s for sure.”

College football in the South just hits different. That’s a whole other level of petty. You have to wonder if this girl went on to work in sports administration, or is on the recruiting trail herself. If she could spot how much of a talent Gronk was way back then to the point of angrily calling him once he spurned Clemson, she must have a sharp eye that’d come in handy for scouting.

Based on his history, it seems like Gronk couldn’t be bothered to give much of a damn when it came to the courtship that occurred between high school and college, and once he began gearing up for the NFL’s pre-draft process. There’s certainly a pattern of hilarious behavior here.

I mean hey, maybe this is how Gronk finesses his way into situations in life. Blow off a little steam at the bar or the club or what have you the night before. Undersell and over-deliver. Something like that. Who knows? Gronk is just a gigantic human who was put on this Earth to be really good at football. Clearly the partying never resulted in enough self-sabotage to derail his Hall of Fame career.

It’s so cool that Gronk goes through life doing things his way — just like Sinatra famously sang about — and seems to epitomize living life to the fullest. One of the most likable athletes of all-time. The success as a player to back it up. Continuing to thrive post-retirement, like I assume another big personality/future Hall of Famer in Jason Kelce soon will. Great stuff.

Russillo’s latest podcast episode with Gronk is dedicated entirely to recruiting stories, with a whole lineup of guests including Ryan Fitzpatrick — what was being courted to play football at Harvard like, I wonder? — Julian Edelman, and T. J. Houshmandzadeh among others. I could see Jules coming from the top rope with some wild tale, but as is often the case with anything Edelman’s longtime Patriots teammate is involved in, it’ll be hard to top Gronk.

Gronk explaining how he avoided being traded to the Detroit Lions will forever be my favorite personal story of his.

However, there’s arguably no crazier what-if scenario than the time Jon Gruden rejected the chance to bring Tom Brady and Gronk to the Raiders.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock