The NFL is filled with all shapes and sizes of players from power house programs like Alabama or a small program like Northwood located in Michigan. The biggest obstacle at getting notice by NFL scouts with the draft quickly approaching is how much exposure the small school prospects generate.
Montana State-Northern has one of those prospects looking to make that jump from small-college football to the National Football League with Frontier Conference Defensive Player of the Year Will Andrews.
Andrews has been training for the last nine weeks at Athletes Performance Institute (API) and is considered by some to be the Ritz Carlton of combine training with Andrews saying “the biggest thing for me was I wanted to come in and come out maybe a little bit heavier and a little it leaner and for them that was kind of like their specialty,” adding that “API is professional in everything they do. From the moment you walk in the door it's a great environment.”
The Standpoint, Ind.-native Andrews put the hard work into action at this Pro Day posting numbers that would even have the hand selected NFL Scouting Combine invites salivating.
Pro Day Results
—225 lb bench press reps: 23 (would have placed 14th at NFL Combine at Indianapolis)
—Vertical jump: 35" (would have placed 14th at NFL Combine at Indianapolis)
—Broad jump: 9'2"
—40-yard dash: 4.56 seconds (would have placed 3rd at NFL Combine at Indianapolis)
—Short shuttle: 4.10 seconds (would have placed 2nd at NFL Combine at Indianapolis)
—60-yard shuttle: 11.40 seconds (would have placed 1st at NFL Combine at Indianapolis)
“He was a shorter player,” said Andrews,adding that he might resemble former NFL LB Zack Thomas and that “he was a really a down hill player and I thought he moved well.” Playing defensive end at Montana State-Northern the undersized All-Frontier linebacker knows he will have to prove to scouts that there is more than meets the eye.
"In college, I played a lot of downs pass rushing a lot," Andrews said. "I don't think I was able to show my movement in space and my athletic ability. I think somebody could give me a chance and see me out, moving in space and using my hips I think that probably biggest thing that is under looked. It doesn't show a lot on film because of the defense we ran.”
Playing in the NAIA vs. DII Senior Bowl with NFL Super Regional Combine in Detroit, Mich. on the horizon on March 30-31 will give the athletic prospect another round of getting face time with more NFL scouts and coaches–which at this point is most critical. It’s hard to know if you can play when they can’t see you play is what I like to say.
Weighing around 235 during his Pro Day, Andrews said he usually is around 240 lbs during the season, which is likely where a guy like Washington Redskins Londen Fletcher was when he went undrafted out of John Carroll back in 1998.
“My quickness and my strength,” Andrews said may be his best qualities adding “I may not be the biggest or tallest guy out there but the quickness and I've dealt with and can take on blocks coming up into the second level because I've pass rushed for much of my career. That's a major strength of mine and obviously the knowledge of the game I love the film study."
Just remember this, and I said it a lot back in 1990, two players entered the NFL, one was selected in the first round out of Florida while the other went undrafted after started his career at Trinity Valley Community Collage in Athens, Texas then transferring to Texas A&M-Kingsville.
Emmitt Smith (Florida) and John Randle (Texas A&M-Kingsville) both entered the Hall of Fame together in 2010. Small school and small size doesn’t mean small results. That’s why I never say never.
Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained first-hand.
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