McKillop Makes His Mark

The annual NFL Combine from Wednesday through Feb. 24 is the perfect chance for someone like former Pitt middle linebacker Scott McKillop to improve his standing for the NFL Draft in two months.

Projected anywhere from the second to the fourth round, Scott McKillop has been training tremendously hard since the Panthers returned from the Sun Bowl. McKillop left Pittsburgh to train with Ken Vick at the Velocity Sports Performance facility in Irvine, Calif.

"We do our speed work in the morning and our lifting in the afternoon,'' McKillop said. "That's Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Monday and Thursday I also do position work, and Wednesday I watch film and do Chalk Talk. Wednesday and Saturday I have restoration, a lot of pool workouts.

"This type of training is very specific for certain types of muscles and certain events. Actually, a lot of the stuff we're doing is similar to what we were doing at Pitt with Buddy and James the past few years. But we're just trying to have a lot of output in just a short amount of time, and we're hoping for the best.''

The athletes have loaded up on the workouts since Jan. 5, when McKillop came to California, and they are de-loading now to be able to peak for the Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

McKillop has been training with a number former college stars like linebacker Clay Mathews from USC, quarterback Mark Sanchez from USC, defensive lineman B.J. Raji from Boston College, wideout Patrick Turner from USC, quarterback Pat White from West Virginia, running back Donald Brown from Connecticut and cornerback Mike Mickens from Cincinnati.

McKillop also spent a week in Mobile, Ala. at the Senior Bowl, so a lot of coaches and scouts will get to see him after the Combine is over. And he's well aware that he has to be on top of his game.

"You're under the microscope, and every action has a reaction,'' McKillop said. "Everything is intense. ... The Senior Bowl, it was a long week. It felt like training camp all over again. But it was a great opportunity for me to see how I stacked up against the best seniors, the best players in college football.

"The game was a little bit faster down there, and I think I did all right. They know I can play football, and they have 11-on-11 drills to see what you can do in those. Teams want to see how athletic I am and how fast I am, and they want to see how well I test. And there are several ways to test us.

"They have the Wonderlic IQ Test, 50 questions in 12 minutes to see how many you can get right in that time,'' McKillop added. "Then, you have interviews with the coaches and GMs from the NFL teams. They draw some things up on the board and see if you can figure out what they're doing.''

Some might be quite nervous going into an event like the NFL Combine, but McKillop said he'll attempt to be calm and relaxed.

"You can't have any regrets,'' McKillop said. "Just like in football, you have to leave everything on the field, give it all you've got. Once you're done with the Combine and the Pro Day, whatever interviews and workouts you have, it's out of your hands. You can just hope for the best. It's up to the NFL teams after that. So, that's how I'm approaching it.''

McKillop's agents are Brian Murphy and Dave Dunn from Athletes First, the same ones used by former Pitt player and current Washington Redskins middle linebacker H.B. Blades. He introduced McKillop to the group.

"Finding an agent is a difficult process that was frustrating and overwhelming at times, but H.B. recommended these guys. And after other peer referrals, I went with them primarily because of what they offer before and after football.''

Along with McKillop and Blades, Athletes First's client list includes quarterback Derek Anderson, Cleveland Browns; punter Mitch Berger, Pittsburgh Steelers; place-kicker Rob Bironas, Tennessee Titans; quarterback Brock Berlin, St. Louis Rams; quarterback John David Booty, Minnesota Vikings; quarterback Brian Brohm, Green Bay Packers; quarterback Matt Cassel, New England Patriots; quarterback A.J. Feeley, Philadelphia Eagles; quarterback Kellen Clemens, New York Jets; running back DeShawn Foster, San Francisco 49ers; quarterback Kerry Collins, Tennessee Titans; wideout Joe Jurevicious, Cleveland Browns; running back Brandon Jacobs, New York Giants; linebacker Ray Lewis, Baltimore Ravens; quarterback Dan Orlovsky, Detroit Lions; quarterbgack Kyle Orton, Chicago Bears; quarterback Carson Palker, Cincinnati Bengals; quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers; wideout Amani Toomer, New York Giants; quarterback Matt Schaub, Houston Texans; and wideout Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts.

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