BYU Pro Day has its High and Lows

Most of the graduating seniors, with some notable exceptions, and a couple of old familiar faces worked out in front of at least 20 NFL scouts Wednesday. They were tested in their agility, speed, strength and most other aspects involved in making the jump to the NFL.

Graduating seniors Max Hall, Dennis Pitta, Andrew George, Manase Tonga, Shawn Doman, Jan Jorgensen and Tevita Hola all worked out Wednesday for NFL scouts, while others such as Brett Denney, Matt Bauman, Terrance Hooks and R.J. Willing did not participate. Most of the players were pleased with their overall performance, including quarterback Max Hall.

"I think I showed today that I can make all of the throws, and the coaches told me just that and were impressed with how I did," said Hall. "I ran a 4.72 today which is much better than I ran at the combine, so that was probably the thing that I improved the most at and I'm very happy about that."

Hall showed well, feeling comfortable within the familiar environs of the BYU indoor practice facility. He said he felt better than he did at the NFL combine, as he was able to show more of what he has while having all of his throwing reps uninterrupted.

Aiding his workout was the ability to throw to his top tight ends in Dennis Pitta and Andrew George.

"Those two are two of the best tight ends in the nation, there's no question about that," said Hall. "I was so blessed to have both of them here with me while at BYU, and you saw today from their performance just how good they are."

Pitta rested upon his NFL combine performance, as he was able to put up a sub 4.7 forty and do extremely well at all of the other drills.

"Obviously I didn't do any of the testing today because I was very happy with how things went at the combine," explained Pitta, who only participated in throwing drills. "I stand by a lot of my numbers there, but I wanted to come out and continue to show my ability to run routes and do some of the blocking things that they wanted me to do, which was really good. All the testing for me is over now and it's time to just play football."

As is the case with many top pro prospects out of college, Pitta worked extremely hard to get to the form he showed at the NFL combine and during Wednesday's workout. He spent the past few months in Irvine, California working out with some other top prospects to focus entirely on readying himself for the combine.

"A lot of our work is based on running the forty and benching and doing stuff like that, which is pretty specific to preparing ourselves just for the combine," he said. "We would have workouts in the morning focused on speed, then go out and run routes and stuff and then we'd finish up with weight training. There were recovery days and I really benefited from the workouts. One of the best things was being able to control my diet. That helped with my fitness level. I got meals every day that was formatted to what I needed, and so that worked really well and I was fortunate to be able to train like that."

While both Hall and Pitta were pleased with their overall performance, Jan Jorgensen came away a bit disappointed with some aspects of his. Although he put up 29 reps of the 225 bar while showing well in the three-cone and other agility drills, he was very upset with his 4.9 forty.

"I just know that I can run it a lot faster than that," said Jorgensen. "I was expecting better there and have done better in the past. It's the slowest I've ever been timed. I'm usually as fast or even faster than both Max [Hall] and Andrew [George], but today they both ran in the 4.7s and I didn't, which is very unfortunate for me and my hopes of getting drafted. I'll get a shot no matter what whether I'm an undrafted free agent or if I do get drafted, so now I'll just focus on that and in showing that I know how to play football with whatever camp I'm invited to."

A couple of old and familiar faces were at the workout as well in the form of former Cougars Jonny Harline and Curtis Brown. While both former players have found new careers, there was still a big itch that needed to be scratched.

"I knew I had to get it out of my system," said Brown regarding why he participated in Wednesday's Pro Day. "I've been happy with my very good pharmaceutical sales job that I have, but this past September I really wanted to start training to give this another go. I had to get it out of my system. I told myself that I needed to train myself as hard as possible to show to myself if I still had something left and if I could prove myself as a football player or if I just had to move on."

Brown showed well Wednesday, as he was able to run a low 4.6 forty with his new 221-pound frame.

"I basically ran the same time that I did back when I had just graduated, but I was at 206 or so back then, and now I'm at 221, so that is something I'm very happy with," he said. "When you're passionate about something, but you're not able to do it, it takes a toll. I'm very passionate about football, so today I just wanted to see if I could pursue this thing any more."

While players such as Pitta and Hall have been able to just focus on their workouts, Brown has had to prepare for Wednesday's combine while balancing a full-time job.

"It was tough. I'd wake up at 5:30 every morning, work out as hard as I could before work, and that was it," he related. "I still feel like I can play the game and if I could get into a camp, no one would ever question my forty speed, no one would ever question the strength or any of that, so that is what it's all about. If I can get into a camp, all the numbers go away and I can just prove myself as a player. I'm just hoping for that chance."

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