At least 28 scouts from 23 different NFL teams showed up to the Eastern football team’s pro day earlier this month.
The event allowed 12 Colonel football players, as well as a few from other Kentucky schools like Georgetown College and the University of Pikeville, to showcase their skills in front of an assemblage of professional scouts.
Players first had the chance to participate in the vertical jump drill and the 225-pound bench-press, which took place inside of the Jack Ison Weight Room. Scouts and media lined the entire room, while spectators tried to catch a glimpse from the windows outside. Afterwards, participants and scouts made their way down to the field at Roy Kidd Stadium, where players were able to partake in the 40-yard dash, the L-drill and the shuttle.
The main attraction of the event was EKU defensive end standout Noah Spence, who has been projected by some as an early first round draft pick this April.
A 6-foot-3, 260-pound transfer from Ohio State, Spence played just one season at EKU after multiple off-the-field suspensions with the Buckeyes led to Spence being ruled permanently ineligible by the Big Ten Conference. Spence sat out the entire 2014 season before transferring to EKU, where he was named an All-American by the Associated Press, STATS, Walter Camp Foundation and College Sporting News. Spence was named the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) Defensive Player of the Year after a season that include 11.5 sacks, which ranked fifth in the nation, and 22.5 tackles-for-loss, which ranked fourth in the nation.
During EKU’s pro day, Spence participated in the 40-yard dash, as well as a few position-specific drills. Spence was looking to improve upon what many considered a disappointing 40-time (4.80) from the NFL Combine the week before. Spence did just that by running a mid-to-late 4.7 in cold, rainy conditions. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Defensive Line Coach Jay Hayes worked Spence out through defensive line drills.
Spence said he was happy with his 40-yard dash during Pro Day and talked about what he thinks he will bring to whichever team selects him in April.
“I believe I can bring a pass rush and relentless effort, as well as a passion and love for the game.” Spence said.
Many have questioned Spence’s off-the-field behavior as he enters the draft, but the redshirt-junior who graduated in December, said he feels “blessed” to still have the opportunity to play football.
“To be a part of day like this is like a dream come true,” Spence said.
Others that participated in the Colonels’ pro day included running back Dy’Shawn Mobley, wide receivers Joel Brown, Jeff Glover and Jaucady Rutledge, tight end Ben Madon, defensive backs Stanley Absanon, Tyrell Curry and Deno Montgomery, linebacker Trey Thomas, defensive lineman ShaQuille Prather and kicker Ben Deighton.
Many of the players who participated hope that the opportunity to showcase their physical skills in front of NFL scouts will lead to their name being called during the NFL Draft, or to a free agent contract afterwards.
The first round of the draft will start at 8 p.m., Thursday, April 28.