March 30 arrived and departed on USF’s desolate campus with nary a bench press or broad jump.
The Bulls’ pro day, scheduled for that bright Monday morning, became yet another coronavirus cancellation. Or did it?
Since the nixing of the annual pre-draft event, which typically attracts dozens of NFL and CFL scouts, a handful of would-be Bulls participants have improvised with personal pro day-style workouts, posting their “combine” results on social media.
Offensive lineman Marcus Norman and defensive end Greg Reaves, training these days at Cooper Performance in west Tampa, did theirs locally on March 24-25. Norman was the only USF alumnus among the Cooper trainees who did most of their combine drills on Skyway Park’s synthetic-turf field.
“And the county actually came and shut it down because we had too many people out there,” Reaves said. “So (the defensive prospects) actually ended up having to go out to USF. We were able to get on the field for about an hour and get some stuff done.”
Meantime, tailback Jordan Cronkrite, training at a performance-enhancement facility in south Florida, did his at Christopher Columbus High in Miami.
Some of the performances were striking.
Norman, who has posted video of his workout, did 25 reps on the 225-pound bench press, had a 30½-inch vertical jump and ran the 40-yard dash in 5.27 seconds. Cronkrite, who has shared no video, indicated he did the 40 in 4.34 seconds and did 19 reps on the bench.
“I feel I performed well,” Norman said in a text message, “and that Cooper Sports Performance well prepared me for it as well, as it kept me in peak performance condition.”
Reaves, who said he has heard from roughly a half-dozen NFL teams, ran a 4.59-second 40, a 4.28-second shuttle run, and had a 33-inch vertical leap.
“I thought it went extremely well, especially my field work was really good," Reaves said. "I wanted to hit a higher number on bench; I only got 13 but I’ve always kind of struggled with that. But everything else, like my numbers on the field, were awesome.”
The only Bull afforded an organized live workout before NFL coaches and scouts was tight end Mitch Wilcox, whose performance at the NFL combine in late February was tarnished when he popped a blood vessel in his eye during an early drill.
Among those not pursuing a pro career is defensive end Kirk Livingstone, currently working as a medical scribe in preparation for physician-assistant school. Offensive lineman Billy Atterbury hasn’t shut the door on a pro career, but has an offer from a Fortune 500 insurance firm.
The NFL draft, which will be held virtually with team executives working from their homes, is set for April 23-25.
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