Under the radar prospects shine

Posted on Mar 29 2016 - 12:45am by Brian Scott Rippee

Ole Miss Pro Day had its own big three. The hype, the focus and the increased media attention were all due to prospects Robert Nkemdiche, Laremy Tunsil and Laquon Treadwell.

But there were also other guys on the field yesterday— guys looking to get noticed, improve their draft stock any way they can and hopefully catch on with a team in the late rounds.

Trae Elston jumps during the broad jump event at the NFL Pro Day on Monday. (Photo by: Cameron Brooks)

Trae Elston jumps during the broad jump event at the NFL Pro Day on Monday. (Photo by: Cameron Brooks)

Guys like Cody Core, who had the best vertical of the day at 37.5 inches— five better than his mark at the combine.

“I feel like I improved on my vertical and my routes.” Core said. “I’m trying to let teams know that I can be more than just special teams. I can do anything at receiver, whatever they want me to, inside, outside.”

“Cody Core is a guy that everyone is really talking about now because of his performance at the combine,” Ole miss head coach Hugh Freeze said.

Guys like Trae Elston, an undersized safety who did not receive a combine invitation trying to prove his motor and ball skills can make up for his physical shortcomings.

“It’s a little disappointing, but I don’t look at it like that. I look at getting myself ready for pro-day and making myself a better athlete,” Elston said. “They like how aggressive I am. You know, undersized, I can come into the box a lot, and I have a lot of quick speed. I have a lot of range at the free safety position.”

Scouts pinned Eltson as a 4.6-4.7 forty time guy. He ran 4.46 today.

“I started meeting GMs and people early this morning, like five o’clock and that’s a name that keeps coming up,” Freeze said. “I think everybody is intrigued by him and he certainly helped himself today.”

Or another undersized guy on the other side of the ball like Jaylen Walton, trying to prove that he can play running back at the next level.

“Nothing surprised me. He is who he his. He is very quick-twist and a solid football player,” Freeze said. “It’s just a matter of the way God made him, with his size does he fit into somebody’s system? Can he be a third down guy for just about anybody? I think he has potential to be that.”

The list goes on. Fahn Cooper, Justin Bell, Mike Hilton and others are all chasing a dream as well, and Freeze wants opportunities for all of them.

“You always want your kids to get opportunities. You want to prepare them for life after football. That’s my number one goal,” Freeze said. “But in the mean time, you know that is a big part of who they are and we want want them get chances and opportunities to continue to play, so anything that helps them get those chances is a good thing.”

The big three know their fate. Their name will be called in the first round or somewhere close to it. For the other guys, their future is not as certain, but just adds to their motivation and puts a chip on their shoulder.

“Not getting invited to a senior bowl game, or not getting invited to a combine, really just let me lay back and work really hard,” Eltson said. “It really showed me that I had something to prove, and I’m still trying to prove it now.”

– Brian Scott Rippee