Eight GVSU players take part in football pro day
The NFL Draft is set for April 27-29
Heads turned, eyebrows raised and whispers crept around the Kelly Family Sports Center practice field. Bystanders confirmed with people who saw the time on the scouts’ stopwatches: 4.53 in the 40-yard dash. The time wasn’t recorded by a running back, a receiver or a corner.
It was linebacker David Talley.
That time was one of the highlights of the Grand Valley State football pro day this past Monday, March 20. GVSU seniors Talley, defensive end Alton Voss, nickelback Marquez Gollman, offensive lineman Aaron Cox, safety Donte Carey, defensive lineman De’Ondre Hogan, defensive lineman Mark Rosenquist and defensive end Sydney Omameh all participated.
“I think they did a good job,” said GVSU coach Matt Mitchell. “It was interesting for me because the last time I saw these guys physically was in December. I think the guys did a good job training and getting ready for the event, and put themselves in position to come out here and compete.”
With the exception of Omameh, who played his first four years at Ohio Dominican before transferring to GVSU last year, the group contributed to teams that went 24-4 the last two years, including a national semifinal appearance in 2015.
All seven had been training in anticipation of the event, and had the opportunity to showcase their abilities in front of scouts from the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens and Detroit Lions, as well as the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders.
The players’ heights and weights were taken, and then the seven competed in drills seen at the NFL Combine: the vertical jump, broad jump, 225 lb. bench press and 40-yard dash, among others.
Talley’s name consistently stuck out during the drills. His 40 time would have been good for second at the 2017 NFL Combine only to Michigan linebacker/safety Jabrill Peppers, who posted a 4.46.
“It makes me feel pretty good to be in that conversation,” Talley said. “All I’m trying to do is get a shot. Truly in the back of my mind, I wanted to break a 4.5 and get a 4.4 (40 time), but you can’t complain.”
Talley posted a ridiculous 41” vertical jump, which would have been the best at the combine for his position. He had a 10’3” broad jump and had 23 reps in the bench press. Talley was second on the team with 76 tackles this past season.
Voss, who’s received national coverage on his journey to being an NFL prospect, had a good day as well. He lived up to the height and weight he announced while on the Jim Rome radio show Thursday, Feb. 16, weighing in at 6’2, 255 lbs.
Voss posted 20 reps in the bench press, a 34.5” vertical and a 9.5” broad jump. All of those numbers are on par with numbers posted by his position group at the combine. One of his goals was to show teams that he has the ability to play both a 4-3 style defensive end—which he played at GVSU—and as a 3-4 edge rusher. He feels he accomplished that.
“I feel like I gave them a glimpse that I have the ability,” Voss said. “I probably need a little bit more work, a little bit more coaching, but I’ve been able to adjust from quarterback to tight end, and end to D-end, so for me to play on my feet and play outside linebacker, that’s something very doable.”
Cox, a stalwart on the GVSU offensive line, had the highest total in the bench press with 30 reps. The 6’3”, 318 lb. lineman has the benefit of having been teammates with former GVSU lineman Brandon Revenberg, who now plays for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the CFL.
“I think we’ve got a good lineage of offensive and defensive lineman in the NFL,” Mitchell said. “I think a lot of these scouts, when they take a look at our guys, they’re going to be tough, they’re going to be humble, they’re going to have a lot of the intangibles they’re looking for. Aaron would fall in line with a lot of those guys.”
Gollman posted 19 reps in the bench press, which would have been good for second among all safeties at the combine.
GVSU didn’t have a Matt Judon—who drew interest from over 20 scouts last year—at this year’s pro day, and many of the prospects are aiming to be on teams' priority free agent (PFA) lists. After all seven rounds of the NFL draft are completed, teams get to assign 15 undrafted players as PFAs. All eight GVSU players are working toward receiving phone calls from teams come the final night of the draft.
“Of the eight that we have, I don’t know,” Mitchell said. “We’d love to go eight for eight getting guys in (NFL training camps), but I don’t know if that’s realistic either. That’s the range these guys are looking at. There will be a competitive market for them once the draft ends trying to get them on free agent contracts.”
The NFL Draft will take place Thursday, April 27 through Saturday, April 29, with the first round airing on ESPN that Thursday.