Bigger Munoz Ready for Pro Day at Rutgers

After training in Florida since early January, former Rutgers linebacker Damaso Munoz headed north Monday in preparation for Wednesday's pro day at Rutgers. Munoz talks about his expectations, how his body changed since the end of the season and what positions he could play in the NFL. Also, Munoz talks about his now-famous flip into the end zone in the St. Petersburg Bowl.

The last time Damaso Munoz performed in front of watchful eyes, he was capping a memorable career with a flip into the end zone at the conclusion of the St. Petersburg Bowl.

Without an invitation to a senior all-star game and or the NFL combine, Wednesday marks the former Rutgers linebacker's first opportunity to showcase his skills as the Scarlet Knights host their annual pro day.

After training in Florida, Munoz headed for New Jersey on Monday morning.

"I want to show the scouts what I'm capable of,'' Munoz said. "The film shows it. I've been a starter for three years, so I'm kind of excited. I want to show teams what I'm capable of doing, what I bring to the table. I'm not really frustrated. I just want to show them what I can do.

"I've been training hard for seven weeks. I'm ready. I'm just trying to relax, stay in the bible and get my mind right to perform.''

Munoz's plight is arguably the most intriguing of those competing at Rutgers' pro day. There is no guarantee he will drafted, unlike offensive tackle Anthony Davis and cornerback Devin McCourty, but he brings a great deal of athleticism and speed to the testing ground in front of scouts and front office personnel of nearly every NFL team.

He is 6-foot, 221 pounds, and it is anticipated he will run in the 4.55 (seconds) range in the 40-yard dash.

And while he is undersized for a linebacker, he offers versatility, which is why he believes he will be a late-round draft pick.

Teams could use Munoz as a third-down specialist, or move him to safety, if they do not believe he has the size to play linebacker every down.

"My agent and I talked over some things, and we thought it was a good idea to weigh in over 220 pounds to give myself a better chance,'' Munoz said. "I need to go out and show what I can do as far as my ability, my speed and my strength.

"I might be undersized, but I might be stronger than some of the linebackers that were at the combine that are bigger than me.''

Through workouts and eating healthier since the end of the season, Munoz gained seven pounds, but added he hasn't lost the speed that allowed him to play sideline-to-sideline for the Scarlet Knights.

Last season he led Rutgers with 81 tackles. He also had three sacks, forced two fumbles and made 8 ½ tackles for loss.

"I'm a linebacker for now,'' Munoz said. "But my agent and I talked about if a team wants to move me to safety, or (be) a third-down linebacker-type, special rover-type player, I'm willing to do whatever. I feel like I bring a lot to the table. I feel like I'm versatile.''

Oh, and about that flip into the end zone after returning an onsides kick for a touchdown in the St. Petersburg Bowl win against Central Florida?

Munoz said he spoke to Scarlet Knights coach Greg Schiano, who usually doesn't go for such displays, about it and came away with the feeling his former coach didn't mind it all that much.

"He kind of took it as putting the cherry on the top of my career,'' Munoz said. "We talked about it, joked around about it.''

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