BUFFALO, NY- Several University at Buffalo players improved their chances of realizing their football dreams on Wednesday at the Bulls' Pro Day held at the Buffalo Bills Fieldhouse.
Outgoing seniors James Starks, Naaman Roosevelt, Brett Hamlin, Jesse Rack, Mike Newton, Kendric Hawkins, Dane Robinson, Mario Henry, Lawrence Rolle, Kevin Johnson andAlex Pierre worked out in front of more than a dozen NFL scouts with the support of their current and former teammates.
Among former teammates on hand were former linebacker Ramon Guzman, who won the Grey Cup with the Montreal Alouettes this past year, and Oakland Raider linebacker Trevor Scott, who led the Silver and Black in sacks in 2009 with seven. Additionally, 2008 graduate Ernest Jackson and '07 grad Ben Woods also impressed NFL scouts with their workouts.
"This was a tremendous turnout by the NFL in a great facility and our guys responded extremely well," said head coach Jeff Quinn. "It speaks volumes about the kind of players Buffalo is producing that we had the kind of attention that these guys have received. Its further proof that young men have a great opportunity to realize their goals of playing in the NFL when they attend our outstanding University."
Running back James Starks only participated in individual drills as he took part in the NFL Combine in Indianapolis last weekend. Starks became the fourth straight UB player invited to the combine, joining Chad Upshaw (2007), Jamey Richard (2008) and Drew Willy (2009).
Starks impressed by finishing among the top 10 – of 30 running backs – in five events: 40-yard dash (7th, 4.5), vertical leap (T-10th, 36"), broad jump (7th, 9-11"), three-cone drill (5th, 6.89) and 20-yard shuttle (7th, 4.23).
Wednesday at UB's Pro Day, Starks witnessed several of his teammates improve their NFL chances with strong workouts. Wide receiver Naaman Roosevelt, the all-time UB leader in receptions, receiving yardage and touchdowns, ran a career-best 4.53 unofficial 40-yard dash time, while vertical leaping 35" and impressing in the three-cone drill and individual receiving drills. Roosevelt was also in front of pro scouts while participating in the East-West Shrine Game in Orlando in January.
Fellow receiver Brett Hamlin, who played in the Texas vs. The Nation game in El Paso in February, also had a strong workout. Hamlin jumped 36" in the vertical, over 10 feet in the broad jump, while his three-cone time of 6.64 would have ranked third among wide receivers that competed at the NFL Combine. Hamlin finished his UB career in the top ten in receptions and yardage.
Tight end Jesse Rack also had a strong workout, repping 225 pounds in the bench press 17 times unofficially and posting strong broad jump and vertical leap scores. Rack's 60-yard shuttle time of 11.46 would have been the top time among all tight ends invited to the NFL Combine.
The best performance of the day, however, might have belonged to two-time captain Mike Newton, a standout at free safety for the Bulls the past four years. Newton produced an eye-popping 41" vertical leap, had an unofficial time of 4.46 in the 40-yard dash, a three-cone time of 6.94 and a 4.17 in the 20-yard shuttle. His vertical leap matched USC All-American Taylor Mays at the NFL Combine and would have been second overall, while both his 40-yard dash and his broad jump would have placed third at the Combine.