24 NFL teams take in Weber State football pro day; Iosua Opeta talks NFL Combine
Weber State offensive lineman Iosua Opeta, center, participates in a drill with linebacker LeGrand Toia, left, during WSU's pro day Wednesday, March 27, 2019, at Marquardt Field House in Ogden.
Weber State linebacker LeGrand Toia participates in the vertical leap measurement during WSU's pro day Wednesday, March 27, 2019, at Marquardt Field House in Ogden.
Weber State fullback Brady May runs a sprint during WSU's pro day Wednesday, March 27, 2019, at Marquardt Field House in Ogden.
OGDEN — With a scout from the Atlanta Falcons running the workout, nine Weber State football seniors participated in WSU’s pro day Wednesday in front of scouts from 24 NFL teams at Marquardt Field House.
Keilan Benjamin, Darryl Denby, Treshawn Garrett, Jeremy Maxwell, Brady May, Iosua Opeta, Jordan Preator, Parker Preator and LeGrand Toia participated in the workout, which included measurements in the 40-yard dash, 225-pound bench press, vertical leap and as a variety of agility tests and position-based drills.
Detailed stats for each drill were not made available.
Opeta, an offensive lineman and WSU’s top draft prospect, attended the NFL Combine four weeks ago in Indianapolis, so his participation Wednesday was limited to areas where he wanted to show improvement to scouts. At the combine, he was clocked at 4.94 seconds in the 20-yard shuttle. He said he knocked three-tenths of a second off that time Wednesday.
“It was just to correct stuff I didn’t test as well on at the combine,” Opeta said, “and just to show them position work, what I can do as an O-lineman.”
One place he didn’t need improvement was the bench press. Opeta racked up 39 reps at the combine, tops among all players this year. Video of his performance blew up in football circles of social media as he came tantalizingly close to joining an elite club of 18 players to ever cross 40 reps.
“It was crazy. I’ve never seen my name thrown around so much, especially on social media,” Opeta said. “My mom was on Twitter the whole week just searching my name every day, seeing new comments about me. It’s insane.”
Opeta is looking to give Weber State its second draft pick in nine years after defensive back Taron Johnson went in the fourth round to the Buffalo Bills last year.
His combine exploits already gave WSU its second straight year with a viral moment. Johnson was hit in the head with a ball last year and drew some mocking, but as much praise as he shook it off and flawlessly finished the drill.
Video of Opeta’s bench press shot around Twitter. Video of him sprinting onto the field to start a different drill also drew attention.
“Who’s going to be the next Weber State combine GIF for next year?,” Opeta joked, referring to the animated graphic format often used to capture short viral video moments. “We’ve got to keep the tradition going.”
He said other prospects at the combine mostly asked where Weber State was, but they later concluded WSU “must’ve had a good strength program” as they came to talk to Opeta after his bench-press performance.
“Yep,” Opeta said.
Overall, Opeta said Johnson’s example last year helped inspire him and he feels he’s done all he can to impress NFL scouts.
He played tackle in college but said NFL teams are looking to move him to the interior of the offensive line.
“They think I’ll fit best in the interior at the next level. I’m fine with that,” Opeta said. “I think guard and center is more a physical game so it’s more fun for me and it’s what I’m good at.”
Toia, a linebacker, turned some heads and got extra conversation with a few scouts after workouts concluded.
Noticeably bigger, Toia said he’s put on 17 pounds in the weight room since the season ended, looking to match his size to his reputation for physicality.
“I have a great feeling about today,” Toia said Wednesday. “Most the scouts I talked to said I looked good and I have good speed, but they’d like to see my strength go up a little more.”
May said he’s getting some looks for fullback or special teams. He ended his day Wednesday by firing off some long snaps, something he did on occasion at WSU.
“A couple (scouts) told me they’d be in contact with me,” May said. “Just going to see what happens. It’s just all part of the process.”
Opeta said he has a couple more private workouts scheduled with NFL teams but, for he and the other seniors, it’s mostly a waiting game from now until the draft held April 25-27 in Nashville, Tennessee.