Former Laker Judon prepares for NFL Draft
GVSU standout figures to hear name called in late April
GVL / Kevin Sielaff - Matt Judon (9) patrols the sideline. Grand Valley defeats Ferris with a final score of 38-34 at Top Taggart Field Nov. 28 in Big Rapids, MI.
After wrapping up one of the most prolific playing careers in Grand Valley State history, Matt Judon is looking to join another elite club, as he prepares for the 2016 NFL Draft in late April.
Now graduated, Judon has set up shop in Pensacola, Florida, where he trains with roughly 30 other NFL Draft prospects at EXOS, a company designed to improve physicality and football skill.
“We wake up at 6 a.m., go in and eat breakfast… We work out in the morning and we do outside running and stuff on the field, then we come in and we have to get a lower body lift, then lunch and have a break until our second workout,” Judon said.
Judon received an invite to the East-West Shrine Game, an annual postseason college football all-star game slated for Jan. 23. A knee scope revealed a tweaked meniscus, however, and Judon decided to spend time rehabbing his knee and working out, rather than competing in the Shrine Game.
The 6-foot-3-inch, 255-pound defensive end boasts blinding speed and punishing strength. He set the GVSU single-season sack record with 20 in 2015, and finished his career with 34 sacks – good for the GVSU all-time record.
Judon was showered with awards and recognition following his record-breaking campaign, but he has finally allowed his focus to shift on what’s next – the NFL Draft.
He will look to become just the seventh Laker in program history to be drafted into the NFL. The most recent GVSU draftee was wide receiver Charles Johnson, who was selected in the seventh round of the 2013 draft by the Green Bay Packers. GVSU’s highest draft pick was cornerback Brandon Carr, taken by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2008 fifth round.
In all, 18 Lakers have made NFL appearances. Judon has a rising stock, and fills out as the 10th best defensive end prospect by www.nfldraftscout.com. He knows the potential to compete at the next level exists, but he also knows there’s still work to be done.
“I’m focused on the now because you can’t look at that stuff,” Judon said. “If you let one day slip past, you might miss something that’ll help you down the line, so I just be really focused on what I have to do right now, and get my body where it needs to be, so when that date does come, I’ll be ready.”
Judon has signed with Sportstars, Inc., a sports agency located in New York. He plans to present himself as a defensive lineman for the draft, though some scouts have projected him to flip to outside linebacker if he ends up on a team running a 3-4 defense.
“Obviously he doesn’t lack experience standing up, but I've told every scout I've seen (Judon) mess around enough athletically, he’s a good football player," said GVSU head coach Matt Mitchell. "It was in our best interest to put him at defensive end, but most of the interest I’ve heard is more interested as a (linebacker).
Judon has been in Pensacola since Jan. 3, and plans to remain there until March 3. Soon, he expects to hear whether or not he has been invited to the NFL Combine, which takes place in Indianapolis from Feb. 23-29.
He later expects to return to GVSU to host a Pro Day in late March. NFL scouts from a number of different teams observed Laker practices last season, and inquired with Mitchell about Judon.
The 2016 NFL Draft is slated to begin on April 28, as Judon looks to join Dan Skuta and Carr as GVSU's most prolific NFL players in history.