PSU Pro Day Preview

As the Nittany Lions gear up for their Pro Day this week, get the lowdown on what will be going on at the event in Holuba Hall.

Penn State's annual Pro Day is scheduled for Tueday. It is an opportunity for senior Nittany Lion players to showcase their abilities for NFL personnel. In recent years the event has attracted personnel from teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Jets, New York Giants, New England Patriots and Cleveland Browns. The event has also played host to coaches and executives like Tom Coughlin, Bill Cowher, Herman Edwards, Carl Petersen, Jerry Angelo and Matt Millen.

This time around the Nittany Lions have a bit of competition for NFL personnel, with several other teams holding their Pro Days on Tuesday as well, including Florida, Georgia, Boston College, Syracuse, and Virginia.

Basic Benefits

The main benefit of PSU's Pro Day for the players is comfort. As one program observer said, "The [players] are in familiar surroundings and get to work out where they have their entire [PSU] career. Plus there are fewer distractions with media cameras and such."

Penn State forbids the media from attending Pro Day.

The event also provides an added opportunity for players, both the standouts and relative unknowns. "Dan Connor was wiped out with the flu during the NFL Combine," one observer said. "His stock is already pretty high thanks to his overall career and an impressive Senior Bowl. But this Pro Day gives him another shot for the NFL guys who want to see him run and lift in person."

As for the lesser known players, "[Pro Day] gives them a shot to standout and open some eyes," another observer explained. The best example of this was when walk-on wideout Ethan Kilmer basically used PSU's Pro Day to get into the NFL.

In the bench, Kilmer began to get noticed when he uncorked 19 reps of 225 pounds, a terrific number for a wideout or defensive back. Kilmer then stole the show, posting a 4.38-second 40-yard dash, a 41-inch vertical leap and 10-foot, 10-inch broad jump. One scout pulled Kilmer aside to talk after his performance in the bench press, but by the time he was finished for the day Kilmer was the talk of the event.

"Ethan is the exception, but if a guy has it in him, this is the place to let it all out and impress some decision-makers," one observer said.

Simple Set-Up

The Pro Day event is set up much like the NFL Combine. It will start at about 11 a.m., when players are measured (height, wingspan, hand size) and weighed.

Then the players participate in a series of events that can include:

  • 40-yard dash
  • 225-pound bench press
  • Broad jump
  • Vertical leap
  • Standing long jump
  • Shuttle run
  • 3-cone "L" drill

Aside from these standard events, the NFL observers can put individual players through workouts at various positions to get an idea of how the player may handle a position, even one different from the role they played at PSU.

PSU Participants

Another possible impact to PSU's Pro Day attendance may be the relatively small list of seniors expected to be featured at the event, although "Dan [Connor] may be enough to draw a lot of folks," an observer explained. Other observers feel that there is "confusion and curiosity" around [quarterback Anthony] Morelli's abilities, which could also help to attract "a crowd."

Pro scouts love Morelli's raw materials but are said to be anxious to see how he reacts to direction from an NFL coach.

Other observer also feel that King's speedy NFL combine performance, where he posted a sizzling 4.31 second 40, has some NFL scouts anxious to see more and to have the opportunity to talk with King one-on-one.

Also, since tailback Rodney Kinlaw was not invited to the combine, teams are expected to take a long look at him. Many scouts feel his best chance of making a roster is as a return specialist.

Among the players expected to participate in Tuesday's Pro Day are:

Also expected to attend is former Nittany Lion running back Austin Scott, who was dismissed from the team in the middle of the 2007 season and later charged with rape and aggravated assault. The case against him is pending.

Also, fullback Matt Hahn will particpate in the event on a limited basis. Hahn was sidelined with an ACL tear in his right knee which was sustained against Indiana earlier this past season.

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