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Utes showcase talent before NFL scouts at Pro Day

(Kristen Murphy/Deseret News)

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SALT LAKE CITY — Several former University of Utah football players participated in the school’s Pro Day Thursday, as each looked to showcase their individual talent before scouts and personnel from every NFL team.

“I think a lot of guys helped themselves out today,” said Fred Whittingham, Utah director of player personnel. “I think some of the guys that didn’t get to go to the Combine and show what they can do there, like Westlee Tonga, really helped himself out today.”

Five players — Nate Orchard, Eric Rowe, Kaelin Clay, Jeremiah Poutasi and Dres Anderson — were invited to the NFL Combine in February and had varying degrees of success in Indianapolis. But back at home, each prospective athlete said the day was good and was a nice way to showcase their talents.

“It went great. It’s good to get it over with. I’ve been anxious about it and now it’s done. I’ll just keep meeting with teams and have workouts and continue the process,” Orchard said. “I got a lot of compliments from a lot of different teams. But you never know, come draft day anything could happen.”

“It was a good day. I'm grateful, I’m thankful. I came out here to show scouts that I can still run,” Jacoby Hale said. “I wasn’t getting as many looks as some of the other players, but afterwards I had the opportunity to have them talk to me and them telling me I had a good day.

The stress level wasn't as much as (Indianapolis) because we're at home and we're performing in our own facility. It felt good and I felt a whole lot better today coming in.

–Kaelin Clay

Clay, who struggled with his 40-yard dash time at the NFL Combine, said he was pleased with his results and felt less pressure at the U.

“It was an improvement from the Combine. I felt a little better,” Clay said. “That’s all I can do is try to improve and try to be better than I did a couple of weeks ago at the NFL Combine.

“The stress level wasn’t as much as (Indianapolis) because we’re at home and we’re performing in our own facility,” Clay added. “It felt good and I felt a whole lot better today coming in.”

Four of the five players invited to the Combine all performed well Thursday and had a great showing. Anderson did not participate in Utah’s Pro Day but will have an individual workout with scouts on April 14 at the U. Anderson said he’s healthy and ready to go but wanted to make sure everything was set on his routes and mobility before working out.

“I’m feeling great. I’m feeling real good. I’m running 100 percent now but I want to make sure with cutting and everything and running routes are crisp,” Anderson said. “They (scouts) just really want to see if I’m healthy and if I can get through a full workout basically.”

Linebacker Jacoby Hale said he doesn’t expect to be drafted but hopes his performance Thursday was enough to convince at least one team to pick him up in free agency.

“All I came out here to do was get an opportunity and hope that at least one team takes me and takes a chance on me,” Hale said. “I’m just trying to give them 110 percent.”

Many of the prospective NFL players showcased various strength and speed skills, in addition to various position group skills. All workout times, however, are unofficial and are based on each NFL scout in attendance. As a result, 40-yard dash times for each player were not immediately known.

Josh Furlong


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