Northern Illinois University held its annual Football Pro Day Wednesday at the Kenneth and Ellen Chessick Practice Center as 15 former Huskies worked out under the watchful eye of 14 scouts from 11 National Football League teams.
The NIU performers included 10 2017 seniors and five players who completed their Huskie careers in 2016.
The players checked in and completed paperwork in the Yordon Center before undergoing a variety of measurements including height and weight, arm length, hand size and wing span. The vertical jump and bench press drills were held in the Huskie Sports Performance Center before the action moved to the Chessick Practice Center surface where the broad jump, 40-yard dash and various shuttle drills were held.
Former Huskie All-American cornerback Shawun Lurry turned in the top 40 time of the day with a best of 4.49 seconds, while fellow corners Mayomi Olootu, Jr. and Jonathan Parker came in at 4.52 seconds. Receiver Christian Blake was the only other player under 4.6 as he was clocked in 4.56 seconds.
Former Huskie quarterback Anthony Maddie, who completed his eligibility in 2016 and was the only quarterback in action on the day, recorded the best vertical leap as he was recorded at 36 inches and also led the way on the bench press where he lifted 225 pounds 26 times. Blake jumped 34.5 inches and Olootu 33, while tight end Shane Wimann was close behind Maddie on the bench press with 24.
The Pro Day session concluded with position-specific work with Maddie throwing to receivers Chad Beebe, Blake, Parker, Aregeros Turner and Wimann. The linebackers and defensive backs, including Mycial Allen, Bobby Jones IV, Lurry, Olootu, Brandon Mayes and Jamaal Payton went through several position drills as did defensive linemen William Lee, Joe Sanders and Corey Thomas.
“I felt pretty good, “said Lurry, who finished his career with 14 career interceptions and the NIU records for interception return yards and yards per INT return. “I had three months of training and I came out and showed what I could do. People are always questioning my height, but whether it’s against the Power Five opponents we played or out here, I have to get out there and do my thing.”
“The biggest thing for me was to calm the nerves, calm the anxiousness and come out and have fun,” Beebe said. “I had to come out with a big attitude and attack each drill,”
“Overall I feel I did good with my drills and my 40, everything was solid and smooth,” Allen said. “I’m taking it all in. It’s a great feeling to be in this position.”
NIU Head Coach Rod Carey and most of the Huskie coaching staff, along with family and friends of the participants watched the proceedings, while current members of the team were interested observers as well.
“It’s good to see them back here,” Carey said of the 2016 and ’17 seniors. “They all looked great, they looked strong. This isn’t football shape, this is training for testing and it’s a whole different thing. Whether you are playing NFL or playing college football, it’s about the love for the game because that’s what gets you through all the work you have to put into it.”