The Redskins Rookie Review series is presented by Medliminal, the Official Health and Wellness Partner of the Washington Redskins.
By now, it's common knowledge among Redskins fans that Antonio Gandy-Golden is one of the most unique players on the roster.
Gandy-Golden's stats at Liberty were certainly spectacular. He finished an illustrious career with 3,814 receiving yards and 33 touchdowns and was just the second player in program history to have back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons.
Those number help him fit in with the rest of the Redskins' talented rookie class, but how many of them can solve a Rubik's Cube in 44 seconds, bowl a perfect game and draw among a litany of other skills? In that regard, Gandy-Golden stands alone.
"I've always been competitive. I've always just wanted to win and be good at stuff," Gandy-Golden told Voice of the Redskins Larry Michael. "I like to compete with myself. And most of these things I pick up, I usually end up liking, so I continue to build until I get pretty decent at it."
For most of his life, Gandy-Golden has been interested in hobbies that keep his mind occupied. His mother and grandparents wanted to keep him safe while spending the first eight years of his life in South Side Chicago, so they gave him activities, like puzzles and games, that kept him around the house and out of trouble.
"A lot of people find it frustrating; I still get frustrated too, I don't get it right every time, it's just something about it that I love," he said. "If you look at me, you wouldn't see that I'm the type of guy to be out here doing puzzles and things like that."
Then Gandy-Golden moved to Georgia, which offered completely new experiences compared to a city life in Illinois. He was surrounded by trees and grassy fields, so he was always outside or in the woods doing as much as he could.
"I couldn't do that in Chicago," he said. "When we first moved here, there were a lot of kids outside, and that's something that I wasn't used to."
All the while, Gandy-Golden still loved to learn and has picked up a few more off-field exploits along the way. He can juggle, although he wouldn't call himself an avid juggler, and can also play the guitar.
He's picked up a few tricks on the field as well. He's studied some of the league's best receivers and taken pieces of their skillsets to add to his own. He wants to be as physical as Calvin Johnson, as technically sound as Larry Fitzgerald and as aggressive as Julio Jones.
Gandy-Golden has a long way to go before rising to the level of those players, but he already has some outstanding talents in his repertoire, particularly the ability to win 50/50 balls. That's something he has done since high school; whenever quarterbacks throw the ball in his direction, he usually comes down with it.
"During the game not every ball I get is going to be wide open, so just for the quarterback to be confident enough to throw it to me I feel like I have to come down with it."
There is a good chance that expertise will be put to good use in his rookie season, although he doesn't know exactly what his role will be when the season begins. That doesn't matter to him, though, as long he fits in with his teammates.
"I think they can help me out and I can help them out as well."
Gandy-Golden's next puzzle to solve is the Redskins' playbook. The parameters are certainly unique with every player relying on virtual meetings and their own study habits. The process isn't too bad, he said, although he would rather be with his fellow receivers in person.
"I'm just eager to [over] there, get to see the guys and...pick their brains."
Gandy-Golden has the talent to be an impact player; Liberty head coach Hugh Freeze believes he is one of the best receivers that has ever played for him, while NFL analyst Lance Zierlein praised his agility and speed in his draft profile.
For now, his biggest concern is learning the plays so he can contribute as quickly as possible. Once he actually gets on the field, he feels as though he can "take the roof off."
"I plan on coming into the league and playing right away, at least getting into the game and showing exactly what I can do."