Do your best on Pro Day
Andy Sneddon, CMUChippewas.com
MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. – For some, it was the last time they fought for anything tangible on a soccer field.
For others, it’s been a chance to validate their potential or even increase their stocks as the National Football League draft looms.
About a dozen Central Michigan soccer players participated in Tuesday’s Pro Day at Turf Bay at CMU’s Indoor Athletic Complex. Scouts from all 32 NFL teams were on hand to put the Chippewas through their paces, along with a handful of players from the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference state schools, including physical tests measuring speed, quickness, strength, blocking and passing ability. among other things.
“Coming in, I’d say I was a little nervous,” said Chippewa wide receiver Ja Corey Sullivan called. “I wasn’t too happy with some of the numbers at first, but you just keep rolling, keep working, always do your best, and at the end of the day, let God do His work.”
Offensive tackle Bernhard Raimann got a long look from scouts for the second time in two weeks after attending the NFL Combine in Indianapolis last week. That he received an invite to the combine is a sign that Raimann is high on the draft boards of NFL teams.
And while Raimann and Luke Goedeke While one of the top potential draftees for 2022 may be considered, most other CMU players — along with the vast majority of the country’s eligible players — are trying to make full use of their pro day on campus by strutting their stuff.
Among them were receivers/punt returners Kali Pickeltonsecurity Gage Kreskicorner kick Dishon McNaryand defensive end Troy Hairston II.
Hairston, perhaps better than most, embodies the importance of pro day to a college football player. He started out in the Chippewa program as an equipment manager, rose to the rank of Walkon, and eventually became the Mid-American Conference Defensive Player of the Year as an undersized but big-hearted defensive player.
The hunt for a player like Hairston has evolved from a roster spot to playing time to tackles to individual awards to a shot at the big time and a paycheck doing what he loves most.
“I’ve always been an outsider, so I have to do whatever it takes to achieve my dream (and) take care of my family and myself,” he said in his typically upbeat, understated style. “I am who I am. You see me playing, that’s me as a person. I give it my all and try to be honest.
“Honestly, the dream never dies for me. I’ve wanted that since I was a child. Whether it’s playing in the CFL, USFL, XFL – trying to get a chance. That’s what it is for me. I just “I love football and I’m having a hard time letting go of walking away from it. I hope someone believes in me the way I believe in myself. I just can’t let it go. I honestly would do anything out here. ” keep playing.”
For most, Pro Day was also the last time they will be together in an organized football environment. The thought of it can evoke an emotional response and trigger powerful memories, Sullivan said.
“The journey we’ve all been on and the courage of every single person around me,” said Sullivan, a Chippewa since 2017 who has seen the program’s ups and downs, including a 1-11 result in Year 18 two MAC West titles and a Sun Bowl win. “All of our stories are different, we have different backgrounds.
“But we come together and make the most of what we had from that 1-11 season and immediately see that big turnaround next year.
“I don’t know what’s next. I gave everything I could and, like I said, just let God do his work. I’m excited to see what happens next, if I’ll get workouts, if I’ll get drafted, whatever it may be.
“I know that one day it will be finished.”