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Former Bulls return to offer advice, support on pro day

Marquez Valdes-Scantiling (11), now with the NFL's Green Bay Packers, returned to USF on Friday to watch his former teammates participate in pro day activites. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE/GOUSFBULLS

There were some familiar faces at USF Pro Day on Friday.

Well, in addition to the 13 outgoing USF football players auditioning in front of scouts for professional teams.

Several former Bulls that are now in the NFL stopped by the Frank Morsani Football Complex to offer support for their former teammates that are seeking to join them in the professional ranks.

“It’s a great feeling to be back,” running back Marlon Mack said. “I’m glad to see a couple of guys that I played with still out here … it’s great to be back today.”

Mack, now with the Indianapolis Colts, was, at one point, USF’s all-time career rushing leader at 3,609 yards, though that mark has since been surpassed by Quinton Flowers.

He wasn’t the only former Bull to stop by though.

Wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling, now with the Green Bay Packers, and defensive tackle Deadrin Senat, now with the Atlanta Falcons, also stopped by to show support for their former teammates.

Being back at pro day brought back memories for the former Bulls.

“Just being here a year ago — time goes by so fast,” Valdes-Scantling said. “I see these guys out here working, it just brought back all the memories of my pro day and how exciting it was for me. And being able to come back and help some guys out and give them some tips about the whole process, it’s always big.”

Advice from someone who has been through the whole process on a day like pro day is no small thing, because it’s basically a job interview, though on a much grander stage than most.

“It’s the first step,” Valdes-Scantling said. “You finish your college career, you go out and have this interview — this on-the-field interview — and it’s huge, because my pro day definitely helped me out a lot, just going from the combine to here. Because a lot of guys didn’t get to go to the combine — it’s 300 guys. There’s hundreds of other athletes out there — pro day’s the biggest thing for them.”

USF’s past success in the NFL Draft, including the three former Bulls that were in attendance Friday, does not equal success for the current class. It’s all about seizing the current opportunity in front of you, according to Senat.

“You’ve got to seize the opportunity,” Senat said. “Most of these guys know the position that they’re in and they know basically what’s going to happen to them. So they’re just seizing their opportunity … they’ve got to put the work in. It’s about the amount of work you put in.”

The opportunities were seized Friday. And, in addition to that, the players are now one step closer to the pros than they were before Friday.

It didn’t matter where they went to school — Power Five or not — they got to show their stuff in front of the pros.

“Keep your dream alive,” Valdes-Scantling said. “Don’t let everyone tell you that you can’t do something, no matter what school you go to. Even from South Florida — this is a university that’s put out countless guys. We’re built different down here. Whoever gets on the team, it’s going to be great for them because I know that they’re going to go out and work hard.”