Sam Ficken, Donovan Smith First Nittany Lions Invited to NFL Combine

Penn State currently has 25 players in the National Football League. On Tuesday, two more Nittany Lions took their first steps toward joining their fellow alumni in the pros.

Sam Ficken and Donovan Smith announced that they have both received invitations to the NFL Combine in February. Ficken tweeted that he has accepted the invitation. Smith later followed with news of his invitation.

Ficken, who is second in Penn State history with 54 career field goals, went 24-of-29 on kicks in his senior season. While kickers aren’t usually selected in the NFL Draft — only two were drafted in 2014 — Ficken’s chances should increase as he is able to show his skills in front of every NFL team. He is in elite company, as kickers aren’t traditionally invited to the combine. Last year, only four were invited to Indianapolis. Ficken is currently ranked the top kicker eligible for the Draft.

Smith, on the other hand, was expected to be invited. The offensive lineman declared early for the draft, and he’s currently ranked as the No. 12 offensive tackle eligible for selection by CBSSports.

Last year, John Urschel, Allen Robinson, and DaQuan Jones were invited to the Combine, and the three were the only Penn Staters drafted.

This spring, expect more Penn Staters to be invited to the Combine, as this year’s class could provide the most Nittany Lions drafted in years. Mike Hull, Jesse James, Deion Barnes, Adrian Amos, and others could all join Ficken and Smith in Indianapolis.

Photo: Mitchell Wilston/Onward State

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Alex Robinson

Alex Robinson was Onward State's Acting Managing Editor/Resident Old Man. He lived in Harrisburg almost his whole life, but he says he's from California -- where he was born -- because that's more fun. He loves cats and Chinese food, but only separately. He met both Ben Affleck and Kanye West within a half hour, so the three of them are basically best friends. If you want to hear his #scorching #hot #takes, you can follow him at @ARobinsonPSU or email him at [email protected]

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