By Joe DeLeone
SMITHFIELD, R.I. - From big-name SEC superstars to Division III sensations, every college football player across the country shares the dream of playing on the grandest stage that is the
NFL. For five Rhode Island football players, Tuesday was an opportunity to impress scouts, and, hopefully making their dream possible.
Working out on the Bryant University campus, Rhody seniors Mike Ezrike, Harold Buckner III, Harold Cooper, T.J. Anderson and Jose Duncan participated in numerous drills, including the bench press, vertical jump, broad jump and the 40-yard dash. Additionally, they showed off their on field movements skills in various positional drills directed by scouts from the New England Patriots, as well as the Bryant strength and conditioning staff.
Leading the way on bench press was Ezirike, a defensive lineman. He had 93 tackles, including 8.5 sacks and 24 tackles for loss in his career. Ezrike did 25 repititions for the 225-pound bench press and had a 40 time of 4.84 seconds. Despite flashing his athleticism for a 280 pounder, Ezrike still believes there was room for improvement.
"By general standards I did okay. nut I could have ran better times if I had better technique," Ezirike said. "The experience was huge for me and I'm blessed to of been able to have the opportunity to display my talents to the NFL."
Also impressing the scouts in attendance was five-time All-CAA selection Harold Cooper, who finished his career with 4,765 all purpose yards and 16 total touchdowns. Cooper ran a 4.40 40-yard dash, did 16 reps on the bench, and showed a 32.5 inch vertical jump.
"This day was very important to me," Cooper said. "I have been waiting on this for a long time and getting a shot at an NFL roster will be everything I worked so hard for. Having the opportunity would give hope to others who do not think they could do it."
Defensive lineman Jose Duncan had a good day after posting 23 bench press reps and the best broad jump of nine feet, seven inches. Duncan amassed 161 tackles, 12.5 sacks, and three forced fumbles during his career at Rhode Island. Also participating were running back Anderson, who had the best vertical jump (33 inches) and Buckner, a wide receiver who had a broad jump of nine feet, six inches.
After completing their pro day, there is still a long way to go for the five players before the NFL Draft on April 28. In the meantime, they will return to their respective
training facilities as they wait for their phones to ring.