Jason Hendricks had the most accomplished career of any player not invited to the NFL Combine.
Hendricks was very close to joining the two-deep as a true freshman in 2009, due to injuries. Luckily. He was able to hold on to that redshirt.
He went on to play in 46 career games with 37 starts. Even more impressive than his experience is what he did in that experience. He finished as the team's active leader in tackles and interceptions. He was a second-team All-Big East selection in 2012, after leading the team with 90 tackles and six interceptions. The interception total was the most for a Pitt player in 12 years.
He followed that up by earning Honorable Mention All-ACC honors, finishing with 85 tackles--the team's leading tackler in each of his final two seasons.
He has the productivity and experience that NFL teams like to hear about it. All he needed was a good performance at Pitt's Pro Day, something he feels pretty good about.
"It was pretty important because my agent told me a lot of teams are just looking for that Pro Day," Hendricks said. "Hopefully, they were impressed."
Hendricks didn't take it too personal, not being invited to the Combine. He understands that it's a business.
"A little bit, but there's certain people they want to see," Hendricks said. "Unfortunately, I wasn't one of those guys. I kind of took it a little to heart. You just control the controllables and do what you have to do, spend my time with training and try to get better every day."
He approached Pro Day in a similar manner to the way he approached coming to a Pitt prospect camp in 2008, where he came in hopes of getting an offer. Also at that same prospect camp was a receiver by the name of Devin Street. The Pitt coaches paired up Hendricks with Street, in a battle of one-one-ones. Both players were offered at the same camp, and committed to Pitt shortly after that.
Nearly six years later, Hendricks found himself on the same field with Street, working out in the hopes of impressing NFL scouts. He says his friendship with Street is just one part of preparing for this day. Both players became mainstays.
"We try to push each other to the max, every day," Hendricks said. "You even get physical sometimes. We talk trash to each other, but we spend a lot of time together. Off the field, we stay in contact. Most times, he always tells me to go home--I'm always at his house. We created a bond and a friendship, and I'm happy for him, to see him come this far."
Hendricks trained locally at Power Train, a facility in Wexford. He will continue to train, hoping to get a call from an NFL team. Hendricks understands the process. He has a good track record to back up his Pitt career, now complete with a good Pro Day performance. Now, he has to play the waiting game.
"You become anxious," Hendricks said. "You're waiting for that time. The Draft is in May, now, so you get a little antsy. You just want to see what happens. You just control what you can do, just take it day by day.
"Right now, I'm just a football player, but I want to make it professionally. I want to make it a career, but we'll see what happens. Just taking it day by day, just trying to worry about me, and getting myself better, trying becoming a better player."