On Tuesday morning, scouts from NFL teams filled the Watson and Tressel Training Site as five Youngstown State University seniors displayed their talents at YSU Pro Day.
Penguins Jamaine Cook, Mark Pratt, Aronde Stanton, Will Shaw and Lamar Mady performed in front of 12 NFL scouts. Among the scouts were representatives from the Cleveland Browns, the Pittsburgh Steelers, the New England Patriots and the New York Giants.
Cook admitted that he was nervous coming into the event. He described the experience as “huge.”
“I was up at 5 o’clock this morning, rolling around, tossing, thinking about that 40 that I had to start over four or five times,” he said. “It’s the biggest interview of your life.”
Shaw said he enjoyed the experience of having all the scouts watch the five players go through drills and “slept like a baby” the night before. He said having the familiarity of YSU helped him stay focused during the Pro Day drills.
“Seven days a week you spend your whole time training with them, so there’s kind of more of that comfort level with having them around,” he said.
At Pro Day, the seniors displayed their strength, stamina and speed in various drills, including bench press repetitions, a vertical jump and a 40-yard dash. Individual defense and offense position drills closed out the day’s events.
Cook, Pratt and Stanton bench-pressed 225 pounds 23 times each, while Shaw outdid his teammates with 24 reps.
Mady had already showcased his skills at the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine by benching 225 pounds 35 times, the second-best performance. He had been disappointed in his time, 5.48 minutes, for the 40-yard dash.
Mady said he was thankful for the second chance to show his skills. He said that he performed a lot better at YSU’s Pro Day than at the NFL Combine.
“I feel like I made a statement,” he said. “All in all, it was a pretty good day.”
Cook led the way in the vertical jump with a jump of 40.5 inches, while both Shaw and Stanton reached 34.5 inches. Pratt reached 25.5 inches, and Mady recorded 26. In the 40-yard dash, Shaw recorded the fastest time with 4.73 minutes. Stanton ran a 5.09, Mady ran a 5.32, Pratt ran a 5.41 and Cook recorded a 4.78 time.
Cook was not satisfied with his 40-yard dash time, but felt confident in his showing. He plans to keep working out and is going to stay focused on the goal.
“I did all I can to prepare myself up until this point, so now the rest is out of my hands and we’ll see what the Lord has in store for us,” he said.
Before the draft, Mady is going to play things by ear while keeping himself in tip-top shape. He plans on visiting the Carolina Panthers over spring break.
“It’s just waiting on teams to call me and see if they want to meet with me and pretty much just getting myself ready for football,” he said.
Shaw has a similar mindset as the five Penguins wait out the next month and a half for the draft.
“I don’t get too ahead of myself,” he said. “Once it happens, I’m sure I’ll get nervous. I’ll probably be fine until that moment, and then I’ll start worrying about something.”