Seniors perform for scouts at UNH pro day
Published: Thursday, March 22, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 15:02
Scouts from eight NFL teams, including the New England Patriots, were on hand to watch college prospects perform at Cowell Stadium on Tuesday in UNH’s pro day. Seniors Kevin Decker, Brian McNally and James Jenkins all worked out for the scouts, as did former UNH football players Hugo Souza and Kyle Auffray. Four prospects from Dartmouth and one from St. Anselm College also participated in the pro day.
In addition to a Patriots representative, scouts from the Chiefs, Raiders, Panthers, Chargers, Lions, 49ers and Cardinals were in attendance on Tuesday.
The 2011 Colonial Athletic Association Offensive Player of the Year as UNH’s quarterback, the 6-foot-2 Decker threw for the scouts, showing off an arm that passed for 3,272 yards and 22 touchdowns last season.
“Performing for them while they’re watching and evaluating you is pretty exciting, because it’s the next step, the next goal to get to the next level, so that was a thrill,” Decker said in a phone interview on Wednesday.
Decker tweaked a hamstring at a regional combine in Cleveland, Ohio last weekend, so he did not participate in any strength, speed or agility drills. Nonetheless, he said that representatives from the Panthers, Chargers and Lions have all expressed interest in him.
“They said they like the way I throw the ball, but they’re not really going to play too much at this point in the game, so I just have to wait and see,” Decker said.
Decker said that he is hoping to get an invitation to Ford Field in Detroit, Mich. for the Super Regional Combine on March 30. Invites to the Super Regional are based on how prospects performed in the regionals.
Jenkins and McNally, meanwhile, completed linebacker drills at the pro day, despite the fact that both played defensive end for UNH. They also did typical combine tests such as the 40-yard dash, the pro agility drill and the vertical and broad jumps.
“I think there’s things I did pretty well and things I can improve on,” McNally said of his performance.
McNally was a fearsome sight for any opposing quarterback during his college career. His 13.5 sacks in 2010 is a UNH single-season record. As a senior, he led UNH again with 7.5 sacks, earning himself spots on the CAA All-Conference First Team and the FCS All-New England Team.
At 6-foot-3, McNally still may have the size to play defensive end professionally, but said he would be willing to play linebacker as well. What position he plays would depend on the team and its needs.
The 6-foot-1 Jenkins, meanwhile, would be undersized as a defensive end.
“For the NFL or any other professional league, they see me more as a linebacker,” Jenkins said.
Playing on the opposite side of McNally on the defensive line, Jenkins racked up 45 tackles and 3.5 sacks in 2011. He said that he’s been working hard for the past three months get into the best shape possible for pre-draft workouts like Tuesday’s.
“I was anxious, but it was a good feeling to finally get a chance to actually perform in front of them with all the hard work that I’ve been doing these past few months,” Jenkins said.
Jenkins, McNally and Decker all said that it was comfortable being able to perform on the familiar turf at Cowell.
“Whenever your surrounded by your teammates and coaches, and then to be at Cowell Stadium, it’s like a second home, so I felt very comfortable out here,” McNally said.
Jenkins, who graduated in December, shared similar sentiments.
“It felt right at home,” he said. “This is home to me still even though I graduated, it felt right to do it here rather than any place else.”
In addition to the familiarity of playing in Durham, Decker said that the warm weather on Tuesday allowed for most of the pro day to be held outside, as opposed to past pro days, when the late March weather isn’t as cooperative. The nice weather also brought out some unexpected support for the prospects.
“One of the coolest thing was the underclassmen coming out, standing along the fence, watching us to support us,” Decker said. “It was pretty awesome.”