11 Hoosiers take showcase at IU’s Pro Day

It could have been a day of mixed emotions for Tom Allen.

On one hand, Indiana’s annual NFL Pro Day served as a reminder of what’s lost. With 11 former Hoosiers working out for 28 teams inside Mellencamp Pavilion, the day outlined just how much talent has departed IU ahead of the 2018 season.

But Allen is taking the long view.

This year’s Pro Day served as a showcase for the player development this Indiana program has enjoyed in recent years, giving NFL personnel and even prospective recruits a glimpse of what has been — and can be — accomplished at Indiana.

“If you’re doing a good job recruiting and developing your players, this is a big day for you,” Allen said. “There’s no doubt that you’re gonna lose a lot of playmakers on the field from this group, but at the same time they’ve set the standard.”

Tight end Ian Thomas, receiver Simmie Cobbs, linebackers Tegray Scales and Chris Covington, cornerback Rashard Fant, safeties Chase Dutra and Tony Fields, defensive linemen Greg Gooch and Robert McCray, quarterback Richard Lagow and kicker Griffin Oakes each participated in IU’s Pro Day, hoping to further their chances for the next level.

Of that group, Thomas, Cobbs, Scales, Covington and Fant are the most likely NFL Draft prospects. All five previously participated in the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis last month.

Others, should they go undrafted, could receive free agent deals.

Fant showed up in the 40-yard dash. He posted a time of 4.36 seconds despite having torn his pectoral muscle while on the bench press preparing for last month’s NFL Combine.

“Even with an arm and a half, I’m still 4.3,” Fant said. “I’m a competitor. I don’t know too many people that can tear their pec and be out here four weeks later. For me, that’s all God.”

Fant has upcoming meetings planned with the Atlanta Falcons and the Houston Texans. He’s also been in conversation with the Tennessee Titans and Washington Redskins.

Cobbs, who ran a 4.54 40-yard dash and put up a 29.5-inch vertical, spent most of his time Tuesday running routes and catching passes from Lagow. The All-Big Ten First Team honoree has further workouts scheduled with the Indianapolis Colts and Chicago Bears.

“I didn’t get to show too much at the Combine,” Cobbs said. “Today, I got to pick my routes that I wanted to run and hopefully showcase that I can do a lot more than what I put on film, as well. … I think I did great. No drops, either. That’s always a plus.”

At the Combine, Scales posted a 40-yard dash time of 4.77 and also completed 27 reps on the bench press. On Tuesday, he put up a vertical of 35 inches.

He has upcoming workouts scheduled with the Colts, Cincinnati Bengals and New England Patriots.

Here’s the full list of results from IU’s Pro Day:

Simmie Cobbs
Vertical: 29.5 inches
40-yard dash: 4.54 seconds

Chris Covington
Vertical: 34.5 inches
Broad jump: 9 feet, 8 inches
Agility: 4.28 seconds
3-cone: 7.02 seconds
Shuttle: 11.65 seconds

Chase Dutra
Vertical: 33 inches
Broad jump: 9 feet, 10 inches
40-yard dash: 4.62 seconds
Agility: 4.20 seconds
3-cone: 7.23 seconds
Shuttle: 12.05 seconds

Rashard Fant
40-yard dash: 4.36 seconds

Tony Fields
Bench: 16 reps
Vertical: 37 inches
Broad jump: 10 feet, 2 inches
40-yard dash: 4.54 seconds
Agility: 4.15 seconds
3-cone: 7.27 seconds
Shuttle: 11.47 seconds

Greg Gooch
Bench: 21 reps
Vertical: 29 inches
Broad jump: 9 feet, 2 inches
40-yard dash: 4.87 seconds
Agility: 4.45 seconds
3-cone: 7.13 seconds
Shuttle: 12.12 seconds

Richard Lagow
40-yard: 4.90 seconds
Agility: 4.62 seconds
3-cone: 7.67 seconds

Robert McCray
Bench: 20 reps
Vertical: 32 inches
Broad jump: 9 feet, 7 inches
40-yard: 4.65 seconds
Agility: 4.19 seconds
3-cone: 6.88 seconds
Shuttle: 11.44 seconds

Tegray Scales
Vertical: 35 inches

7 comments

  1. Allen is right to take the “long view” on this, because in the long term the quality of these football players leaving the program and having an opportunity to play in the NFL will allow Allen and staff to improve recruiting, so that with each year that passes, the number and quality of players participating in NFL Pro Days will increase and improve.

  2. These 11 players will turn out to have a number of them on NFL teams in 2018. This has to be a good recruiting tool for IU in 2019 and beyond. This group of players have helped change IU into a team that has to be considered dangerous to play even by the top teams in the B1G. They will be hard to replace but it gives younger players a chance to show why IU brought them into the program.

  3. IU’s ability to hire and retain high quality assistant coaches in the future is essential if an increased number of Hoosiers making it to the NFL is going to help Allen improve recruiting. It’s not like our current O-line coach can tell a potential recruit how he developed Jason Spriggs or Dan Feeney, or how our current Running Backs coach can tell how playing for IU lifted Jordon Howard out of obscurity. So right now, given the success of IU’s defense and the relative stability of the defensive coaching staff, we can assume that if Covington, Fant or Scales gets drafted, it will help IU attract better defensive players over the next few years.

  4. Assistants regularly move out of their current positions to further their career in better positions elsewhere. This happens regularly in every program. Movement is inevitable. Retaining assistant coaches can only happen if others move on, and guys in lower positions get promoted. It’s called “career advancement” and people generally view ambition as a positive thing.

    Setting the bar at “how many position coaches can Tom Allen/Fred Glass retain” isn’t appropriate. “Why” they would leave is fair game.

  5. Yes, you are correct DD. But it’s the number and frequency of the assistants who leave that is at issue. A program on the rise needs relative stability amongst its coaching staff for at least three years in order to recruit enough quality players to achieve critical mass. If a program is losing two or three of its best assistant coaches each season, its going to damage recruiting and cost a team wins. I remember reading about Jerry Kill’s coaching staff at MN a few years back. Not only did he bring most of his key assistants with him from Northern IL , but he kept them at MN while he was there. Obviously, their loyalty to Jerry paid off with winning seasons and bowl games for MN. Maybe one of the reasons why is that every time MN offered Jerry a raise and contract extension, he made sure his assistants got more money too. MN increased the salary pool for Kill’s top nine assistant coaches by over $300,000 after the 2014 season, making them the sixth highest paid assistant coaching staff in the Big Ten in 2015. I believe IU’s assistant coaching staff was the lowest or second lowest paid coaching staff in the Big Ten last season.

    1. Po,
      I tend to agree with V13 on this one. I think a lot of the turnover has been a combination of several things. Some have left for greener pastures, some had stronger loyalties to other programs/coaches, and some is TA bringing in staff who share his vision for the program. Don’t have a problem with those type changes other than why some would leave for greener pastures. I think your concern is whether or not IU is paying enough to keep competent staff and the posters here probably share your concern.

      If they leave because of better pay, that is on Hoosier Nation in regards to the administration they allow to control IU and it’s Athletic Department. If they leave for better opportunity such as a higher profile program, it is best they go ahead and leave. If they don’t believe in massive turn around you are trying to accomplish at IU enough to stay, then you don’t need them. You want staffers who believe in what you are trying to do. If you actually pull off the miracle, their long term opportunities will far surpass what they might get in the short run.

      One other area I can think of is where TA made a change to increase core competencies. I don’t have a problem with a head coach willing to pull the trigger on staffing upgrades. This is a necessity if you want to win, be satisfied with the status quo doesn’t get it. Whether or not his S&C change produces a better product on the field is yet to be determined, but I don’t see where anyone should have a problem with that kind of thinking. That’s the mark of a good organizational manager.

  6. PO, I think the reason coach Allen has been hiring coaches he has a personal connection or to a tie-in with IU is to get coaches that want to stay. Recruiting is helped when coaches stay, at least for several years. Right now it seems the coaches are good recruiters that can get players to IU. IU is pulling in higher rated 3 star players with several having 4 stars by one or more sites. The coming couple of years will tell us how well they can develop players. So far, Coach Allen has been able to bring in coaches he knows to replace those that left, changed the S&C program with leading edge coaches already producing good results, and he is giving scholarships to kickers and punters. These are improvements that indicate the team will be improving as he gets more of his players in. Only the next three years will tell if these improvements will result in more wins.

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