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A History Of Former Penn State Players’ Performances At The NFL Combine

With the NFL Combine taking place on the same field where Penn State triumphed over Wisconsin for the Big Ten Championship nearly three months ago, former Nittany Lion studs Chris Godwin and Garrett Sickels will be returning to Indianapolis this weekend to try and improve their stock before April’s NFL Draft.

Godwin, currently a third-round projection as the No. 14 receiver and No. 100 player overall (according to CBS Sports), will check in Wednesday for the combine, and should participate in all on-field workouts on Saturday. Sickels, the No. 21 defensive end in this year’s draft class, is a fringe seventh-round prospect who would likely sign with a team after the draft if no team takes him off the board. The defensive end will be working out on the field Sunday. It’s worth noting that Sickels will be raising money for rare disease research during his bench press workout

As these two stars battle to climb up their respective position rankings over the weekend, we decided to take a look back at some of the more memorable performances by Penn State alumni at this prospect showcase.

Rich Gardner (2004)

The cornerback showed off his insane speed and quickness, recording top-ten times for his position group in the 40-yard dash (4.46), vertical jump (36.5 inches), broad jump (10’3″), short shuttle (3.91), and the three-cone drill (6.91). Gardner’s hard work paid off, as he was picked in the round three by the Tennessee Titans.

Derek “Cameron” Wake (2005)

The outside linebacker from Dematha High School went undrafted in 2005 following a solid career at Linebacker U. Despite going undrafted, Wake put up solid combine results, registering a vertical leap of 45.5 inches that remains the second-best in NFL Combine history — in addition to a 4.65-second 40-yard dash time and a broad jump of 10’8″. After going undrafted, Derek played two seasons in the Canadian Football League where he began to go by his middle name, Cameron. He returned to the NFL via the Miami Dolphins in early 2009, and has since become a five-time Pro Bowl defensive end.

Justin King (2008)

Former five-star defensive back recruit ran a blistering 4.31 in the 40-yard dash that remains the best NFL Combine time ever for a Nittany Lion. King went on to an injury-riddled career following his fourth round selection by the formerly St. Louis Rams.

Aaron Maybin (2009)

The athletic defensive end left Happy Valley after just one season as a starter. He ran a 4.64 40-yard dash, while recording a 4.38 in the short shuttle and 7.52 in the three-cone drill. Additionally, he had 22 reps on the bench press and a 40-inch vertical jump. The versatile 6-foot-4, 250-pounder moved all the way up to the Buffalo Bills at the 11th overall pick, the highest Penn Stater to be taken in the draft since offensive tackle Levi Brown was taken fifth overall in 2007.

A.Q. Shipley (2009)

Although Shipley was just a seventh-round selection, his combine performance was exceptional. He set a new Penn State record and finished fifth out of all participants in the bench press with 33 reps, while managing a solid 7.46 seconds the three-cone drill. Shipley’s most impressive score from the ’09 combine may have been the 40 he received on the Wonderlic intelligence test, a score that is double the average for NFL players.

Deon Butler (2009)

Butler managed to equal King’s record 40-yard dash time of 4.31, while also tallying a 4.23-second short shuttle time. The third-round selection by the Seattle Seahawks never managed to fully hit his stride in the league, potentially due to his lack of size.

Stefen Wisniewski (2011)

The offensive lineman had the third-most bench press reps by a Nittany Lion at the combine, putting the weight up 30 times in 2011. Wisniewski finished among the top ten offensive linemen in every single drill other than the 40-yard dash, earning him a second-round selection by the Oakland Raiders.

Chaz Powell (2012)

The corner put up a solid day in Indianapolis in 2012, putting up top-ten numbers for his position group in the 40-yard dash (4.42), bench press (17 reps), and the broad jump (10’1″), while also running a 4.16-second short shuttle and wrapping up his combine with a 6.84-second three-cone drill time. Despite his performance, Powell went undrafted before signing with the Oakland Raiders.

Mike Hull (2015)

Hull came out of nowhere to finish second among all outside linebackers in the short shuttle (4.15) and in bench press (31 reps), while also putting up competitive numbers in the 40-yard dash (4.68) and the three-cone drill (6.99). Hull still went undrafted, but signed with the Miami Dolphins. He recorded 33 tackles and an interception in 2016, appearing in all 16 games while starting one for the AFC East team.

For Godwin and Sickels, they probably hope their results this weekend will see them added to this list of standout Nittany Lions at the NFL Combine. As the two prospects travel to the Hoosier State in hopes of improving their draft stock over the next few days, make sure to check back for Onward State’s coverage of their performances.

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About the Author

Mitch Stewart

Mitch is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism from Roanoke, Virginia. In addition to his role with Onward State, Mitch talks about all the #sprots on Penn State's CommRadio. To contact Mitch, feel free to send him an e-mail at [email protected], and if you really don't value your social media accounts, follow him as he yells on Twitter about Penn State basketball @mitchystew.

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