Scouts from 30 NFL teams – all but the New York Jets and Chicago Bears – were on hand charting each player's every move on the indoor artificial turf. Media watched intently and a handful of former OSU players joined much of the current roster in supporting the departing athletes trying to gain a foothold in the pro ranks.
But the group with the most on the line was situated on a bleacher along the south wall of the WHAC's indoor field – the group of parents who were on hand to watch their sons try to impress those in attendance.
The emotions in that select group ranged from pride to nervousness, and the whole thing was, in the words of Julie Posey, surreal.
"I'm feeling how incredible it is to see him at a place where he's working out in front of NFL scouts and trying to get a paycheck," said Posey, the mother of wideout DeVier Posey. "It's a little surreal."
For David Herron, the father of two-year starting tailback Dan Herron, many of the emotions were much closer to the realm of nerves. Herron projects according to multiple sites to be taken on the third day of the April 26-28 draft, and he wasn't satisfied with his performance at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis in February.
That meant a lot was on the line when Herron took the field Friday, and his father, David, was an interested observer.
"It's being jittery and just apprehensive and hoping he doesn't drop the ball, making sure he carries out the assignment and that they see what they're looking for at the next level," Herron said. "That's the thing we're most concerned with is what they see in him. We have a lot of respect for him and what he did on the college level, but when you flip the coin to get to the NFL, it's a different stage."
Posey found that the best way to deal with the situation was to stay tuned in to the on-field proceedings. Though it seems clear her son will end up being chosen in the draft, that doesn't mean she was exactly comfortable as DeVier went through work designed to boost his standing in the draft.
"It's exciting but it's also strategic," Posey said. "You try to pay attention to things. I think it's probably more exciting for my sisters and brothers and aunts and uncles and cousins than it is exciting for me. For me, it's paying attention to who's writing what, what teams are looking at him, what time did he run, how high did he jump.
"At this point, as a parent, you're a little statistician."
While keeping up on things helped keep Posey involved in the proceedings, she couldn't help but think about the closing of one portion of her son's life. In many ways, the day served as a goodbye for those players who were going through 40-yard dashes, three-cone drills, bench presses and position drills.
Though some players will continue to work out in Columbus in the coming weeks, this was their last big event held under the auspices of Ohio State as Buckeye athletes. It was the same way for the parents.
"This is a little more emotional than Senior Night," Posey said. "This is the last thing he'll do at Ohio State, so it's my last hurrah in the Woody, last time seeing him run around and doing his thing in here."
With such emotions swirling, some parents chose to look back – and not just at the last four years.
"Just today, to be honest with you, I was thinking about when he was playing pee-wee ball," Herron said. "He started out on the Little Browns as a running back. To be able to look at the time between that time and now, there's a lot of memories. We're very appreciative that he was able to compete at that level. We're very happy that he was able to come back and compete and more importantly graduate and to be considered by some NFL teams."
For both Herron and Posey, this is their second time going through the same process. Dan's older brother, David Jr., played at Michigan State and went through the work of trying to impress NFL teams in 2007. A linebacker, David Jr. was undrafted but ended up signing with the Minnesota Vikings, and he has played for five NFL teams in his career.
In the Posey family, older brother Julian played at Ohio University and exhausted his eligibility a season ago. Julian wasn't drafted but spent 2011 on the New York Jets practice squad.
"This is year No. 2 for me," Julie Posey said. "His brother went through the process last year. He didn't go to the combine, but he did Pro Day and all of that. I think I learned a lot last year, what to watch for, so when you get to the draft we're not sitting here in an unrealistic place. We're sitting there knowing what the realistic expectations are so that we go about it in a healthy way."
Both Dan Herron and DeVier Posey went through the trials and tribulations of the scandal that cost each at least half of the 2011 regular season and also culminated with the resignation of head coach Jim Tressel, but each returned to the field as promised to Tressel. Herron also has already graduated, while Posey is set to do so March 18.
"I'm so proud of him because he came here and finished," Julie Posey said. "He came here and did four years of academics – well three years and three quarters, because he's graduating early – and four years of football. He came here and did everything he came here to do, and he finished and he finished strong. I'm really proud of him. He's a good kid."
Now, the parents just hope their sons just don't end up too far away.
"It would be nice to keep him in Ohio," Herron said with a laugh.