NFL scouts on campus for USF Pro Day
Published: Thursday, March 7, 2013
Updated: Thursday, March 7, 2013 01:03
Packed into the weight room with the players, the NFL scouts stood in jackets sporting team logos such as the Kansas City Chiefs, New York Giants, Cleveland Browns, Indianapolis Colts, jotting down notes on their pads.
The “interview” was underway.
On the cold, windy Florida morning NFL scouts from around the country could be seen walking through the doors of the Lee Roy Selmon Athletic Center for Pro Day.
Scouts got to see three USF players invited to the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine, including seniors Sam Barrington, Cory Grissom, Kayvon Webster and B.J. Daniels.
“To me (Pro Day) is like the same aspect of the game,” Grissom said. “But like everybody says, it’s like a job interview.”
It started with taking measurements of all the players, stripped down to their Under Armour sliders.
While the athletes were weighed and their heights were measured, employees of the athletic center and other players guessed the weights and heights aloud, as officials yelled the name, height and weight of each player.
“B.J. Daniels,” an official yelled. “511, 217.” That meant the senior quarterback was 5-foot-11 and 217 pounds.
Once measurements were taken, the players geared back up into their numbered green and grey shirts, and took on the first two events — the vertical jump and bench press.
From the first event, a few USF players turned some heads, even leaving fellow teammates with widened eyes.
Senior defensive back George Baker kicked things off with a 39.5 inch vertical jump — a 40-inch jump is considered outstanding, considering the highest vertical jump was set by NFL cornerback Gerald Senseabaugh in 2005 at 46 inches. After Baker’s jump, Barrington impressed scouts by jumping 37 inches despite tearing the back of his shirt on the landing.
Thirteen players later, scouts were even more impressed. Defensive back and 5-foot-10 senior Ernie Tabuteau shocked the weight room hitting a 40-inch vertical.
While officials called out the results for the vertical event, other USF players began to cheer on B.J Daniels, who was about lift 225 pounds in the bench press even.
The senior, who was coming off a late-season ankle injury, recorded 20 total repetitions, impressing the scouts.
Daniels wasn’t concerned with impressing everyone though.
“You don’t need to have all 32 teams like you,” he said. “You just need one, and I’m looking forward to the process and showing what I can do.”
After the first two events were finished, the players entered stiff winds as they approached the outside events that included the 40-yard dash.
Injured ankle aside, Daniels still managed to post a 4.68 time on the dash, and said he felt good about his ankle.
Along with Daniels, senior running back Lindsey Lamar — known for his speed — helped set the bar with his time of 4.4 seconds.
The players, some back down to their Under Armour sliders and cleats and Barrington still with a ripped shirt, anxiously awaited the next player to approach the 40-yard dash.
Even the non-participating players gathered with their cell phones out waiting for something big to happen.
They knew what was to come.
Baker, who already impressed scouts with his vertical, shined.
He posted the best the best 40-yard time of the day, recording a time of 4.3 seconds.
Once the outside events were finished, NFL scouts were the only ones privy to a final event.
With scouts barricading the passing/catching drills for defensive backs, wide receivers, running backs, linebackers and, of course, Daniels, it was hard to get a good look at his arm, but Daniels said he feels fine.
Players took off their brightly colored cleats and went their separate ways while the scouts congregated, collecting stats from the nearly five-hour event.
“I think (Pro Day) defines you as an athlete, being able to prepare for something outside of just picking up a football going out there and tackling somebody,” Barrington said. “It’s a different technicality, you have to really pay attention to drills that you won’t be doing for the rest of your life. I’m happy to have them over with, but it’s just another phase.”
The 2013 NFL draft begins April 25.