About 15 former OSU players donned tight-fitting shirts and shorts – or in the case of Ryan Shazier, just shorts as he breezed through his 40-yard dash while showing off a chiseled physique – last Friday at Pro Day in the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, all in an effort to catch the eye of a scout or two as they head toward the NFL draft.
Then there was kicker Drew Basil.
The Chillicothe, Ohio, native is no slouch when it comes to being an athlete – check out his 20 career tackles while serving as an ever-willing kickoff coverage man – but that wasn't why he was in the WHAC a week ago.
He was simply there to kick a football as hard and as accurately as he could, something he excelled at in his Ohio State career. Over the final three seasons at OSU, Basil made 33 of 40 field goals with a long of 52 yards, a percentage of 82.5 that places him among the best in Ohio State history.
Basil banged through 17 of 20 field goals at Pro Day for the watching scouts – upping his percentage to 85.0 – but still falling short of where he wanted to be.
"Not awful but not great," was how he summed up his day. "When do you not want to be perfect?
"I just went out there and I wanted to have fun. Every since I've been little, it's always been you perform better whenever you're having fun."
It's fair to say the 2013 season was fun for Basil in many ways. He didn't miss a placement kick through the first nine games before missing a long field goal and doinking an extra point off the upright at windswept Illinois. Still, he set the school record for consecutive made PATs at 102 before the miss in Champaign, and he made 9 of 10 field goals on the season.
For the second consecutive season, Basil finished well below some of his college counterparts when it came to field-goal attempts – Lou Groza Award winner Roberto Aguayo of Florida State had 20 tries, making 19 – thanks to Urban Meyer and his aggressive Ohio State offense that each of the past two seasons finished among the best in the nation in red-zone TD percentage, but Basil didn't mind that he didn't receive the opportunities that some others did.
"I was very proud (of my record)," he said. "Which kicker wouldn't want more opportunities? But if your offense is going down there and scoring from the red zone and they're the best in the nation both of the last two years, you don't really get the chance to kick field goals. Anytime we were in field-goal range, they decided they wanted to go down and score."
Basil hopes to continue to show scouts that he has the leg to make a difference at the professional level despite the fact he doesn't have as many kicks on tape as some other rookie kickers will. Most young kickers don't get drafted – just three went in last year's draft, two of whom didn't even serve as their team's kickers a season ago – but instead win their jobs through a camp battle, which is something Basil is looking forward to.
"I just want to have a chance," he said. "Oh yeah, it's definitely a dream (to kick in the NFL), so I want to make it become a reality."
To help in that regard, he's enlisted the help of some former OSU specialists who have had success and experience in the league. Basil has received advice from Cincinnati Bengals kicker and OSU legend Mike Nugent, as well as St. Louis Rams long snapper Jake McQuaide and former OSU punter A.J. Trapasso, who was at Pro Day.
"The one thing that I've heard from multiple people is just be consistent," he said. "Obviously, you have to be good, but you have to make sure you're good all the time."
While Basil wasn't running around in drills like the rest of his former OSU teammates a week ago, he did relish the chance to show his wares in front of NFL scouts just the same.
"It was fun," he said. "Getting a chance to see all the other guys go out there and have fun and compete, it was fun to watch. I didn't really get a chance to go run around like that, but I thought the time that they have (long snapper George Makridis) and myself to perform, I thought we did really well."