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Rutgers Football Holds Pro Day 2015

Fullback Michael Burton

Fullback Michael Burton


On the same day powerhouse Alabama held their Pro Day, a team in the northeast held theirs as well.

Rutgers Football held their annual Pro Day in the Indoor Practice Bubble on Mar. 11. Pro Day is similar to the NFL Scouting Combine held in Indianapolis, Indiana every February except for the fact it also includes players from the college’s that were not invited to the prestigious event. A College’s Pro Day gives scouts a closer look at those who were invited to the Combine, and other draft eligible players that did not attend.

At Pro Day, the athletes go through various activities much like the Combine including body measurements (height, weight, hand size), bench press, 40-yard dash, vertical and broad jumps, three-cone drill, 20-yard shuttle, 60-yard shuttle, and numerous on-field drills specific for position.

Fourteen former Scarlet Knights participated at Pro Day headlined by tight end Tyler Kroft. The others included free safety Johnathan Aiken, center Betim Bujari, fullback Michael Burton, kicker Nick DeLouisa, cornerback Gareef Glashen, offensive lineman Kaleb Johnson, defensive tackle Kenneth Kirksey, linebacker Joey Lohmann, defensive back Iyanosa Ogbevoenn, linebacker Kevin Snyder, wide receiver Andrew Turzilli, safety Lorenzo Waters, and quarterback Gary Nova. A couple other former Knights from years passed also participated like ex-linebacker Jamal Merrell.

Kroft and Burton attended the NFL Scouting Combine while Burton only participated in the drills and workouts.

Kroft’s ankle injury was re-aggravated as doctors twisted and turned his ankle during a medical checkup at the Combine, and was unable to run drills in Indy. The Downington, P.A. native originally suffered a sprain in the team’s Quick Lane bowl victory over North Carolina.

Two weeks later, after going through “a lot of treatment and rehab,” Kroft said afterwards, Kroft showed the ankle healed up putting forth strong numbers at Pro Day including a 4.67 time in the 40-yard dash.

Kroft talked about his ankle saying, “It felt great. It really did. I got it taped up, and it was no problem at all. It stunk not being able to run (at the Combine), but it was awesome today to be able to show what I can do,” Kroft said.

Kroft stacked up well to the other tight ends who participated at the Combine he finished second in the broad jump, 3-cone drill, and 60-yard shuttle. He was the leader at the 20-yard shuttle at 4.20 seconds, and ranked third in the 40-yard dash.

His numbers further proved his decision to forgo his senior season was a good one as all 32 NFL teams were represented and on hand to see him and the other former Scarlet Knights work out. Despite seeing a dip in offensive production due to more blocking responsibilities after breaking onto the scene in 2013 with 43 catches for 573 yards and four touchdowns, Kroft boosted his stock. Head football coach Kyle Flood said, “There’s a lot more to Tyler than just catching the ball, and when you put his film on and what you see is certainly a guy who is talented with the football in his hands, but also somebody who can play in line (as a blocker). That’s what makes him unique.”

At the Combine, the former Rutgers tight end was among the lowest out of the tight ends in the bench press with 17 reps of 225-pounds, but Kroft showed fluidity on routes and caught balls that were thrown to him at all angles. He also looked tough in the blocking drills too. The Cincinnati Bengals were seen talking and going through new drills with the redshirt-junior.

With only nine fullbacks selected in the past three drafts, and only 19 out of 32 teams utilizing the fullback, Burton’s ambition to top his numbers at the Combine, and to show scouts why he deserves a roster spot says a lot about his drive.

“Michael Burton is as valuable of a player that we’ve had in our program since I’ve been here,” Flood said. “Not only does he do all the things that people don’t really notice or show up in the box score in terms of being a facilitator for the other people on the field he adds so much to the culture to your locker room.”

The underrated no. 10 fullback according to posted solid numbers once again across the board, and even raised his bench total of 25 from the combine, to a whopping 30 reps, and improved his 3-cone drill and 20-yard shuttle times.

At the training facility, Burton said he’s worked on speed, lateral movements, and lifting. “I was excited I improved my bench numbers,” the 5th-year senior and former walk-on said. “I hit my goal weight I wanted to hit (250 lbs.), I improved on the broad (jump), and I felt like I caught the ball [well].”

Now, Burton can focus more on football instead of these drills specific for the Combine or Pro Day. “I’m going to start working on blocking techniques, and even my coverage skills because I understand special teams is going to play a very large part in my role,” Burton said.

Burton noted the New York Giants invited him to their local workout day and fine tune his skills.

Turzilli, a graduate transfer receiver from Kansas, provided a deep threat for the Knights this season with his speed, after being a part of two of the longest offensive players from scrimmage this past season. He put his speed on display registering a day best of 4.44 second 40-yard dash. The Butler, N.J. native turned heads measuring 6’4” with speed, and looked great running routes and catching deep balls from Nova despite having a hamstring not 100 percent.

Johnson has a shot at being drafted despite being shut out by the Combine after starting 50 straight games for the Knights along the offensive line. Johnson brings versatility where he has played both guard and tackle and teams love that.

The Jacksonville, Fla. Native showed off his brute strength posting 34 reps in the bench press. The no. 30 offensive guard by would have been fourth among offensive lineman at the combine. Double G Sports learned the New York Giants invited the 6’4”, 303 pound lineman for a workout. After being shut out of a Combine invite and  “[Feeling sick],” Johnson said to writer Dan Duggan prior to Pro Day, Johnson has to be feeling 100 percent again.

Snyder fared well running a solid 40-time at 4.54, which would have placed second if he were at the Combine with the other linebackers.

In what coach Flood calls a “job interview”, he can’t wait to go back and look at the tape from Pro Day.

“I heard from quite a few scouts and some of the coaches that were in attendance that it was a really good day for a lot of our players, and for that I’m excited,” Flood said. “I think this is a tremendous experience for our program, and to have so many alums come back, and to have these guys work out for every team in the NFL who was represented here today. So, I’m excited about the day we had, and I’m anxious to see a little bit of it on film when we get done here.”

A complete chart of all results can be found here from


Tight End Tyler Kroft

Tight End Tyler Kroft

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