The day began inside the Tookes Center as scouts weighed and measured the vitals of the athletes participating in the display. The participants included seniors from this past season, as well as a few players who were trying to re-establish themselves for an opportunity with one of the teams. The first skills tests were the vertical and broad jumps. Marvin Ross pulled an impressive vertical drawing approval from the hundreds in the viewing area. Tyler Bass had one of the best broad jumps on the day and also had the opportunity to show his arm in some specific drills.
Exact scores are not authorized to be shared by the scouts in attendance, so estimations and overhearing scores were the only method of validating where things were. After the jumps, the players moved over to the weight bench to do as many reps as possible with a 225lb. setup. Ellie Hyppolite had an impressive showing, as well as Daniel Lee. But, Padric Scott would own the bench, turning in 39 reps. The most reps for a defensive lineman at this year's NFL combine was 38 by Margus Hunt (SMU) and Brandon Williams (MSU).
The action then moved to the intramural synthetic turf field for sprints and drills. As the mass moved outside and the players warmed up, there was a buzz building around the field. The 40-yard dash is highly regarded as one of the tests that could single-handedly determine if a player is really able to excel on the next level, thus considerable attention is given to the results of the dash. The first casualty of the day was Travis Harvey, who pulled up on his first 40-yard dash with a hamstring injury. it was a disappointing moment for the California native trying to make his mark in the combine.
Brandon Hepburn, who ran one of the best 40-yard dash times for inside linebackers in the 2013 NFL combine, didn't disappoint as he ran what was overheard to be 4.5 seconds. Hepburn is high on several teams' lists and could very well be drafted in an early round.
The most pleasant surprise of the day came from Scott, who fluidly ran down the field in a sub-5.0 sprint. The hundreds in attendance roared as he picked up steam down the stretch. Scott measures six feet even and 315 lbs, so the spectacle of a guy that big, running that fast had scouts comparing times and taking a glance at Scott as he passed. Scott has been working out with Hepburn and was not surprised at his improved speed. "I felt good. I treated it like it was a game. It was all about relaxing and focusing. Since November, this is what I have been doing. I've been working out in Miami for a while, then I worked out at the rec center where the combine would be taking place," Scott said.
Hepburn has had a whirlwind of a time since playing his last game for the Rattlers. He was invited to the East-West All Star game, where he made a big impression on scouts after making an interception and a big hit on an Auburn player that thrilled the fans at the game. As a reward for making the Allstate Good Werks team, Hepburn was honored at the BCS National Championship game, by being presented on the field. All of this activity pales in comparison to being home, Hepburn said. "It feels good to be back home. It feels good to compete with my brothers one last time on the battlefield. It's a great experience, rooting each other on and I give the glory to God," he said.
Among the former players who also got an opportunity to go through drills were Alvis Graham, Jerry Willis and Isaac West. Graham, who suffered a season-ending injury in 2011 and was denied an eligibility hardship, had his opportunity to display his agility for the scouts. They even worked him in some additional drills to get a feel for his recovery. West, who played arena football last season for the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks, gave the scouts an up-close look at his ideal receiver frame. Former running back Lavonte Page also worked out for the scouts, who were interested in seeing how well he would endure the rigorous drills.
Coach Earl Holmes is optimistic that some of the players' performances could help them get drafted or signed come April 28. "I would advise all Rattler fans to pay close attention to the draft. I really feel that you will hear the names called of some of our players. They've put in the work and they represented themselves well today," he said.