Rush uses pro day to show skills at LB

Former Michigan State defensive end working to display versatility for the next level; makes a good impression at pro day Wednesday after not being invited to the NFL Combine

Marcus Rush started a school-record 53 games at Michigan State at defensive end. But if the four-year starter wants an NFL career, his future likely lies at a different position.

On Wednesday at Michigan State’s pro day, Rush got his chance to show 53 NFL personnel in attendance what he can do at linebacker.

“I think a big thing for me was being able to show my speed on the 40 and being able to do linebacker drills because I’ve never really been able to show it playing D-end my entire career here at MSU,” Rush said. “It was a good opportunity for me to show it here.”

It was the first opportunity Rush had to perform in front of NFL representatives, as he did not receive an NFL Combine invite to join the six Spartans in Indianapolis.

“It just gave me a chip on my shoulder to work even harder and come out here and show everyone why I should have been invited,” he said.

So he ran a 4.68 40-yard dash, jumped a 34-inch vertical and bench pressed 225 pounds 24 times.

“I showed my speed, my capability of being a linebacker and being able to flip my hips and change direction,” he said. “That was my main goal today.”

Rush wrapped up a solid career for the Spartans with a memorable blocked field goal in a comeback win against Baylor in the Cotton Bowl. Since then, he got to preparing to show he can play a position he played a lot when he was younger, but not much lately.

He trained in Irvine, Calif., working on the position switch, while dropping fat and gaining strength in preparation and also playing in the NFLPA all-star game.

”I did a lot of linebacking drills, working with coaches and a lot of guys out there,” Rush said. “Just really working on my hips and doing drills like that.”

It looked like it paid off Wednesday, as coach Mark Dantonio said he thought Rush was fluid through drills.

“He played at Cincinnati Moeller and he plays at every spectrum on the field,” Dantonio said, “whether it was playing a little bit a linebacker or defensive end or blocking punts/kicks. That’s the kind of player he has been here. He’s one of those type of guys.”

Rush has a workout coming up with his hometown team Cincinnati Bengals, one of the teams that had good feedback for him after he performed at pro day.

”I’m happy with everyone I talked to, got good feedback and I’m ready for the next step,” Rush said.

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