TCU’s Schlueter works his way into draft consideration

He entered college as a 236-pound (with his clothes wet) freshman. He left a well-chiseled 290-pound NFL prospect.

And now TCU C Blake Schlueter, who was not invited to last month’s scouting combine, might just have gotten himself into the latter rounds of April’s NFL draft with a pro-day workout on Friday morning that really opened some eyes.

(Courtesy of TCU)

(Michael Clements / TCU)

The 40 scouts from all 32 teams came to see a pair of combine invites, linebacker Jason Phillips and strong safety Stephen Hodge. They left talking about Schlueter.

Schlueter (6-2 3/8, 290 pounds) ran the 40-yard dash in 4.7 seconds, had a 35-inch vertical jump, a 9-foot-3-inch long jump, a 4.28-second short shuttle, and a 7.42-second three-cone drill.

He reminds me of Colts C Jeff Saturday when Saturday came out of North Carolina. Same body build, although Schlueter is a little faster. A pure athlete, everything you want out of a center … except maybe size.

I don’t know if a 290-pound guy can play center in the NFL, but he was 236 when he came to TCU and still has room to grow. Probably moved into the seventh round with his performance on Friday. The guy’s a football player.

Schlueter’s an interesting fellow, too. His position coach at TCU, Eddie Williamson, told me he’s from a one-stoplight town named Ganado, Texas. Williamson remembers visiting the area — he goes to every corner of Texas to recruit — in 1999 and asked if they had anyone with D-I potential. Everyone had the same answer: no, but there’s this kid in the ninth grade you should keep your eye on and follow.

That kid was Schlueter, who ended up committing to TCU very early and kept his promise to the university even though he had multiple offers by the time he was a senior. That says a lot about him, that he would honor his word in this day and age.

Friday’s pro day at TCU was run with precision. One of the most efficient and well-organized pro days I’ve seen. I don’t even know if the Pentagon is that well organized.

C.O. Brocato, the Tennessee Titans’ national supervisor of college scouting, orchestrated the event, and it took all of 1 hour and 50 minutes. Everyone was served breakfast by TCU’s End Zone Club, and we were off and running by 8 a.m. on the FieldTurf of TCU’s beautiful new indoor facility. By the way, 10 years ago the Horned Frogs’ facilities — when LaDainian Tomlinson was there — were probably in the bottom 10 percent; now they’re in top 10 percent, and coach Gary Patterson and a generous alumni should be thanked for that.

Among those in attendance were Chargers senior executive Randy Mueller, Panthers GM Marty Hurney, Steelers special assistant Joe Greene, Broncos scouting consultant Cornell Green and Deion Sanders, who brought eight prospects from his Prime U. training program to witness how the pro-day process works.

Thirteen players worked out, but Phillips wasn’t among them. The linebacker revealed for the first time that he has a torn meniscus, an injury he believes he suffered at the combine last month.

Hodge, who measured 5-foot-11 5/8 and weighed 233 pounds, only participated in the broad jump, in which he had a leap of 10-feet, 2 inches.

Linebacker Robert Henson (6-0 1/8, 240) ran the 40 in 4.7 seconds, had a 35-inch vertical jump, a 9-foot-11 long jump, a 4.62-second short shuttle and a 7.38-second three-cone drill. Henson, one of Sanders’ Prime U. guys, seems to have another drill down pat, the old schmooze drill. He walked around and introduced himself to all the scouts in attendance, much to Deion’s liking.

Gil Brandt

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