For Shuler, who was not invited to any post-season all-star games or the NFL Combine, this was his only shot to impress the league's personnel types. Since the scouts were only allowed into one PSU practice last season, it added even more importance to Pro Day for anyone who did not participate in the Combine.
It seemed like I opened up some eyes and everyone was impressed with the numbers I put up, Shuler said. I was happy with that.
He should have been. After spending the last two-plus months working out at the API training facility in Pensacola, Fla., Shuler (6-foot-4, 251 pounds) ran a hand-timed 4.62-second 40-yard dash and bench pressed 225 pounds 28 times.
His vertical jump was 37.5 inches and his broad jump was 10 feet, 11 inches.
It is tricky to compare his 40 time directly to results from the Combine, as they were all electronic measures. But his bench would have placed second among tight ends at the Combine, his vertical would have been third and his broad jump would have been first.
Back to the 40, fellow PSU tight end Andrew Quarless -- who did attend the Combine and is considered a prospect on the rise -- turned in a slightly faster 40 than Shuler Wednesday (4.57). But in every other event in which they both participated (20-yard shuttle, 3-cone, 60-yard shuttle, both jumps) Shuler posted better numbers.
The son of the former PSU and NFL standout tight end of the same name, Shuler basically shared the tight end spot with Quarless last season. Considered the better blocker of the two, he was not thrown to nearly as often, and as such finished with only 11 catches for 89 yards and a pair of scores.
He began training at API Jan. 6 and did not return to Pennsylvania until last Saturday. He admitted that missing out on the Combine was a mixed blessing.
It was disappointing in the fact that I thought I had a shot [to make the Combine], Shuler said. But I knew I would be on the bubble. I ended up not making it, but it was no real sweat off my back. It let me see everyone else set their times and gave me a goal to shoot for.
He added that the worst parts were not getting the chance of competing with all of those guys at the Combine and also missing out on the greater exposure the event provides.
The good news for Shuler is that every NFL team was said to have a scout at the PSU Pro Day. And after his performance, many of them expressed preliminary interest, including representatives of Cleveland, Indianapolis, New Orleans and St. Louis.
While he did not set up any visits to teams Wednesday, he is hoping to gets news along those lines in the near future. He will stay in State College for a day or so before heading home to Harrisburg for a couple days of downtime. He will be ready to make visits at a moment's notice.
The next week should be fun, he said. Hopefully I'll get a few phone calls, which would be nice.
He is also anxious to get back into the swing of actual football preparation after spending the last couple of months honing his testing skills.
I get to train for football again instead of training for a track meet, he said with a laugh. But I had a lot of fun doing it. I'm just glad Pro Day is over and I don't have to do the 3-cone and shuttle and 40-yard dash again.