Playing at a Division I-AA school makes it hard enough for a player to get noticed by NFL scouts. Being snubbed by the NFL Combine makes it even harder.
However, position versatility, solid production, and elite measurables are all very helpful in catching the eye of NFL scouts and general managers.
University of New Hampshire linebacker Sean Ware has all of these.
Ware redshirted his freshman year for the Wildcats in 2005 and played mostly on special teams in 2006, racking up 24 tackles.
In line to be a starter for 2007, Ware suffered a knee injury that forced him to miss the entire season.
In 2008, Ware showed he was fully recovered from his injury by starting all 13 games for New Hampshire. His 88 tackles that year ranked third on the team, while his eight tackles for loss ranked second on the team. He also recorded half a sack, an interception, two pass breakups, and a forced fumble.
In 2009, Ware again started all 13 games for the Wildcats. He notched 97 tackles, good for second on the team, and he recorded 6.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, two pass breakups, and a forced fumble.
Ware's consistency and improvement in his two seasons as a starter show his dedication to improvement each year, as well as his potential for growth at the professional level. He also proved that his 2007 injury was nothing to be concerned about, as he did not miss another game in his collegiate career following the injury, and his play was not hampered by it.
Ware was snubbed by the 2010 NFL Combine but took full advantage of New Hampshire's Pro Day, posting numbers that are sure to catch the eye of NFL personnel.
Ware's 225-pound listing on New Hampshire's roster no doubt raised some concern about his ability to stay at linebacker at the next level. However, Ware weighed in at 237 pounds at his Pro Day, a prototypical weight for a 4-3 weakside linebacker.
Ware also squashed any concern about the extra weight affecting his speed, posting a 4.46 40-yard dash time, not only giving him exceptional speed for an outside linebacker but also suggesting that he has the versatility to transition to strong safety in the NFL if need be. The transition would seemingly be an easy one for Ware, whose strengths are his speed and coverage ability.
While his I-AA experience and Combine snub may hamper his draft stock slightly, his exceptional measurables, consistent production, and versatility should undoubtedly be enough to get Ware looks from several teams when the 2010 NFL Draft rolls around.