On Wednesday morning, 14 former NIU football players and a handful of local talent from other schools participated in the annual NIU Pro Day. Scouts from 12 NFL teams were in DeKalb checking out the 2020 Huskie draft class. Additionally, a majority of the current NIU football team and head coach Thomas Hammock and his staff were in attendance supporting their former teammates on this important day.
The agenda for the participants included the 40-yard dash, bench press, various measurements, broad jump, vertical jump, three-cone drill, and short shuttle. After all of the individual testing, the participants were run through a series of positional drills led by scouts from the various teams on sight scouting.
The athletes participating were in good spirits as they started in the weight room. On the bench press, OL Jordan Steckler led the way with 26 reps at 225 lbs followed by RB Marcus Jones with 24 reps. The most impressive part about Jones putting up 24 reps is that it would put him at third on the combine leaderboard for bench press for a running back. Three players ended up with 19 reps on the bench — OL Nate Veloz, OL Andrew Starr, and DT Ben Leroy. Antonio Jones-Davis notably did not participate in the bench press. Overall, it was an impressive showing for the Huskies in the weight room.
The 40-yard dash was led by former NIU Huskie Dwayne Milton when he clocked a time of 4.5. Milton spent time at the University of Saint Francis after he left NIU. At St. Francis, he became an NAIA All-American, so seeing that he has not lost a step was refreshing. Milton’s teammate at Saint Francis WR Brandon Ruffin had an impressive time as well posting a 4.59 time. The first Huskie on the 40-yard dash leaderboard was RB Marcus Jones, who had times of 4.53 and 4.55. It was another quality result on a great day for Jones. The next two best times posted by Huskies were 4.61 by DB Marshe Terry and 4.63 by WR Spencer Tears. Another notable performance came from WR Nick Dodson out of Grand Valley State, who posted a 4.59 time. It should be noted that all times listed are hand times clocked by the scouts, whereas laser technology is used at the NFL Scouting Combine.
The 20-yard shuttle resulted in perhaps the best numbers across the board, and Marshe Terry led the way at 4.28. A player at 6-foot-3 with a 40 time as quick as his and a shuttle not too far off has got to have scouts ready to take a shot. MyKelti Williams was not far off with a time of 4.43. He put together a great performance, but said afterword, “There’s more things that I can improve on.” That tells you all you need to know about Williams, as he has pre-draft workouts scheduled with the Green Bay Packers and his hometown Indianapolis Colts. It was a two-way tie for the third-best time between Spencer Tears and Marcus Jones, as they both clocked in at 4.48 and performed well in the position-specific drills. Broc Rutter (North Central College) was the QB at the helm yesterday and he certainly kept busy as the only QB working out.
Regardless of performances on Pro Day, the proof is in the pudding when it comes to film. As a wise coach once said, “The eye in the sky never lies.” There was definite NFL talent on the field, so now it’s time to sit back and see where these Huskies land. There were representatives from 12 teams in attendance so regardless of where the landing sports may be for these players, they will have the full support of Huskie Nation. One place to keep an eye on is Green Bay, as a majority of the invites were from the Packers. Stay tuned for further pre-draft coverage as well as postings on workout updates and eventual draft/signing updates.
Thomas Hammock and his 2020 NIU Football Team took the field today to kick off spring practice. Coach Hammock was not able to provide insight on this year’s team, but Coach Hammock and I have a handshake deal for him to come onto our Huskies On Tap Podcast after spring practices conclude! Special shoutout to Donna Turner and Coach Hammock for allowing Ethan and me unprecedented access to this event. We look forward to covering this team from a closer view in the upcoming seasons.
Stay tuned to our Pre-Draft coverage as we will keep our listeners posted with workout updates as well as eventual draft and signing updates.