Published Thu, Mar 21, 2013 10:18 am Dateline
Updated Sun, Mar 24, 2013 7:04 pm
Every spring across the nation thousands of pro-football hopefuls get the opportunity to work out in front of NFL scouts at their teams’ Pro Day. For 14 Ohio University seniors, that day was Wednesday afternoon - before a group of scouts from teams across the league.
Despite the frigid temperatures and with wind gusts up to 30 miles-per-hour, the guys were excited to be out on the field for the first time since last season came to an end with a bowl victory in December.
“It was exciting seeing a lot of the guys. I haven't seen them in two-or-three months since we got done with the season,” defensive lineman Neal Huynh said. “I enjoyed seeing the guys.”
It was a sentiment repeated amongst the seniors, who last took the field at Peden back in early November when they lost to Bowling Green on senior night. For these guys the opportunity to get on the field provided them with one last chance to be on their home turf with their college teammates.
It also gave them a shot at showcasing their skills in hopes of earning an invite to a training camp this summer.
Representatives from the Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts, Houston Texans and Oakland Raiders watched eagerly as the group of seniors worked out.
Eric Herman, the only bobcat invited to the annual NFL Combine earlier this spring, skipped most of the workouts Wednesday. He opted to only go for the skill workouts after putting up impressive numbers at the combine, especially in the bench press, where his 36 reps led all prospects at the event.
But for guys like Huynh and fellow defensive lineman Tremayne Scott this was their one shot to possibly get an invite to work out for an NFL team personally with the goal of being signed as an undrafted free agent.
“Hopefully I'll be able to get out to some of the organizations and you know meet with some of the head guys there,” Scott said. “Just continue to work out at home, that'll be the main focus. Just whatever camp I go in, I'll just be ready for anything.”
Scott’s performance wasn’t particularly impressive, but Huynh grabbed the personal attention of a few scouts during the four-hour process. Multiple times throughout the day when scouts thought Huynh wasn’t living up to his potential they personally challenged him to perform better — something he was greatly appreciative of. He said the pushing showed their interest in him and he was more than willing to rise to the challenge and “push back.”
Another player who shined Wednesday afternoon was linebacker Jeloni Woseley.
Woseley was one of the top performers in the bench press and vertical jump and put up decent 40-yard-dash times. He made his motivations clear during his vertical jumps. During his first attempt he shouted, “I need money!” and followed it up with an even better second attempt.
“I need it man!” he shouted as his fingers graced the upper pegs of the measuring pole for a second time.
He will still have to overcome size issues if he wants to get a shot at the next level. At just 6 feet 2 inches and 212 pounds, he is small for a linebacker, but his workout went a long way towards convincing teams he’s worth a second look.
Other top performers from the day included center Skyler Allen, safety Gerald Moore, wide receivers Bakari Bussey and Tyler Futrell and kicker Matt Weller.
But after months of waiting for Wednesday, the process starts all over again them. Now the guys must wait to see if their Pro Day workouts paid off and if it will get them an invite to an individual workout with an NFL team or to a training camp this summer.
It’s a process that can be almost as daunting as the Pro Day workouts themselves.
Herman is likely to be drafted in the late rounds of next month’s NFL Draft, but like his fellow seniors, the waiting game is a challenge for him.
“It's grueling, man, you know there's no other way to explain it,” he said. “You just have to sit down and calm down and wait for the day to come — you know, get your mind off of it.”
Herman is going to wait out the time at home with family and friends, the same group of people he’ll be waiting with to hear his name called during the NFL Draft in late April. For the other guys it’s not so much a matter of when they get a call from a team, but if. That is something that comes with the whole experience, though, according to Woseley.
“I mean we know the main goal, (is to) hopefully get a shot,” Woseley said. “It's something we've been waiting for so patience is the key. It's not a problem.”