Posted: Sunday, 28 April 2013 1:11AM

Skyline's Travis Chappelear signs with Cincinnati Bengals

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Travis Chappelear has come a long way since his days playing football in Urbana, Missouri.  The 2007 Skyline High School graduate announced on his Twitter account Saturday night he has signed a free agent deal with the NFL's Cincinnati Bengals.

"Gonna be a Cincinnati Bengal!! 

The 6'5" 270 pound defensive end features one of the longest and most unlikely roads to the NFL one could imagine.  After starting two years in high school and earning Mid-Lakes Conference honors Chappelear redshirted one season at NAIA Missouri Valley.  He then went to Missouri State where he caught on the scout team in 2008 before registering 11 total tackles playing as a nose guard in 2009.

MSU 2009

Chappelear sat out the 2010 season, but took one more crack at college football in 2011 at NCAA-II Northwest Missouri State.  In limited action he registered 17 tackles and 1.5 sacks, playing in nine games for the Bearcats.  This past fall Chappelear began gaining the scouts' attention by racking up 63 tackles total (8 for a loss), 1.5 sacks and a team leading 2 blocked kicks.

Chappelear told's Shaun DePasquale how much it meant to him to be named an All-American in an interview in February.

"I've always wanted to achieve an All American title," said Chappelear.  "Coming from high school I remember our coaches talking about All American players, and now I'm the first to graduate from my high school and achieve that title.  I've worked too hard to not have anything to show for it, and now I do.  I know one day I can now tell my kids that their dad was actually a pretty good player in college, and have proof of it."

Chappelear's stock rose the highest following a solid pro day where he ran a 4.7 40-yard dash, 37 inch vertical jump and an impressive 38 reps on the bench press (225 pounds). named Chappelear one of the top 11 sleepers in this year's NFL Draft.

"The 6'5", 270-pound defensive lineman showed strength, hustle and toughness. Chappelear has good speed for a big man and his talent is still scratching the surface."

"Chappelear impressed NFL scouts at the Casino Del Sol game with his use of leverage and his ability to rush the passer. While raw in his techniques, he makes plays all over the field and will make tackles 30 or 40 yards down field. NFL scouts have compared him to a poor man's J.J. Watt."

From Skyline High School to NAIA redshirt, to FCS walk-on, to D-2 transfer, and now a shot at the NFL Chappelear has realized his dream through hard work, and the Bengals hope that fairytale run continues with their "diamond in the rough."

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Topics : FootballMissouri StateSkyline
People : Travis Chappelear
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