Weber State football: Johnson, Vollert, Murphy impress in biggest Pro Day yet

Thursday , March 29, 2018 - 5:15 AM

OGDEN — The Marquardt Field House at Weber State was packed with NFL scouts Wednesday afternoon who converged to watch 10 former Wildcat football players put their strength, speed and skills to the test in the annual Pro Day.

A total of 30 scouts were in attendance to assess the Wildcats, representing 25 NFL teams and one team from the Canadian Football League.

The pro hopefuls were: quarterback Stefan Cantwell, punter Jacob DeMaio, cornerback Xequille Harry, defensive lineman Rayshawn Henderson, cornerback Taron Johnson, defensive end Adam Lewis, linebacker Cardon Malan, defensive lineman McKay Murphy, tight end Tui Satuala and tight end Andrew Vollert.

Official results from the day were not readily provided for the media, but outside sources managed to acquire some unofficial numbers.

TARON JOHNSON

Of all Weber State’s prospects, Johnson is the most promising. Projections have the All-American picked as high as the NFL Draft’s fourth round. The Sacramento native sat out for most of the drills on the day, satisfied with the numbers he posted at the NFL Combine to open the month in Indianapolis.

“I feel like I was pretty smooth,” Johnson said. “I got a little tired there at the end, but overall I feel like I performed well.”

Johnson did put his mobility on display, participating in the three-cone agility drill and in backpedaling drills, changing direction with speed and precision at a scout’s command.

He became famous for being hit in the head with a football during the NFL Combine’s gauntlet drill. Johnson laughed it off and believes it wasn’t all bad.

“I actually thought it was pretty funny, so it’s all good,” Johnson said with a smile. “It helped me gain a little following, so I feel like it did more help for me than it did damage.”

ANDREW VOLLERT

In his two years at Weber State, Vollert had the best body and hands at the tight end position in the Big Sky. On Wednesday, what impressed the most was his speed.

According to HERO Sports FCS senior staff writer Brian McLaughlin, Vollert’s 40-yard-dash time of 4.54 seconds and three-cone time of 6.76 both tie for the fastest among tight ends who were at the combine. His time of 4.09 in the 20-yard shuttle would have been the quickest at his position at the combine.

“I felt like I did well ... It was fun getting out here and showing what I can do,” Vollert said. “I really wanted to show that I can get after it in the run game ... I just wanted to show the scouts that I have good feet, I can move fluidly and I can catch the ball.”

The California native isn’t worried about what teams are looking at him, and said he’ll let his agent worry about those logistics while he focuses on his game.

Numbers for drills and exercises as reported are unofficial and were not made available by Weber State.

McKAY MURPHY

Another player to impress with surprising speed was the 6-foot-4, 295-pound Murphy, who ran the 40-yard dash in 4.81 seconds, according to NFL Draft Diamonds.

On the bench press, Murphy was pumping out the 225-pound reps at an incredible rate, but suddenly stopped as he felt a muscle strain in his left shoulder.

“I hit 23 and I felt my chest tighten up a little bit,” Murphy said. “I did one more and I felt it. I knew that if I was going to keep going then it was just going to affect the rest of my day, which I’m glad it didn’t ... A couple of weeks ago when we tested I did 39. I was hoping to hit 40 today.

“That’s just talk now. Unfortunately, I couldn’t prove it. If someone wants to see it that bad, I’ll send them a video on Instagram.”

Murphy has spoken with a number of scouts and is confident he’ll receive an invite to a camp. During Pro Day, scouts from the Patriots and the Saints pulled Murphy aside to ask more questions about the Lone Peak product.

WEBER STATE CONTINUES TO GROW

Each year of WSU’s Pro Day has increased dramatically, from around eight scouts two years ago, 12 last year, to a total 30 scouts Wednesday.

“That’s just showing that the program is building,” said Henderson. “We’re getting better each year. Of course, we went the furthest in Weber State history, so it’s going to get better. I’m just happy to be a part of it.”

The NFL Draft is set to take place April 26-28.

Contact sports reporter Brandon Garside at bgarside@standard.net, on Twitter @BrandonGarside and on Facebook.com/BrandonGarsideSE.

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