For nine former Idaho football players, their ticket into the NFL or numerous other professional leagues around the country and Canada came down to seven events at Idaho’s Pro Day on the SprinTurf on Thursday afternoon.
Running back James Baker helped his stock rise, putting together an impressive performance in front of the six NFL scouts who were in attendance.
Unofficially some of Baker’s numbers were a 37-inch vertical jump, 27-rep bench press and 4.55 seconds in the 40-yard dash.
Baker also got some extensive work with a scout from the Kansas City Chiefs after the rest of the players were done with the series of workouts.
Former Vandal Aaron Grymes, who is now playing in the Canadian Football League with the Edmonton Eskimos, was in attendance and said he was impressed with what he saw out of Baker.
Baker’s draft stock has gone way up in Grymes’ eyes and he said if teams weren’t thinking of drafting Baker, he changed their minds with his performance today.
“At 237 pounds, to put those numbers he was putting up today, it’s just crazy,” Grymes said. “He’s just a freak.”
Along with the Chiefs, other scouts from the Seattle Seahawks, San Diego Chargers, New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers were in attendance.
Graduated seniors Najee Lovett, D’Mario Carter, Mike LaGrone, Roman Runner and Maurice Trotter also participated in the pro day. They were joined by old teammates Donovan Cunningham, Robert Siavii and Conrad Scheidt.
Quarterback Taylor Davis and defensive lineman Quayshawne Buckley notably did not participate in the pro day.
Lovett, though, might have opened some scouts’ eyes. With a vertical jump of 41 inches and a 40-yard dash time of 4.55 seconds, he helped increase his stock, as well. In the position drills, he ran crisp routes and didn’t drop one pass.
The day wasn’t just for the recently graduated seniors. Idaho also welcomed back some old faces of the program.
Siavii has been away from football for a year now, but hasn’t given up his dream to play professionally somewhere. He put together an impressive day, and more notably an unofficial time on the 40-yard dash of 4.58 seconds.
“I thought it went good,” Siavii said. “I put everything out there on the field and did everything I can. Overall, I think everybody did good. Everybody came out and put in work. I mean there are guys over here huffing and puffing, trying to get every inch, so that was a good workout. I had a good time with these guys.”
Siavii said he’s looking for any opportunity that comes his way and all he can do now is just sit, be patient and wait for a call.
Scheidt is another player who was participating in the pro day and wasn’t with the team this past season. He spent last season at Central Washington University and is trying to get to as many pro days and tryouts as possible, he said.
“It went good, not great, but it was a good day,” Sheidt said. “I’m decently happy with my numbers. There is always room for improvement. I could do better, but it was a decent day. I got a few more pro days and a few more tryouts, but then it’s a waiting game after that.”
Scheidt said he is hoping for a chance to play in Canada with his former teammate Grymes. Schedit’s wife is from Edmonton, so he said that would be the perfect place for him.
After the pro day, players will now either sit and wait for a phone call from a team, or get out to more tryouts and pro days. Grymes knows all to well the amount of work the players need to put in to get that call, and knows the hardest part is waiting.
A piece of advice for the players: “Not to get to big headed,” he said.
“Stay humble,” Grymes said. “If you put up bad numbers, there’s more numbers to do. Guys will still call you. You’ll still get phone calls. If you did really good, don’t get big headed until you stop working out, because when you do get more phone calls, they’re going to have you be doing all this stuff all over again. So you got to stay in shape and be ready at all times.”
Grymes said he looks forward to seeing where the Vandal players go to in the future, and would love the opportunity for one or two of them to join him in Canada.