BYU football: Former Cougars work out for NFL scouts at Pro Day
By Jay Drew
The Salt Lake TribuneFirst published Mar 29 2012 06:18PM
Provo • Running back JJ Di Luigi didn’t lose his lunch, as he often did before big BYU football games, and offensive tackle Matt Reynolds was far more relaxed than he was a month ago at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. Center Terence Brown showed off his gnarly, post-BYU beard and his slimmed-down physique, and defensive tackle Hebron Fangupo grinned and joked around constantly, just like always.
The Cougars held their Pro Day for NFL scouts on Thursday, and most of the 13 participants — 10 from BYU and three from other schools — said they were happy with how they performed. Representatives and/or scouts from approximately 17 NFL teams attended the three-hour workout.
With no BYU quarterback graduating this year, former Cougar Max Hall tossed the ball around to receivers such as Di Luigi and McKay Jacobson.
"It was a great experience," Di Luigi said. "Just happy to be out here and have this opportunity."
Results and times were not released by the scouts, but the strongest departing Cougar who lifted Thursday was Jordan Pendleton, who bench-pressed 225 pounds almost 30 times, unofficially. Pendleton is still recovering from knee surgery and didn’t do any other drills. Fangupo didn’t lift, preferring to let stand his bench-press results from last month’s NFL Combine (36 reps).
Hard to tell who was the fastest Cougar, but it was most likely Corby Eason, Jacobson or Di Luigi, who said he spent the last three months training hard for this day. Di Luigi ran with an Olympic speed coach and did some high-speed treadmill work, he said, knowing he likely won’t be drafted but hoping to land a camp invite as a free agent.
"Realistically, I think I can do punts, kickoffs, slot receiver, third-down back. I think I got hands, and that’s kind of what they want to see out of me, whether I can catch the ball out of the back field, and I did a great showing in that," he said. "Hopefully, somebody wants a playmaker and a third-down back, someone who can get the first down on a third-and-long."
Reynolds quite likely will be the only Cougar drafted (Fangupo also has a shot), and he’s also spent the last three months getting ready for the draft. He shaved nearly 3/10 of a second off his 40 time from the combine (5.39), clocking in around 5.1 on Thursday.
"Honestly, it was really good," he said. "… It was a lot less stressful than the combine, so I felt really good about it."
Linebacker Jameson Frazier, defensive end Matt Putnam and safety Travis Uale also participated, along with Harvard quarterback Andrew Hatch of Las Vegas, Southern Utah lineman Devin Tavana and Les Brown, the older brother of BYU offensive tackle Braden Brown.
Les Brown played football and basketball at Highland High, but he played only basketball in college, at Westminster. The 6-foot-4, 240-pounder hopes to draw some NFL attention as a tight end, much like San Diego Chargers TE Antonio Gates did after playing basketball in college.