LaQuan McGowan wants a shot at the "Big Show."
The truth is McGowan really doesn’t know much about professional wrestling. But Baylor’s 6-foot-6, 405-pound big fella heard there’s a guy out there -- the WWE's Paul “Big Show” Wight checks in at 7 feet and more than 440 pounds – who’s bigger than him. So McGowan wants a piece of him in the squared circle.
“I just think that would be fun,” McGowan said. “That’s going on my bucket list: Wrestle somebody bigger than me.”
But first, McGowan wants a shot at the NFL. The biggest pass-catcher college football has ever seen has no idea where he’s going or how long it’s going to last. He should find out Saturday, during day three of the NFL draft. In early April, McGowan said he was thinking of a backup plan, just in case: pro wrestling.
“I definitely do not want to work an 8-to-5 job,” he said.
McGowan wants to make it clear that Plan A has not changed. He hopes to become a late-round draft pick or priority free agent. He wants to go to an organization that takes him seriously, one willing to invest time into developing his unusual talents.
He became a viral sensation and fan favorite as a tight end/offensive lineman at Baylor. What would he be in the NFL? Scouts have suggested McGowan consider playing nose guard. Fine by him. He’s open to whatever role it takes to make a team.
“I would definitely plug up some holes that a running back couldn’t get through,” he said. “I’m strong, quick, fast and I’ve got the endurance to stay in there. It’s a good idea.”
To get a real shot, though, McGowan understands he must control his weight. He played as heavy as 440 pounds (without pads) at times last season and was close to 430 before his final college game. He has been in charge of his own diet and workouts during this draft process, and the results have been promising.
McGowan got down to 397 pounds leading up to Baylor’s pro day in March. Thanks to carbs and water, he put on 8 pounds in the 24 hours prior to his audition. And he still had a strong pro day showing: 5.41 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 8-foot-2 broad jump, 24-inch vertical, 30 reps on the bench press and even some one-handed catches in receiving drills.
“I’m going to be in the best shape of my life by May,” he said.
So now he waits for a call from the NFL, hoping to be the heaviest player ever drafted. He’s getting tired of the anticipation. One exciting aspect of Plan B: The WWE started calling him as soon as Baylor’s season ended, before he’d even hired his agent.
McGowan has had conversations with WWE representatives, but he won’t share the contents of those chats. Their advice: Go chase your football dream and see it through. Pro wrestling is interested and willing to wait.
What does he know about that world? Very little. He’s aware a bunch of wrestlers started as football players. He couldn’t tell you much about them. McGowan didn’t watch much wrestling growing up because somebody once told him it’s all fake.
“But people are gonna think it’s real when I’m in there,” he said.
He hasn’t figured out a good nickname or persona. He doesn’t really know how an aspiring wrester gets into the business. But he does know this: McGowan likes the idea of starting off as a body-slamming heel.
And if the wrestling plan never comes to fruition, McGowan says he’s content to put his kinesiology degree to use, possibly as a coach or trainer.
“And whatever gives me the best chance, I’m going for it 100 percent. First come, first served.”