NFL hopefuls make their mark at S.C. State Pro Day

2014-04-03T00:45:00Z 2014-04-03T17:32:24Z NFL hopefuls make their mark at S.C. State Pro DayBy THOMAS GRANT JR., T&D Senior Sports Writer The Times and Democrat

The importance of Wednesday’s Pro Day at Oliver C. Dawson Stadium was not lost among the 11 South Carolina State participants.

It was four years ago when strong safety Rafael Bush emerged from near-obscurity among NFL scouts with a strong performance to earn a free agent contract with the Atlanta Falcons. He’s now entering his fifth season in the league and third with the New Orleans Saints.

Wide receiver Caleb Davis finds himself in a similar situation, without an agent and receiving no interest as compared to teammates wide receiver Tyler McDonald and Joe Thomas who ironically, are represented by the same agent as Bush and fellow former Bulldog in the NFL linebacker Marshall McFadden.

“I admire some of those guys coming out here,” Davis said. “Especially coming from Bush’s situation. I’m kind of in the same situation.”

The Wilson High School graduate can only hope to reap similar results following his showing before 11 pro scouts, including all four NFC South Division teams. Davis posted the fastest time (4.44 seconds) in the 40-yard dash among his teammates, longest broad jump (10.4”) and had the second-highest vertical leap (36.5”) behind Thomas (38).

“I think I did pretty good,” Davis said. “I feel pretty good both of the 40s and doing the broad jump. Everything felt good.”

Having had offseason surgery to repair torn ligaments on a left wrist which was problematic throughout the season, McDonald looked to dispel any concerns about his pass-catching ability. The school’s all-time leader in receptions and receiving yards caught short and long passes from teammate Richard Cue and took part in every drill except the benchpress.

“I think overall it was a pretty good day,” he said. “There were a couple of drills where I slipped a little bit. I think I could have put up some better numbers. Overall, I think it was a pretty good day.”

Thomas arrived for Pro Day sporting a build 17 pounds heavier than his playing weight as a senior. The Blackville native and 2013 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year displayed his increased strength with the second-highest number of bench presses and the highest vertical leap.

“I was just undersized for my position in college, so I had to put on a few extra pounds to be in competition with all of the middle linebackers in the league,” Thomas said.

With the NFL draft 35 days away, both McDonald and Thomas will look to step up their training at Velocity near Charlotte, N.C., in anticipation of possible individual workouts with some of the teams in attendance. Sending scouts to study the 11 Bulldogs and five Wofford College players in attendance along with Carolina, Atlanta, New Orleans and Tampa Bay were San Francisco, Indianapolis, Green Bay, San Diego, Kansas City, Cincinnati and Dallas.

SCSU Pro Day results

HT. WGT. 40-YD DASH VERTICAL LEAP # OF BENCH PRESSES (225 lbs.)

LB JOE THOMAS 6’0 227 4.70 38* 22

OL TRISTAN BELLAMY 6’2 298 5.06 23.5 23*

S KIMARIO MCFADDEN 5-10 207 4.52 34 15

WR TYLER MCDONALD 6’0 192 4.53 34.5 DNP

WR CALEB DAVIS 5’11 185 4.44* 36.5 18

CB DARIUS DRUMMOND 5’10 196 4.82 34.5 11

PK NICK BELCHER 5’10 184 DNP DNP 16

CB MASON HARRIS 5’9 179 4.61 N/A 15

QB RICHARD CUE 5’11 197 4.59 34.5 9

TE LAMBERT EVANS 6’3 282 5.45 31 19

FB DEVIN WHERRY 5’11 259 5.23 27 11

* Best showing

Contact the writer: tgrant@timesanddemocrat.com or (803) 533-5547. For more information about S.C. State athletics, visit www.thebulldogzone.com. Follow Grant on Twitter@TandDSports.

Copyright 2014 The Times and Democrat. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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