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Shaka Toney ‘Grateful’ For NFL Pro Day Experience

Defensive end Shaka Toney was one of the eight Penn State football stars to participate in the program’s Pro Day yesterday.

While Micah Parsons and Jayson Oweh may be occupying all the headlines with their freakish scores, Toney’s performance shouldn’t be overlooked. The defensive end ran a 4.51 40-yard dash, put up 24 reps on the bench, had a 10’8″ broad jump, and an impressive 39-inch vertical, which ranked second behind Oweh among Nittany Lions.

Toney acknowledged he could’ve done some things better but has no interest in dwelling on what could’ve been.

“I thought I did good,” Toney said. “Some stuff I wanted to do better. Really just gotta keep going, can’t look back now. The day is over. You don’t get a second opportunity. You have to live with what you put out there.”

He also took the chance to talk about Parsons and Oweh’s absurd performances. In case you missed it, Oweh ran a ridiculous 4.36-second 40-yard dash, while Parsons was right behind him with a 4.39.

Toney said people “can’t compete with freaks of nature.” Naturally, he’s proud of the duo.

“I’ve known Micah since he was in high school,” Toney said. “I’ve known Jayson since he was a freshman. They’ve been doing these things…I know them for so long, me and my relationship with them are so close. It makes me proud to see the numbers that they do. You don’t gotta hate on your brother, it’s brotherly competition…I’m one of their biggest supporters right after their families. Me and them, we’re like blood.”

To this point in the draft process, Toney has had the opportunity to participate in the senior bowl, talk to NFL teams, and now take part in Penn State’s Pro Day. While reflecting on the experience, Toney has nothing but appreciation for where he is.

“I come from humble beginnings, not a highly recruited guy. Had to work my way up. I sat behind guys, had to play a role. I’m just grateful that I got an opportunity,” Toney said. “There’s a lot of guys that would kill, that would really die to switch shoes with me to go ahead and have this opportunity. I’m just grateful every single day. Like I said, you gotta thank God for that opportunity…I’m just trying to maximize every day.”

During the pre-draft process, Toney said he’s talked to NFL teams just like many other draft prospects. For Toney, he’s taken the opportunity to show teams his football knowledge and who he really is.

“The interviews, I feel like they’re been going great,” Toney said. “I’m really able to showcase my football knowledge, teams are finally able to get a chance to talk and really hear from me…I think people are pretty excited like hearing me actually talk about stuff. I’m just grateful, I’m happy for the opportunity.”

Toney listed off three goals he hopes to accomplish from this day forward. While, of course, making an NFL roster is one of those goals, it happened to be the third one he mentioned.

Before even discussing the NFL, Toney said the first thing he’s going to do is finish up his college degree. His second goal? Get some charity work started.

“Second goal, definitely get some charity work off the ground. Definitely try to give back to teens,” Toney said. “I started a donation with my reps for the bench today for the Boys and Girls Club of Philadelphia. Really just try to start giving back early. I don’t want to wait. A lot of people might want to wait to get themselves situated. I kinda just want to get the ball rolling as soon as possible.”

Toney said he raised between $4,000 and $4,500 through his “Bench for the Kids” pledge. After talking about his college degree and charity hopes, Toney then touched on his NFL aspirations and doing whatever he can at the next level.

“Next goal is to just make the NFL roster,” he continued. “Make sure I go out there and compete every day, help my team win a championship doing my one fifty-third of the team, whatever I can, and maximize my opportunity.”

If you’re familiar with the NFL Draft process, you’ve certainly seen the hundreds of mock drafts released each year by draft “experts.” The closer the draft gets, the more and more mock drafts come out.

As an NFL Draft prospect, seeing the endless amount of mock drafts released can easily become a distraction if you pay close enough attention. Toney, however, is staying locked in ahead of the draft and just focusing on what he can control.

“At the end of the day, most mock drafts are wrong,” Toney said. “Some people are right, most people are wrong…It’s about making one team love you, one team fall in love with you, and making one team call your name. I’ve always been the underdog, always had that chip on my shoulder, so this is nothing new to me. I don’t pay attention to any critic. I’m my biggest critic myself, and I’m going to focus on what I can control.”

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About the Author

Gabe Angieri

Gabe is a junior majoring in journalism and is an associate editor for Onward State. He grew up in Lindenhurst, New York, and has had the absolute misfortune of rooting for the Jets, Mets, and Knicks. If you want to see his bad sports takes, follow him on Twitter @gabeangieri and direct all hate mail and death threats to [email protected]

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