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Wake Forest Pro Day

Wake Forest Pro Day

As football programs all across the country go through Spring camp with an eye on the future, their plays of the past head in one more time for workouts in front of the NFL scouts. The Wake Forest Pro Day was a chance for five Demon Deacons to show off their skills with hopes of landing a spot on a pro team.

Caelen Carson, Chelen Garnes, Michael Jurgens, Malik Mustapha, and Jacob Roberts went through the strength and agility drills Wednesday. All 32 NFL teams had at least one representative there with their notepads and stop watches.

Wake Forest head coach Dave Clawson said the turnout by the NFL is an indicator of where the football program is in terms of perception and production. “I think our first year here we might have had two or three scouts.” He added, “This is now a place where the scouts say, ‘We have to have somebody there.’”

That Guy Looks Familiar

Aside from the soon-to-be-departing Wake players who were for the scouts, there was a bevy of current players in attendance. Many were there to see what is in store for them at next year’s Pro Day. For others it was simply a matter of supporting their teammates. One of the more familiar faces in the crowd was former Deacs and former Notre Dame quarterback Sam Hartman. Not only was he hanging out with current quarterbacks Michael Kern and Hank Bachmeier. But he was working on the side with his former center Michael Jurgens in between drills for the scouts.

“We still love Sam and he’s one of ours,” Clawson said. “And he’s back to support his teammates and the guys he came to school with.” Hartman did his Pro Day workout at Notre Dame last week. “He’s just here to support his friends and his teammates and I think that is really cool,” Clawson added.

As for Hartman’s former center, Clawson said he will be surprised if Jurgens does not make an NFL roster for the upcoming season. “The film is really good. The production is high. But when you have that guy in your meeting room and in locker room every single day, his value just skyrockets.”

Mustapha Making an Impression

Irrefutably the player who stood out throughout the nearly three hour long session was Mustapha. The defensive back had a broad jump of 10’ 6”, and a vertical jump of 41.5 inches. His times in the 40 are extremely unofficial as once everyone has done the sprints, the scouts huddle off in a corner to compare the times they have recorded.

But Mustapha was nearly flawless in the on-field drills, (shuttle, three-cone, and position drills). In the position drills, which are designed to show footwork and agility in coverage for a defensive back, not only was Mustapha clean through all of them, but caught/intercepted every ball that was put in the air.

Before the on-field drills, Clawson said he has high expectations for Mustapha’s future. “He’s just so productive. He’s a good tackler. He can play man [defense]. Some guys are just football players.” Clawson also noted Mustapha’s ability to play special teams. Any scout will tell you that a rookie who can play special teams is going to find a place on a roster. “Sometimes guys do well in the weight room and they do well in the tests and they can’t play football. He can play football.”

One scout we talked with in the weeks prior to Pro Day, [with him requiring anonymity since they are not authorized to speak on individual players], said he expected Mustapaha to go somewhere in the fifth round. With the workout Wednesday, there is a viable chance that spot gets moved up.

The Program

As for being there to talk with scouts as he watched his former players go through the paces, Clawson said it brings a sense of pride. “You go from their coach to almost a kind of a proud father moment when they test well. And you see this many people, and all these scouts that are here to watch our guys list and run and do those things.”

Spring camp for the current team resumes Thursday will 11 more practice sessions left, concluding with the Spring game on April 20th.

Wake Forest Pro Day

Malik Mustapha performs the broad jump at Wake Forest  Pro Day


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