The Packers skipped the bigger South Carolina pro day and were one of 11 teams at South Carolina State's pro day in Orangeburg, S.C., last week. Meanwhile, a day after auditioning in front of a scout from the Saints at Coastal Carolina's pro day in Conway, S.C., Wofford's Chris Tommie made the 127-mile trek from Conway to Orangeburg.
After South Carolina State's players went through drills, Tommie got his chance and opened the eyes of the scouts.
The workout was so good and his punts so consistent that several of the teams in attendance — including the Packers — requested game tapes of Tommie in action, a source told Packer Report. Not bad considering Tommie doesn't even rank among the top 12 punting prospects on Scout.com or the 18 listed on ESPN.com and checks in at No. 29 on NFLDraftScout.com.
As a senior, Tommie averaged 43.8 yards on his 29 punts, with four of 50 yards or longer. He had three inside-the-20 kicks, just one touchback and forced eight fair catches. Tommie's get-off time is "excellent," Wofford coach Mike Ayers told Packer Report. Tommie had two punts blocked, but like the one at Wisconsin, that was because of protection breakdowns.
Plus, he handled kickoffs and is a capable holder.
Tommie missed the 2008 season after tearing the PCL in his knee when getting, as Ayers put it, "too close to the pile" in a late-season game in 2007. Tommie punted in the playoffs despite the injury.
One thing the scouts like is Tommie's directional kicking ability. Ayers recalls a game against West Virginia in which Tommie "put on a clinic" by averaging 44.3 yards on six punts. None of them were returned.
With one well-timed performance in front of scouts, he'll get at least an invitation to a training camp.
"He's been very consistent in his ability to kick the football, game in and game out," Ayers said. "He has the good fortune of being able to let them bad kicks go, if he has one, and gets onto the next kick and does real well. Even if he strokes it bad, he's going to be around 40 yards. He's one of those guys that he works and he does the little things, the technique things, that are so important. He's really honed in on those."
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.