NFL scouts visit Marshall
HUNTINGTON -- With NFL games being played on Sundays, many of Marshall players wished that Pro Day had also taken place on Sunday.
That's because this past Sunday, it was 75 degrees -- a stark contrast from the 30-degree, snow-riddled weather that came over the Tri-State for Marshall's Pro Day on Wednesday.
Even the elements couldn't keep the contingent from the most important day in the chase for their dreams, though.
"At this point, there's no turning back," former Marshall linebacker Devin Arrington said. "Once you go out there, you just try to block it out. Football's not always played in the warmth."
Arrington was one of seven Marshall seniors who took part in Pro Day, along with Fairmont State's Matt Wilmer, for scouts and coaches from 22 NFL teams on Wednesday.
Some teams even brought a scout and a position coach with them to the workouts in an attempt to get a gauge on the Herd's senior talent.
Many of the teams were in attendance to check out wide receiver Aaron Dobson, who has been projected anywhere from a late first-round pick to a fourth-round pick among the analysts.
Dobson was coming off a hamstring injury which kept him from the physical portion of the NFL Combine in Indianapolis at the end of February.
Therefore, all eyes were on Dobson as he took part in the 40-yard dash and ran routes for various scouts in need of a playmaking receiver.
While the Pro Day participants were in the weight room on Wednesday morning, a snow-squall came through downtown Huntington and briefly covered the field at Joan C. Edwards Stadium, forcing the 40-yard dash into the concourse inside the Cam Henderson Center where Marshall's track team normally practices.
Despite the move indoors, Dobson showed that he's shaken off the ill-effects of his hamstring injury, running the 40-yard dash in 4.42 and 4.40 on his two attempts.
He also had a vertical jump of 35 inches, broad jump of 10.1 feet and pushed out 16 repetitions at the 225-pound bench-press.
"That was definitely tough," Dobson said. "We've all been training out here. It wasn't bad, but it was just like a shocker, you know. We had to adjust. It's crazy how the weather is up here, but it happens. We had a good workout, though."
The entire circuit returned to the field for route-running where Dobson took the lead in all activities and also helped explain routes to teammates as scouts asked them for various specialty routes.
Dobson's improved footwork shined with scouts as he ran crisp, clean routes that drew praise from Phil McGeoghan, the Miami Dolphins' assistant wide receiver coach who coordinated the wide receiver drills.
During the drills, Dobson joined fellow receivers Antavious Wilson and Andre Snipes-Booker in running routes, pushing each other to do their best.
Dobson said it was special to get back on the field with his fellow seniors and push each other one last time in the quest for their dreams.
After spending the last four years with most of the players, Dobson hadn't seen most since going to Florida to train at IMG Academies in Bradenton, Fla.
"Seeing Tay (Wilson), Book (Booker), D.A. (Arrington) -- all them boys," Dobson said. "We've been here a long time. Not being around each other for three months was crazy. It feels good to see my brothers again. We had a good workout."
Booker put up the fastest 40-yard dash time of the day with a 4.35 on his second attempt.
Dom LeGrande took top honors in the vertical jump at 36 1/2 inches while Arrington's broad jump of 10 feet, 3 1/2 inches was tops among the group. LeGrande also boasted of a 4.49-40-yard dash.
Okechukwu Okoroha took top honors in the bench press with 25 reps at 225 pounds while Wilmer was right behind with 23.
Wilmer, a 5-11, 195-pound wide receiver prospect, was statistically impressive on Wednesday.
In addition to the 23 reps on the 225-pound bench press, Wilmer's best 40-yard dash time was a 4.53 while he added a 35-inch vertical. He said his best 40-time has been a 4.40.
He will also take part in his own Pro Day at Fairmont State on Thursday in hopes of improving and impressing again, but said he was pleased with his day at Marshall.
"My agent thought I'd get a little more exposure if I came to a D-I school, so he got me in here," Wilmer said. "Fairmont wasn't sure if they'd have one until a week ago, so I have a chance to make up 40 times tomorrow."
Wilmer was not the only non-Marshall person trying to catch the eyes of scouts.
Former West Virginia quarterback Jarrett Brown was called on to throw to the wide receivers in the group.
Brown is still in great shape and was all smiles after throwing to the receivers and putting the ball on the money in the frigid conditions on Wednesday.
"Every time I get this opportunity, I'm going to be there," said Brown, who came up from Florida over the weekend to throw for Pro Day. "I threw at three Pro Days last year. Anytime you get that chance to be in front of scouts, you have to take it."
The NFL Draft is scheduled for April 25-27 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.
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