Ohio football Pro Day special in many different ways

Those in attendance at Ohio football’s Pro Day got more than they initially bargained for. Besides the absence of exact results from the events that took place on Wednesday afternoon out of respect for the draft stock of certain Ohio Bobcat football players, the Peden Stadium facility was buzzing the whole entire day.

Scouts from the Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts and Oakland Raiders were on hand to watch the Ohio football senior class and former players looking for another chance (Riley Dunlop, Stafford Gatling) and to push former teammates (Donte Harden).

Indianapolis Colts wide receiver LaVon Brazill was present – and decked out from head to toe in the Indy blue – to serve as a sign that dreams of making it to the big time can come to fruition for MAC stars. It was a reunion of sorts and a final workout for most players, so emotions were running high.

“Oh, man it was awesome – flat-out awesome to see everybody,” offensive lineman and NFL hopeful Eric Herman said. “We were all over the country training and it was awesome to see how everyone reacted to the training.”

After taking in the sights and sounds (boy, were the sounds interesting) of Pro Day, Zak Kolesar and Chris Manning break down the workouts (broad jump, vertical jump, 40-yard dash) and voice their thoughts on such a special event. Beginning with the jumps, the day was already off to an enthralling start.

Broad Jump/Vertical Jump

Both jumping events felt like the calm before the storm. No one in the strength and conditioning room could have guessed the outburst that would ensue when Ohio linebacker Jelani Woseley went up for his first of two vertical jumps (each athlete was given two tries at each station all throughout Wednesday).

“Let’s go, I need money!” Woseley emphatically exclaimed after landing one of the more impressive jumps of the day.

Woseley’s statement was definitely one of the key moments in his pursuit to make one lasting impact. Laughter erupted in the weight room as family and teammates, both old and new, cheered on a player with the character and personality that scouts from across the country like to see.

I was just energized, that’s all,” Woseley proclaimed. “Just the rush, the adrenaline, everyone watching.”

From that point on scouts were interested in how far Woseley’s confidence would carry him throughout the rest of the day. For an inside linebacker – a position that requires full-on leadership and challenges the brain – it was very important for Woseley to impress in all aspects of the game. He brought his A-game, and it made Pro Day at Ohio University an exciting time for all.

Even though the former Fork Union linebacker has self-confidence flowing through his blood, a lot of the Ohio players leaned on their teammates for that extra push that may have been enough to propel him to a second workout. Defensive linemen Neal Huynh was the first player to initiate the motivating of teammates, and the positive remarks continued throughout the day.

“We finished strong, it was a good time and I enjoyed seeing the guys,” Huynh said. “We’ll probably spend some time together the next day or so, then probably head back and keep training.”

Bench Press

One thing to remember about Pro Day is that most seniors and former players are doing the workout for the purpose of a final workout with the players they have spent the last four or so years with. This came to a realization when the jumps were all finished up and the bench press was about to begin (players only got one attempt at 225 pounds).

Skylar Allen breezed through 20 reps, something that 10 of the 18 participants couldn’t reach and it looked as if Allen was about to give in. It was then when the room erupted into a game-like atmosphere, propelling Allen to his 30th rep.

“I was telling some of the guys earlier it’s like game day all over again,” Allen said.

The preparation leading up to Pro Day was definitely different than anything these players witnessed during their time playing for the Bobcats. After the season ended with a victory at the AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl in Louisiana, it was right to work for the seniors. For defensive lineman Tremayne Scott, training before Pro Day took him down south to Texas.

“I had certain goals coming in, but there were actually goals that I put for myself at Fourth and Inches where I worked out in Dallas, so I met some of goals,” Scott said.

Here were some of the impressive performances on the bench from Ohio Bobcat seniors (numbers represent how many reps each player had):

Skylar Allen – 30

Neal Huynh – 29

Jelani Woseley – 24

Jordan Thompson – 22

Corey Hasting – 21

Matt Weller – 15 (for the kicker, as scouts proclaimed)

40-Yard Dash

For the 40-yard dash, you had to feel for the Bobcats who participated in it. At other schools, athletes participating in pro day get to run inside a facility built solely for athletes to workout in. In Athens, the seniors showing off their talents ran their 40-yard dashes in front of NFL scouts inside of a makeshift tent on the Peden Stadium field. It was also frigid outside – making it hard for anyone to stay warm.

Allen downplayed the cold, saying that he was just happy it was not gloomy out.

“I could have done without the wind, but other than that, it’s been perfect,” Allen said of the weather.

And while players like Allen didn’t look too much into the weather, you have to think it had some sort of an effect on them. This applies to the other drills too – like the shuttle and one-on-one work with the scouts. It’s one thing to play a game in the cold – at least then you have pads and such to help keep you warm. In this situation, it’s a lot of stop and go that involves just a few seconds of work at a time. All that waiting and standing around in the cold, makes it hard to stay loose and preform at one’s best. Just like other college athletes across the country, Ohio’s finest deserve the chance to preform in front of NFL scouts in the best conditions possible.

Closing Thoughts from Chris Manning

1. I was glad to see Herman sit out. After his combine performance, he had nothing to gain by bench pressing or running the 40-yard dash. I’d be shocked if his name wasn’t called at some point in this year’s draft. He also finished with the most reps (36) at the NFL Combine.

2. Herman seemed to have had a pretty positive attitude when he talked about his experience at the combine:

“It was a wild experience, for sure. It’s like nothing you can ever prepare for, and that’s how they like it I think. I tried really hard, worked really hard to get myself ready, and I think I did pretty well.”

3. Every Bobcat available to the media seemed excited to be around their teammates for the first time in a while, and they all sounded like they wanted to hang out, but they also knew that their time together is limited, as they will all be going back to training full-time as the draft approaches. Huynh summed it up best:

“It was exciting. A lot of these guys, I haven’t seen them in 2-to-3 months since we got done with the season.”

4. In the one-on-one drills, Huynh seemed to have been pushed pretty hard, and he also seemed pretty optimistic about his chances:

“I could of done better in some areas, I could of done better here and there, but I did my best. It was exciting, it was fun and I can’t do anything else.”

5. Woseley, who was incredibly amped up in the beginning of the day, seemed a little down by the end. He especially seemed upset with his 40 time. When asked if he was happy with his time, he had this to say:

“Eh, it was okay. I mean, I’ll take it obviously. I’ve ran faster, but it’s fine. “

Draft Predictions:

Zak Kolesar:

  • Herman – 7th round, pick 218, Philadelphia Eagles (from Cleveland)
  • Woseley really brought out his character and skills during inside drills, and I think that really caught the attention of the scouts. Look for him to find a home on a practice squad, along with Allen, this summer.

Chris Manning:

  • Herman – 7th round, pick 224, Miami Dolphins (from Dallas)
  • I think Woseley and Gerald Moore will get camp invites. Out of those two, I am most confident in Woseley.

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