Possibly the biggest winner of Monday was Tennessee Tech WR Dontez Byrd. Surrounded by his Ohio Valley Conference rivals and hosts from Tennessee State — though these environments tend to supportive, not tense — Byrd pumped out NFL Combine worthy numbers of 21 reps in the bench (would have tied for 3rd in Indy for WRs) and two more marks that would have been top 10 in the vertical jump and in the 3-cone drill that measures quickness. Hardly unknown to NFL Scouts (former Louisville player who was invited to the NFLPA All-Star Game) Byrd truly made a name for himself as a wide receiver and a kick returner.
There were 26 NFL teams in attendance.
"Pro Day went great … I am hearing from teams that they had me in the low to mid 4.5s (hand timed)," Byrd told HERO Sports on Monday. "I heard from a lot of scouts afterwards and they loved my routes and the way that I caught the ball. They also liked when I caught punts and kickoffs. I had zero drops the whole day."
Alongside Byrd were a slew of TSU players who didn't exactly "lay down". Ebenezer Ogundeko, a DE/OLB type, started his career at Clemson and has a ton of potential. His bench press of 27 reps of the 225-pound variety was impressive, and the 6-foot-3, 240-pound prospect ran a sub 5-second 40-yard dash and showed quickness and athleticism in other categories. Teammate Terrence Summers, a DT, showed his strength with a combine-worthy 31-reps on the bench, while former TSU DB and Ole Miss transfer David Kamara came back to campus and impressed in the vertical and the broad jump — posting combine type numbers (38" and 10'9"). And OL Ty Allen did 30 on the bench. Lastly, Lane Clark, a future NFL kicker, also had a great workout. Overall, this group of 14 current or former TSU player was impressive. It was a good day in Nashville for local products.
Lastly, former Florida Gator QB signee and eventual Maine QB Max Staver took a stab at the Pro Day and measured in at 6-foot-5, 241 pounds. He is a Nashville native and chose to come back to Tennessee to take his shot at Pro Day.
At Montana, possibly one of the biggest winners of the 8 Grizzlies fighting it out for NFL attention was cornerback prospect Ryan McKinley. The 5-foot-111, 183-pounder put up NFL Combine worthy Top 10 type numbers in the vertical jump (39.5) and the broad jump (10-10). He also ran a sub 7-second time in the 3-cone technique which shows quickness. Overall it was an impressive day for McKinley and one would think it'll lead to further discussions about his pro future. The top 40 time was from DB Justin Strong (4.55 seconds) and OL Robert Luke benched 22 reps, while his O-line teammate David Reese has received a ton of attention because of his 6-foot-7, 286-pound frame. Lastly, Montana's communications department Tweeted out that NFL teams Seattle, Jacksonville, Detroit, Cleveland and the N.J. Jets were on hand to witness what went on.
Around the FCS, some other performances worthy of serious note? At California U. (PA), Saint Francis (PA) defensive back Malik Duncan reminded some of his teammate of a year ago, Lorenzo Jerome, posting a 38 in the vertical and performing well overall. All of a sudden Saint Francis has gone from a sleep program in Pennsylvania to one that must be mentioned around draft time. Last year it was Jerome, this year Duncan and next year it will be WR Kamron Lewis.
Another tidbit coming into the HERO Sports "news desk" late Monday is that Uber-talented Central Arkansas DB Tremon Smith was taking a first shot at a Pro Day at Ouchita Baptist in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. According to his agent, one timer had Smith with a 4.38-second time in the 40-yard dash. Later, Smith's official time came out at 4.41 seconds, with a 37-inch vertical and a 10'6" in the broad jumps — all three being marks that would have been in the Top 10 for cornerbacks at the NFL Combine. If that holds up, there's no question things will explode for Tremon, and March 27 is scheduled for UCA's on campus Pro Day — so he'll get another shot.
PS — It goes without saying that we know absolutely nothing about what happened today at UT Martin, William & Mary and Hampton. We've asked the questions, but for various reasons we're not sure how things went. UT Martin responded and said they'd send results, William & Mary doesn't receive official results from the entity that runs their Pro Day and Hampton hasn't responded. We'll try to get those Tuesday morning.
Full results from Montana's and Tennessee State's Pro Days are below. Many thanks go out to these two schools for helping to get them so quickly to HERO Sports.
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