*PRINT ONLY* Pro day

HEADLINE: Two NFL scouts attend GV pro day

SUBHEAD: Lakers compete in combine drills, await phone call

By Jay Bushen

[email protected]

In 2013, there was a buzz inside the Kelly Family Sports Center when 23 NFL scouts saw Charles Johnson, Tim Lelito and 16 other hopefuls up close at Grand Valley State’s pro day.

The buzz was more of a murmur at 8 a.m. on Monday, but that didn’t stop eight seniors from giving it all they had in front of two scouts representing the Atlanta Falcons and Detroit Lions.

Seven former GVSU players participated this year: defensive lineman Isiah Dunning, nickel Deonté Hurst, cornerback DeVonté Jones, defensive end Matt Mosley, punter Chris Picano, running back Chris Robinson and tight end Joe Wirth. Ferris State cornerback A.J. McEwen worked out, as well.

The seniors took part in the 40-yard dash, shuttle run, three-cone drill, vertical and broad jumps and bench press (times were not displayed this year or disclosed by scouts). A few Wonderlic tests were taken from there, but that was all.

The scouts may not have stayed to watch any individual drills as they had in 2013, but they were there. And for players like Robinson, who has been taking classes and working an on-campus grounds job, that means there might be a chance.

“We definitely put in a lot of work,” said Robinson, who rushed for a GVSU single-game record of 261 yards at Findlay in October. “Especially having school and work at the same time. Trying to find time to work out by yourself, it’s hard to do, but you have to have the mentality.

“All we need is a team to give us a shot. That’s what the NFL did for (Johnson and Lelito).”

Last season, Johnson and Lelito moved up the NFL ranks as members of the Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints, respectively. Johnson, a receiver, played in 12 games and caught 31 passes for 475 yards and two scores. Lelito, a backup center, landed in the Saints starting lineup late in the season, snapping footballs to Drew Brees.

“It says a lot,” Dunning said. “Especially coming from a place like Grand Valley, a Division II school, where we’ve got guys that are not only getting to the next level but exceeding expectations at the next level. I know that we really haven’t been where Grand Valley football is supposed to be in the past couple of years as far as winning championships, but it just goes to show that we still have the talent. I’m happy for guys like C.J., Cam Bradfield and Dan Skuta that are giving us an opportunity because it opens scouts’ eyes up.

“One thing I think no NFL scout can doubt is my effort and my motor. Wherever the ball is, that’s where I’m going to be. I have some things to fix technique wise and some other improvements I need to make, but one thing you can always count on is my effort and my attitude.”

After he and Wirth worked out at a regional combine in Chicago on Saturday, Dunning put up 23 reps on the bench (225 pounds). The next-best performance was 22 reps – coming from GVSU’s All-GLIAC First Team punter, Picano.

Hurst, a 2014 Daktronics All-America Second Team honoree, recorded a 34-inch vertical jump. He said he’s heard from “quite a few” NFL teams since leading GVSU in tackles for the second year in a row. The hybrid nickel showcased his versatility last season by tallying 92 stops, two interceptions, four pass breakups, a fumble recovery and a return touchdown as the Lakers finished 6-5.

“A lot of these guys had real big impacts in the 2013 season,” Hurst said. “The 2014 season didn’t go the way that we wanted it to, but we know what we can do. I know what these guys can do. They’re going to put their all into it, they’re going to get after it. That’s just the type of men they are.”