Hoping For The Call

They were not highly visible members of the last four Ohio State football teams, but the coaching staff will argue that both Trever Robinson and Tyler Whaley played key roles in the program. Will those roles, combined with a chance to work out for NFL scouts, be enough to get them into a camp at the next level? Both players are hoping so.

On one end of the spectrum is Vernon Gholston, the hulking defensive end who figures to be selected somewhere in the first few rounds of the NFL Draft. With little to gain and everything to lose, the former Buckeye took part in all scheduled drills at OSU's Pro Day on March 7.

Asked why he still worked out, Gholston told reporters it was due to his competitive nature and his desire to always give his full effort.

But then at the other end of the spectrum were a handful of lesser-known Buckeyes who had both lots to gain and everything to prove to NFL scouts who likely weren't even there to see them. For players such as Trever Robinson and Tyler Whaley, the opportunity to work out in front of pro scouts was too much to pass up.

Even if it means little or nothing can be expected from doing so.

"I pretty much hope to catch somebody's eye and get somebody to give me one shot and see where it takes me," Robinson told BuckeyeSports.com. "If not, I'm going to move on and further my career elsewhere. For me, this is one shot to see what could happen."

There are several reasons why both departing seniors share that sentiment. Both are fullbacks, a position many view as a dying breed in the NFL. Neither of the athletes had a carry, although Robinson snagged a 1-yard touchdown pass in the first game of the season against Youngstown State. Neither of the athletes were invited to work out at the annual NFL Scouting Combine, the place for players who figure to be drafted to show their wares.

As a result, OSU's Pro Day was the lone chance for players such as Robinson, Whaley and a few others to show scouts what they could do. As Robinson said, the goal is simply to catch the eye of at least one scout.

"That's what I hope for," Whaley said. "Just to get invited to a camp would be an honor for me."

Both athletes figure to have helped raise their stock through their workouts. Whaley, a former center, has cut his weight down to 252 pounds – 18 points less than his listed playing weight – bench-pressed 225 pounds 34 times and was timed as low as 4.7 seconds in the 40-yard dash by some scouts. Robinson, on the other hand, was timed at 4.58 seconds in the 40.

Robinson said he is being looked at as a special-teams contributor, while Whaley said he could play fullback or H-back at the next level.

"I could play quarterback at the next level if they'd give me that shot," Whaley said with a laugh.

Whaley said he had not been spoken to by any one team but that the Kansas City Chiefs had contacted OSU director of football performance Eric Lichter about him. Robinson was clutching a paper from the Jacksonville Jaguars following his workout.

"A few coaches from the Jaguars were impressed and a couple of other guys too," Robinson said. "Hopefully someone will take an interest in me and hopefully something will happen."

While the time between the team's loss to LSU in the national championship game and the Pro Day workouts was spent fervently working out in preparation for the day, both players are aware that their football careers could already be over. Both have already begun circulating their résumés to various pharmaceutical companies in the hopes of securing a job after graduation.

The decision to work out on Pro Day was largely based on the desire to leave no stone unturned, Whaley said.

"I didn't want to look back down the road and say, ‘I was given an opportunity, why didn't I take advantage of it?' " he said. "As long as an outgoing senior has a chance to do that, take it. Don't look back. I didn't want to look back 20 years from now and say, ‘I had a shot to at least put myself out there and I didn't take it.' "

Both Robinson and Whaley said they plan to watch the NFL Draft, but only to see where their former teammates are selected. The stressful part for both players will come in the days after the draft when they wait for a phone call offering a spot in a camp.

Gholston said he could appreciate how much more Whaley and Robinson had on the line when they went through their workouts.

"It's one of those situations where it's the same thing: You come out here and compete and you show what you're about," he said. "You run the drills, you do everything they ask of you and at the end of the day it's in the hands of the teams. It's just putting forth your best effort, and you can be happy with that.

"With me it's more a situation of moving up or sliding down. With him it's more of just trying to catch a guy's eye."

Both players have endured a long road just to get to this point. Robinson went from being a former walk-on to a four-year letterwinner and special teams contributor. Whaley began his career as a walk-on center but switched to fullback for his senior season, earning his first varsity letter in the process.

In other words, having to fight, scrap and claw for any chance to prove their talents is nothing new to either athlete.

"I hope to just get into a camp, another chance to prove myself much like I did here at Ohio State," Whaley said. "Just get my foot into the door and hopefully get a shot and run with it.

"It's a dream come true for me to do what I did at Ohio State and now it's a dream come true for me to have that chance, just to have that shot. It's an honor just to have a chance to work out in front of the NFL scouts and I feel privileged."

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