Bryan Fueled By Combine Snub
Wednesday's pro day was important for several former NC State players, but tight end George Bryan may have entered the day with the most to prove to NFL scouts.
After having what he called a 'down year' during his final season with the Wolfpack, Bryan was somewhat surprisingly left off the NFL Combine list in February.
"It just fueled me, it made me pretty pissed off to be honest with you," Bryan said of being left out of the combine party. "I saw how much I had to grow and had to get better. I'm in the best shape of my life without a doubt. I'm stronger, faster, and hopefully someone liked me out there today."
Bryan said getting in that type of shape started with weight loss. After playing his senior season at as much as 274 pounds, Bryan said he checked in at 256 Wednesday. Once the pounds came off, getting out of breaks and improving his 40-yard dash time was easier.
After running in the 5.2 range at the East-West Shrine game, Bryan said he was in the 4.8 to 4.9 range Wednesday.
The Wilmington, North Carolina product admitted that coming to the realization that he hadn't worked as hard as he needed to was key in making the necessary changes when he went to Florida to train with other NFL prospects.
"My coaches did a great job of trying to tell me. Maybe sometimes it went in one ear and out the other because I had success on the field," he said. "It kind of went to my head a little bit, and like I said, I got humbled real fast. It made me work harder than I ever hard in my life."
Moving forward, Bryan's NFL prospects will rely almost entirely on finding a team that like his skill set and sees a place for him in their offense.
Graham A Dual-Threat
With players flying out to Arizona, Florida, and California among other places to prepare for the draft, T.J. Graham didn't have to go anywhere. He stayed right at home and worked out with his father, Trevor Graham, who is a personal trainer.
"I trained with my dad up at Wakefield High School," said Graham. "I paid my dad to train me, it doesn't get any better than that."
Graham used a big senior season to get on the radar, and he believed going in that it was a year he needed to have to catch the attention of NFL scouts.
"Coming into the year I didn't have very many stats, didn't start that many games, but I knew it was my chance to shine," said Graham. "I worked on a lot of things like my hands, route-running, and blocking.
"When I went to the Senior Bowl the coaches pointed out to me that they saw the improvements in those areas."
Graham really seemed to emerge at the Senior Bowl, where he proved to be one of the top wideouts in attendance.
"That game really helped me," he said. "It boosted up my confidence. Going there and competing against those guys, it showed that I deserved to be among the best and I'm one of the best at my position."
Although he didn't want to discuss potential teams or round possibilities, Graham, who grew up a Dallas Cowboy fan, knows that he has another skill that a lot of other wide receivers might not be able to provide: game-changing ability in the return game.
"Playing special teams helps me out a lot," he stated. "That is a paycheck they can save because they don't have to pay two or three people for that position, they can just pay me.
"I can bring the return ability and speed all over the field."
Graham is being represented by agent Alan Herman of Sportstars which is based out of New York. Other clients of XL Sports include current NFL stars Owen Daniels, Tamba Hali, Dunta Robinson, and Cliff Avril.
Gentry Moves On
Taylor Gentry found out last week that his request for an additional year was denied by the NCAA, and he quickly had to turn his full attention to the NFL draft.
"I was working out on my own and training, doing combine-related drills," said Gentry. I wasn't working out with the team... I was training for this day.
"On Monday I signed with my agent and now I'm here. I was already preparing for the NFL so my mindset was on this, but with the application I was hoping for the best and expecting the worst."
We'll have much more later on Gentry's inability to receive an extra year from the NCAA, and today he wanted to really talk about the opportunity in front of him.
"I've talked to a decent amount of teams out here today and my agents have also received some good feedback," said Gentry. "I really want to prove I can catch the football. I want to show that I can be a big target and make plays for the quarterback.
"I talk to I want every scout I talk with to know that I'm a mean guy. I'm going to go 100% every play and hit someone in the mouth. I think I've proved that."
He weighed in today at 252 pounds after playing last season at nearly 265 pounds.
"I got up a bit heavy during the year because I was also playing some d-line in that Georgia Tech game," said Gentry. "I'm back at my weight now."
Gentry has always had doubters. He came to NC State as a walk-on, 185-pound wide receiver and leaves four years later a 255-pound fullback who became team captain and earned a scholarship.
He's just looking for another chance to prove he can play.
"I'm not expecting anything during draft week," said Gentry. "I just need to get to a camp. If I get into a camp I feel like I can impress everybody."
He is being represented by agents Joel and Justin Turner of Turner Sports Management which is based out of North Myrtle Beach. Other clients of Turner Sports Management include: Mike Tolbert, David Akinniyi, Ryan Clark, and Ryan Succop.
Other athletes from surrounding smaller colleges were also on hand in hopes of being taken in the 2012 NFL Draft, but the majority of the players working out were NC State seniors.
The players began workouts in the Murphy Center and after taking measurements they did reps on the bench (225 pounds) and the vertical jump. Then they headed out to the Carter-Finley Stadium around noon to do the 40-yard dash and completed the workouts at the Wolfpack practice fields, where they did cone drills and position workouts in front of the NFL scouts.
There are no specific numbers to report because the times were recorded in Carter-Finley Stadium and the measurements and drills were conducted inside of the Murphy Center, which was closed to the media.
Stay tuned for another Pro Day feature that includes updates on Terrell Manning, Audie Cole, and Markus Kuhn!