March 11, 2013 at 8:25 PM
As Penn State’s Pro Day drew to a close today, several prized members of the 2012 senior class offered optimistic words regarding their performance and its impact on their future.
Jordan Hill said his left knee — which he noted held him back at the NFL Combine last month — is now 100 percent, and his Pro Day results backed this up. The defensive lineman was clocked at a 4.97 40-yard dash, a vast improvement from his 5.23 at the Combine.
“I built on everything I needed to for today,” Hill said. “I felt like I did really well, especially in the D-line drills, just being fluent and being able to flip my hips and things like that.”
Gerald Hodges did not attempt to improve upon his 4.78 40-yard dash time from the Combine, but did put forth a promising 4.25 20-yard shuttle time. The linebacker said so many NFL teams have had formal interviews with him that he could hardly recount all of them.
Like Hill, Hodges said he would be upset if he was picked in the fourth round or later. However, Hodges said there won’t be much nervousness heading into draft day, as all of the evaluating has already come to a close.
“I’m really not even worried about it anymore,” Hodges said. “I’m just waiting for the day I can suit up in one of those NFL uniforms and start playing football again.”
Both Michael Mauti and Matt Stankiewitch — the other two former Nittany Lions who were invited to the Combine — were also present for Pro Day. Mauti did not participate in any drills, nor did he meet with the media afterward. Stankiewitch said he’s continued to hear very positive reviews from NFL representatives.
The former Penn State center said he has been training at guard as well, and he feels this versatility will help his draft stock in April.
“My goal is just to get drafted,” Stankiewitch said. “Of course, everyone wants to go first round, but you have to be realistic. My goal is to get drafted and we’ll take it from there.”
Meanwhile, several former Lions also got a chance to work out for NFL scouts despite not being invited to the Combine, such as Matt McGloin, Michael Zordich and Stephon Morris.
McGloin said he felt he was making throws that showed he was capable of playing at the next level and that he has received interest from a few NFL teams. “It only takes one team to fall in love with you,” he said.
Zordich said he has put on nearly 10 pounds in the offseason — now weighing in at 241 pounds — and was glad to finally get his measurable workout stats in the hands of scouts.
“This was a big deal for me,” Zordich said. “None of these teams had any of my times so I had to get them out there. I felt good, I felt athletic and hopefully I showed them what I was capable of.”
As for Morris, he, too, sent an optimistic message regarding his potential future in the NFL.
The 5-foot-8 cornerback said he did what he had to do if he wanted to gain attention from scouts as an undersized defensive back — run a fast 40. Morris said he was clocked at anywhere between 4.16 to 4.3 seconds unofficially and impressed many scouts in attendance.
However, he also sent a message in regard to how he did not receive an invitation to the Combine.
The often-quotable cornerback spoke in-depth about his reaction to not being invited and how he used it in his favor.
Below are some of the excerpts from the interview with Morris...
On his reaction to not being invited to the NFL Combine:
“It hurt, because I’ve been looking at the Combine since I was like seven years old, since the NFL Network came on TV. I remember I used to always look at it and go through every defensive back and write down their names and their times. I just always wanted to go.”
On how he learned he wouldn’t be attending the Combine:
“I called on Jan. 3, and I asked the president of the Combine if I made it, because I was on the second list [of potential players]. He said I missed it by two votes. It kind of pissed me off. But, at the same time, my agent pretty much said that’s better than missing by 10 votes.”
On how not being invited to the Combine affected his training:
“I definitely ramped it up, because I was training with those guys, [Gerald Hodges] and Stank, Jordan Hill…guys that were going to the Combine. They were getting those calls and I was right there sitting besides them and I was so pissed, just with the fact that I felt like I should definitely have gotten invited…I looked at it as motivation and going into the Pro Day, I didn’t have two workouts. I only had one. So I had to make this one perfect…It just showed that I had a lot more work to do and it just gave more fuel to the fire. And once I came here today, I just let it all out.”