March 16 is Pro Day at Penn State. For a handful of former Nittany Lions, it marks the last -- and in some cases the only -- opportunity to impress NFL scouts prior to the draft in late April.
Six former Penn Staters chose to stay on campus to do their prep work, and by the time Pro Day rolls around they have endured a five-day-a-week, nine-week grind with Nittany Lion speed coach Jeremy Scott.
“Before it was big to go train other places, Jeremy trained a lot of the big names that came out of here,” said receiver/tight end Brett Brackett, one of the players working out on campus. “He knows what he's doing. I just felt comfortable here. They knew who I was, I knew who they were. Everything I needed was here in the facility. So it was kind of a no-brainer.”
Scott joined the Penn State strength and conditioning program in 1997 and has been preparing former Lions for Pro Days since 1998. The draft prospects are not asked to pay for their training.
“He's a great trainer,” said linebacker Chris Colasanti. “He's pushed us physically and mentally. That's definitely helped tremendously.”
Also working out with Scott since early January have been linebacker Bani Gbadyu, defensive back Cedric Jeffries (a former Lion who played last season at West Chester), offensive lineman Lou Eliades (who is recovering from an ACL injury) and kicker Collin Wagner.
We stopped by the Penn State football facilities Monday morning to watch Brackett, Colasanti, Gbadyu and Jeffries work out. They did running drills in Holuba Hall and later weight-room work in Lasch Building.
Note that at this point of the game, they are through the heaviest pre-Pro Day work and are in wind-down mode as the big event nears.
“In the whole process, we're right at the end,” Scott said. “The kids are right where they need to be. We've been timing them the last few weeks. So right now, the biggest thing for me is to make sure we stay safe. The last thing we need is a little injury here or there, and that's both in the weight room and the running. So we're kind of tailing off.”
That's not to say the workouts are easy.
Above you can check out a video overview of the nearly two-hour running session in Holuba Hall. In it, you can watch the players going through dynamic warm-ups, working on their explosion and form, being timed during 10-yard starts, doing resistance work with parachutes, and finally being timed while running shuttle and three-cone drills.
Stay tuned for clips from the weight-room work and interviews with the players.