Eight former Penn State football players participated in the NFL Scouting Combine over the weekend to showcase their skills to NFL scouts, and the Nittany Lions did not disappoint.
Penn State won the NFL Combine’s medal count for having top-three performers in specific drills at players’ respective positions. The Nittany Lions tallied 13 total medals, the most of any school.
Not only did Penn State’s players earn a lot of praise for their results, but many recognized Penn State’s strength and conditioning coach, Dwight Galt, for developing Penn State’s players to the physical level that they are at.
After claiming seemingly all of the workout records at Penn State during his three years on campus, Saquon Barkley impressed scouts with his speed and strength. At 6’0″, 233 lbs., Barkley was clocked with the second fastest time among running backs at 4.40 seconds in the 40-yard dash.
Barkley tied former Georgia running back Nick Chubb by benching 225 lbs. 29 times, and led all running backs with a 41” vertical jump.
Tight end and athletic superhuman Mike Gesicki also put on a show at the Combine, finishing first among tight ends in the 40-yard dash, vertical jump, broad jump, three-cone drill, 20-yard shuttle, and 60-yard shuttle. He also finished second among tight ends at the bench press, only trailing the leader by one rep.
Gesicki’s 41.5” vertical jump led all participants at the combine, including his former teammate who wasn’t happy that he didn’t get to claim the honor.
While both Barkley and Gesicki have been touted as athletic freaks for a while, no player at the combine surprised everyone than safety Troy Apke. Apke was clocked at an official time of 4.34 for his 40-yard dash, much to the enjoyment of Hall of Famer, Deion Sanders.
DaeSean Hamilton has risen up draft boards since impressing scouts at the Reese’s Senior Bowl and Shrine Game. While working out at the combine, NFL Network analyst and former NFL All-Pro Wide Receiver Steve Smith praised Hamilton as a “complete receiver” and said he “runs the best route out of the entire wide receiver group.”
Although he has consistently been underrated, Grant Haley put out a strong showing at the Combine as well. The corner back ran a 4.44 40-yard dash and had 15 reps on the bench press.
Jason Cabinda took a medical exemption and didn’t participate in any other drills after completing 19 reps on the bench press. In addition to Cabinda, Marcus Allen and Christian Campbell didn’t run at the Combine. They will all do so at Penn State’s Pro Day, which is scheduled for March 20. Penn State’s Pro Day will also feature players who were not invited to the combine, including Brendan Mahon, Saeed Blacknall, Parker Cothran, and Curtis Cothren.