Seniors Impress NFL Scouts
Senior Wide Receiver Marcus Rivers runs the 40-yard dash for 10 NFL scouts in Buffalo’s annual Pro Day. Meg Kinsley /// The Spectrum
Many college students experience sleepless nights before a big test. Many of the seniors on the football team experienced this when they had the biggest test of their careers on Tuesday.
The Ralph Wilson Stadium Fieldhouse played host to Buffalo's annual pro day.
The seniors displayed their skills in a series of drills, similar to the NFL combine to scouts from 10 NFL teams including the Bills, Patriots, and Saints.
The highest rated prospect from this year's senior class was wide receiver Marcus Rivers. Rivers received second team All-Mid-American Conference honors this season and was recently invited to the NFL Super Regional Combine in Detroit at the end of the month.
Rivers impressed the scouts at the workout and is expected to be contacted by multiple NFL teams. His impressive performance is something he has been working on for the last few months.
"This day has been built up so much," Rivers said. "You have to bring your best. You can't have an off day. This is the only day in your career that you got to be at your best at all times because everybody is out here looking at you, [you're] showing how you act as a man and your character so you just got to come out here and give it a 100 percent."
The 6-foot-5 receiver, who played for Lackawanna high school, chose to stay local and play for the Bulls. Many of his friends and family would love for him to play professionally in Buffalo but he is looking for any opportunity to get to the next level.
"It's crazy, everybody wants me to get drafted by the Bills," Rivers said. "But it's whatever team [will take me], I'm blessed. I just [want to] go out and get picked up by one team or another. Only one team has to like you, so I'm just out here, enjoying the moment."
Another highly touted wide receiver at the workout was Terrell Jackson. His season was ended when he suffered an injury against Temple. However, Jackson showed no signs of an injury as he made up for his 5-foot-11 stature by running an unofficial 4.45 40-yard dash.
"Overall I thought I had a good performance," Jackson said. "But that's what I have to have. I'm not a taller guy. So I have to come in here and be fast – that's what's expected of me. I caught well, ran routes well and I set my goals high and today I feel pretty good about my performance."
Jackson was named to the third team All-MAC before his injury for his efforts as a punt returner. He explained that he calmed his nerves by relating the pressures of the day to returning a punt.
"I'm a punt returner so with the stress and the nerves everything like that, you gotta keep a cool head," Jackson said. "So I'm back there just like I'm punt returning, just sitting and waiting, waiting on that punt and to step up."
Not all of the players participating had to overcome the stresses of working out in front of pro scouts. Buffalo alumnus defensive back Davonte Shannon attended Buffalo's pro day after getting a tryout with the Washington Redskins this past season. He had two sacks in last year's preseason but did not see any action during the regular season.
Shannon admitted that he could not sleep the night before last year's pro day but was able to get a full night's rest for this year's workout.
The year with the Redskins gave him valuable lessons that have made him work harder to impress scouts at this year's event.
"Playing with the Redskins was a great experience, I learned a lot about the business," Shannon said. "The biggest thing I learned was that it is a business. And how quickly you can be gone and how thankful you should be for having a position because at any time you can be gone."
With Buffalo alumni Naaman Roosevelt and James Starks making impacts in the NFL there is a growing awareness for the talent at Buffalo, which has caused more scouts to attend the pro day.
The seniors will have to wait until at least April 26 when the NFL holds its draft at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City to see if they will get an opportunity to play professionally.
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