Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Several Jayhawks trying to impress at pro day

Mike Rivera

Mike Rivera


Just two months after their collegiate careers drew to a close, a handful of former Kansas University football players are trying to convince professional scouts they’ve got the requisite tools to play at the next level.

Eleven former Jayhawks participated in Tuesday’s “pro day” in Lawrence, one of the final opportunities for NFL teams to evaluate college players before next month’s draft.

Offensively, receivers Dexton Fields, Raymond Brown and Marcus Herford and linemen Ryan Cantrell and Adrian Mayes took part, while defensive representatives included linebackers Mike Rivera, James Holt and Joe Mortensen and defensive backs Kendrick Harper and Patrick Resby.

James McClinton, a former second-team all-American defensive tackle during his senior season in ’07, also participated.

“From the day we got back from the bowl game, we took a week off, and then we got right back to (training),” said Rivera of the preparation for the event. “We’ve been working for about seven weeks straight — eating right, lifting, running.”

In addition to official weight and height measurements and position drills, pro scouts put players through a series of evaluative exercises Tuesday, ranging from the bench press and broadjump to the vertical leap and 40-yard dash.

And for players in need of a strong showing — none of Kansas’ seniors earned an invite to last month’s NFL combine, held Feb. 18-24 in Indianapolis, making Tuesday’s workout that much more integral — the day brought about a good dose of nerves.

“You only get shots at some of the drills one time, and that’s it,” said Rivera, who recorded a team-best 38.5-inch vertical. “And just to think that it rides on one drill is kind of (nerve-wracking).”

In one of the more intriguing developments of the day, former Kansas linebacker Joe Mortensen completed some drills at fullback — a position he hasn’t played since high school but one he says he’s open to playing at the next level if an opportunity presents itself.

“I was an all-state fullback in California,” said Mortensen, a first-team all-Big 12 linebacker as a junior in ’07. “I just love to hit, so it doesn’t really matter which side of the ball it is.”

The Kansas football team, meanwhile, kicked off its spring practice Monday and, after an off-day Tuesday, will be back on the field today for a 3:30 p.m. practice that is open to the public.

The Jayhawks will host their annual Spring Game on April 11 at 2 p.m. at Memorial Stadium.


Brad Avery 10 years, 10 months ago

If you're going to run the story, why not publish the complete results of the pro-day events? Some of us follow the draft and are interested.

okjhok 10 years, 10 months ago

38.5" vertical from Rivera?! I'd like to see that...not saying it's a misprint, but I doubt anyone on the basketball team can touch that number. That's some serious hops, especially for a 260 lb individual.

cozzhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

I would have to disagree with the previous statement.

Jim Jackson 10 years, 10 months ago

OKjhok, you're a clown and have no idea as to what you're saying. Good call cozz. Agreed, why no mention of the rest of the results? Sick hops for Rivera. Why no mention of the JUCO LB that committed? Unacceptable. Rock Frickin Chalk baby!!

CaramelMacchMan 10 years, 10 months ago


I watched that game live and i swear i got up from my seat when he dunked that.

plotku 10 years, 10 months ago

I read the other day on Rivals that we have ptentially recieved a commitment form one of the top LB's in the state of Califormia. Anyone have any information on this?

plotku 10 years, 10 months ago

I also noticed that vertical leap number would have been the highest of any linebacker at the NFL combine. That's sweet. It's about time the national scouts and media get on board with the talent level that is beginning to come out of the University of Kansas. And also okjhok Conner Barwin posted a vertical of 40.5" and he weighs 256. SO why is it so hard for you to believe Rivera could put up a decent number?

okjhok 10 years, 10 months ago

I never said it was hard to believe he put up that number. My point was that if he really did, that's very impressive, that's all. Why is everyone up in arms about my comment?
cozzhawk, can't get youtube at work, what's the clip? I don't care what anybody says, a 38.5 vert from a 260 lb linebacker is big time. MILFdestroyer...don't be a punk, we're all in the same gang here

cozzhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

it is impressive, but not as impressive as the clip! you'll have to wait till you get home to see it!

zkwku 10 years, 10 months ago

Yea, where are the full results? I rather see that than read an article that doesn't even say who did well/poorly or the scouts reactions...

mbmerriman 10 years, 10 months ago

okjhok, agreed, milfdestroyer, why you hatin, 38.5 is very impressive for any athlete wtf are you talking about yea even for basketball go read any scouting report, Rivera might get a look at the next level if the results are reliable

Commenting has been disabled for this item.