Nelson, Reyer Hope Stock Has Gone Up

The National Football League draft hopes of Wildcats Jordy Nelson, Tim Reyer and Justin McKinney hopefully received a boost last week as they were three of the 328 athletes taking part in the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, Ind. Next in line will be Pro Day on the K-State campus on March 28, followed by the 2008 NFL Draft on April 26-27.

From walk-on status to scholarship stars at Kansas State University; from the junior college ranks to an NFL hopeful.

That's the path taken by Kansas State punter Tim Reyer and wide receiver Jordy Nelson, and defensive back Justin McKinney.

In their separate positions, each took part in the NFL Combine where they took seemingly endless physicals, psychological tests, the Wonderlic Test, to running, jumping and lifting.

"People call it a meat market, and that's a good comparison," said Reyer. Laughing, he added, "You spend the day walking around in your underwear."

Nelson agreed: "You spend the day in tights walking across stages and into rooms for physicals all day. Every team uses its own doctors. You do the same stretches, bends and twists for every team. It was a great experience, but it really is somewhat of a meat market."

Reyer said it was the next step to a "dream come true."

A walk-on to the Kansas State football program after a stellar career at Rock Creek High School, to earning a scholarship, to becoming a four-year Wildcat punter, to earning postseason all-Big 12 recognition, and now this...

"Getting an invitation here (NFL Combine) was a dream come true. It was just a huge honor to be invited," Reyer said. "It's one step closer to my ultimate dream."

That would be drafted into the National Football League.

"I hope to be drafted, but I know I'm on the border line," said Reyer, who was one of just five punters invited to the NFL Combine. "I may, or may not be (drafted)."

Being a punter, Reyer didn't do the physical testing that the offense/defense players did, but he did go through a punting competition.

Included were eight punts for distance, six pooch punts, and three directional punts to each side of the field.

"I didn't do as good as I would have liked, but all of us were saying the same thing," said Reyer. "The (NFL) balls are different, and we were using long snappers that we weren't used to."

Reyer wasn't sure where he ranked among the five punters, but through interviews, he got the idea teams already had their minds made up. "I think this was something just to learn more about previous injuries."

Nelson said the Kansas City Chiefs were one of "seven or eight" clubs asking him for a one-on-one session.

Included in his interviews were drawing up plays and explaining the route, and watching tape from the 2007 Kansas State season and explaining the Wildcats' offensive concept and defining coverages.

Helping the former walk-on out of Riley County High School the most was posting times of 4.49 and 4.51 in the 40-yard dash. At last year's Junior Day at K-State, Nelson was timed in 4.64 when running with a gimpy knee.

Nelson also had a vertical jump of 31 inches, and a broad jump of 10-feet, 3-inches.

"I would say I was right in the middle of all the receivers in the testing," said Nelson, adding there were 55 wide receivers invited to the camp.

One NFL draft report said of Nelson: "Intriguing combination of size, hands and overall athleticism ... sneaky deep speed made more effective by good route-running ... best attribute might be his hands and toughness ... faster than his timed 40-yard dash would indicate ... a better athlete than given credit for, but isn't the elite athlete his senior production may have you believe."

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