Penguins strut for scouts
YSU Pro Day draws attention from NFL, CFL
By Greg Gulas
While Pro Day on college campuses might not exactly be the NFL Scouting Combine, it’s a time equally as important to draft eligible players hoping to attract the eye of scouts.
The campus setting provides NFL teams a final opportunity to evaluate prospects in a public setting prior to this year’s NFL Draft on April 26.
Tuesday morning at Youngstown State University’s WATTS Center, the Penguins’ Pro Day attracted 13 NFL and two Canadian Football League scouts. Eight YSU seniors, a former Penguin running back and a John Carroll University wide receiver took part in drills and testing.
“With today’s turnout, it shows that we have some players that scouts are looking at and players that they feel can play at the next level,” YSU head coach Bo Pelini said. “This is just a part of the overall process and we’re happy to be a part of that process.”
Eligible Penguins are wide receivers Alvin Bailey, Stefan Derrick and Damoun Patterson; tight end Kevin Rader; offensive lineman Justin Spencer; and defensive backs Jalyn Powell, Soloman Warfield and cornerback Billy Hurst.
Former YSU running back Martin Ruiz and John Carroll wide receiver William Woods also particpated.
Spencer, who earned his undergraduate degree in business administration in December, has spent the last three months training.
“I just wanted to show the scouts and everyone else that I can perform at the next level,” Spencer said. “I probably could have done better with the field testing, but did alright with positions.”
Spencer bench pressed 225 pounds 20 times, five shy of his best.
“I was a little disappointed in that I only did 20 reps,” Spencer said. “It’s lower than what I had hoped to do, but it’ll do.”
Rader’s one-handed catch against Eastern Washington with one second remaining in the 2016 FCS semifinals has made scouts aware of the sure-handed tight end.
He felt he had a good workout, but could have done better in a few areas.
“I felt good with my routes, breaks, cuts and tracking the football as it was coming to me. It felt natural,” Rader said. “I heard good job and good finish a couple times, but I also felt I didn’t hit my numbers in a couple drills because I did better before this.”
Powell is a Warren Harding alum who was looking to get his name out there.
“I feel like I am an underdog, an under-the-radar type of player just hoping to impress the scouts,”Powell said. “I worked as hard as I could and avoided any distractions in order to prepare for today.
Former YSU defensive back Brandian Ross (2007-10) is a scouting assistant for the Packers.
“My scouting director is Jon-Eric Sullivan and he does a great job of getting us back to the schools where we played,” Ross said. Needless to say I was happy when he sent me to YSU today.
“We’re looking at how guys run, test and how fluid they are in their movements.”