Another future pro from the small-school ranks?

Joel Bell works out during the 2009 NFL Scouting Combine. (Darron Cummings / Associated Press)

Joel Bell works out during the 2009 NFL Scouting Combine. (Darron Cummings / Associated Press)

The Grand Valley State Pro Day was held on March 9, with nearby schools Michigan Tech, Hillsdale College and Ferris State also sending players to work out. Representatives from 17 NFL teams, including an assistant linebackers coach for the Cincinnati Bengals, were in attendance to watch five players perform indoors on FieldTurf.

It seems like almost every year, a player from one of these small schools is drafted. Three Grand Valley State players have been drafted this decade, including CB Brandon Carr in the fifth round last year by the Kansas City Chiefs. The others include DT Keyonta Marshall to the Philadelphia Eagles in the seventh round in 2005 and WR David Kircus to the Detroit Lions in the sixth round in 2003. In 2005, Michigan Tech’s Joe Berger was drafted in the sixth round by the Carolina Panthers.

The three players to keep an eye on this year are Grand Valley State DL Dan Skuta (6-2 1/2, 249 pounds), Michigan Tech DB Robert Haynes (5-9 1/4, 191 pounds) and Hillsdale LB Tom Korte (6-0 1/4, 236 pounds).

Skuta, who also worked at linebacker, fullback and halfback, had times of 4.76 and 4.72 seconds in the 40-yard dash, a 35-inch vertical and a 9-foot, 9-inch broad jump. He had a 4.42 short shuttle and a 7.05 three-cone drill, and he did 20 repetitions on the bench press.

Haynes ran 40 times of 4.38 and 4.43 and had a 38-inch vertical and a 10-foot, 6-inch broad jump. He went 4.21 in the short shuttle and 7.06 in the three-cone drill, and he did 26 reps on the bench press.

Korte ran the 40 in 4.78 and 4.81 and had a 31 1/2-inch vertical and a 9-foot, 2-inch broad jump. He added times of 4.34 in the short shuttle and 7.16 in the three-cone drill, and he did 21 bench-press lifts.

Stillman College

Four players from Stillman College worked out at the Alabama Pro Day on March 11, with DT Sammie Lee Hill (6-4, 329 pounds) drawing the most interest.

Hill stood on most of his numbers from the combine, though he worked out with defensive line coaches from the Philadelphia Eagles and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, as well as Cleveland Browns defensive line coach Bryan Cox. Hill has also worked out for the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers, with Steelers assistant head coach/defensive line coach John Mitchell in attendance.

(For more on Hill, check out Vic Carucci‘s blog entry from the NFL Scouting Combine.)


Furman held its pro day on March 24, with reps from 25 NFL teams on hand. Why so many? Because Clemson held its pro day on the same day in the morning, and scouts came to Furman for an afternoon workout afterward. The workout was held on grass at Furman’s home field in 70-degree temperatures and no wind.

OT Joel Bell (6-7, 316 pounds) and CB William Middleton (5-9 3/8, 193 pounds) were the hottest names at the workout. Bell, who participated at the combine in Indianapolis, stood on most of his numbers, though he put up 29 repetitions on the bench press. Middleton had fast 40 times of 4.43 and 4.42 seconds, and he posted a 36 1/2-inch vertical and a 10-foot, 9-inch broad jump. He also had a 4.37 short shuttle and a 7.33 three-cone drill, and he did 21 reps on the bench press.

An assistant defensive backs coach from the Bengals was in attendance.

Gil Brandt

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