NFL scouts from at least twenty different squads gathered at the WVU Football Complex along with coaches and media, to watch former collegians with ambitions of playing on Sundays show off their skills. The most recognizable face in the crowd was that of Pittsburgh Steelers' head coach Mike Tomlin, who spent most of the event palling around with WVU assistant coaches Lonnie Galloway and Chris Beatty, as well head coach Bill Stewart, Tomlin's former boss at VMI. Coach Stewart was his normal jovial self, shaking hands and chatting with everyone he knew (which was most of the crowd) and offering words of encouragement to his former players. Stewart made the trip back to Morgantown from New York City, where he took in WVU's basketball win over Notre Dame in the Big East tournament on Wedesday night.
* * *
Morty Ivy, Ellis Lankster, Ryan Stanchek, Marc Magro, John Holmes, Greg Isdaner, Stephen Maw, Adam Hughes, Dorrell Jalloh, and Jim Lewis took part in the forty yard dash and a series of agility drills. No times were posted or made public by the scouts on any of these events, which the scouts were watching intently. Patrick White and Pat McAfee did not participate in these timed runs. I'm guessing that White's speed and agility are already known commodities and that none of the scouts are interested in the 40 times of kickers (which is a shame, since McAfee seems a bit more athletic than your typical place kicker/punter).
* * *
White was given a chance to show the NFL scouts in attendance the fancy foot work and laser-like left arm that have made him a Mountain State hero during position drills. WVU's all-time winningest QB was loose and crisp, putting plenty of zip on his passes and executing his drops with precision. One forty-yard bomb to former teammate Jalloh drew "oohs" and "ahhhs" from the players and reporters, and hopefully the NFL scouts were equally impressed.
Jalloh put in a lot of effort in these drills as well, and although he dropped a few passes, his route running and overall hustle was commendable.
* * *
The linebackers and defensive backs received some more looks during their position drills, which were all pretty standard tests of agility and quickness. They were followed up by the three participating offensive lineman, who went through a similar workout. Although all of these drills are rather mundane and the players have done them all a million times, they were executed with plenty of intensity in front off the sharp-eyed NFL scouts. McAfee finished the day by showing off his prolific boot on Mountaineer Field.
* * *
While the scouts all remained mum about their player evaluations, they seemed to be paying close attention to Ryan Stanchek, Ivy, and Lankster. However, the player that drew the most attention was (surprise, surprise) Patrick White. All eyes were glued on the Daphne, Ala. native during his performance, which consisted of absolutely no reps at receiver. Despite all the attention, White appeared to be the most relaxed guy in the building. The NFL scouts had to have been impressed with his calm demeanor, along with his quick feet and tight spiral.
An exhausted Stanchek on how he performed: "I think I did fine. I've just been training so hard for this, I'm glad to get it over with."
Ivy on whether he was petitioning Mike Tomlin for a spot on the Steelers defense: "It doesn't matter where, I just wanna play. All I want is a shot to make plays."
White on his pre-draft training: "I've been working on my drop, adding body mass, trying to give my release a little more 'umph'."
White drew, by far, the most media attention. After being pinned down almost immediately after the event ended by just about every reporter in the building, he was summoned by representatives of the NFL Network for a live interview. After that was finished, he answered yet some more questions from the remaining media members, showing off his sense of humor in the process. He said to a reporter holding a television camera, "What was that movie, 30 days of darkness? This has been 62 days of brightness!"
After mentioning that he'd most like to play for the Steelers, he was asked "Would you rather play receiver for the Steelers or quarterback somewhere else?", to which he smiled and said "Come on now, that's a trick question!" And when asked what his plans would be if he was unable to continue playing football, he quipped "I'd be on the other side of the camera, doing interviews, messing with people, asking trick questions."
For one last time at West Virginia, number five stole the show.