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Hard work paying off for Passmore

Mar. 27, 2009 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- Normally when a sports writer asks a coach or player "is there anything else you'd like to add?" it's essentially a throwaway question.

The interviewee routinely is content to be done with the media chat and return to more pressing tasks. Marshall University football player Darius Passmore proved the exception following an extended Pro Day workout, offering a real message to student-athletes who will follow.

"To all the kids out there, you can do anything if you put your mind to it," the former Thundering Herd wide receiver said.

Sounds cliché, but Passmore spoke with conviction.

Despite elite talents, including breakaway speed at the all-important X-receiver position, Passmore ranked as anything but an NFL Draft lock one year ago. A pair of injuries compromised his junior season, but he emerged as Marshall's most dynamic wideout as a healthy senior.

The NFL Draft remains a definition of a sports unknown, but the 6-foot-3, 188-pound Florida City, Fla., native seemingly has positioned himself into mid-round standing. That status was shaken after he timed a disappointing 4.51 seconds in the NFL Combine 40-yard dash. But, Passmore clocked between 4.42 and 4.46 seconds before numerous scouts during last week's Marshall Pro Day.

"I came out with the attitude that I had to do better, so I came out more focused," Passmore said. "For me, I approached it as a business.

"They already knew how fast I was. They just told me to keep working. I'm going to get drafted, but they told me to keep working because they already know what I can do.

"I wanted to get down to 4.3, but at least I got it down from 4.5. I really don't know what round I'm going to get drafted in, but the scouts are talking pretty well so I have to wait and see."

Passmore's performance was validated by one-on-one chats with scouts after his 40-time lowered despite less-than-ideal conditions. An Atlanta Falcons representative was among those talking post-workout with the Herd's leading 2008 receiver.

"He told me he liked the way I came out and worked," Passmore said. "Obviously, I'm doing something right and he told me to stay positive."

Passmore's senior season featured team-bests of 56 receptions and 945 yards, averaging 16.9 yards a catch. His seven touchdowns ranked one behind tight end Cody Slate for the team lead among receivers.

Between now and the April 25-26 NFL Draft, Passmore will remain in Huntington, preparing five days a week under the tutelage of Marshall strength and conditioning coach Mike Cochran and assistant Scott Wilks.

"It's real exciting because it's been a long road," Passmore said. "(People said) I wasn't going to make it, so I had to face a lot of adversity, a lot of negativity but I kept my head up and believed in myself. And I had people around me who pushed me when I had no confidence.

"I'm at the front door now so I'm real excited and I'm happy, and I'm happy for the people I have in the circle around me."

HUNTINGTON -- CBS College Sports Network will televise an Oct. 3 football game between East Carolina and Marshall at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.

Kickoff for the Homecoming game is noon.

Marshall also has a Sunday, Nov. 1 game at UCF being televised on ESPN with an 8:15 p.m. kickoff.

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