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Former Bears put pro aspirations to test

Posted: April 3, 2013 - 4:02pm
UCA SPORTS INFORMATION      Wide receivers Dominique Croom, Isaiah Jackson and Jesse Grandy work out for NFL scouts during drills at pro day.
UCA SPORTS INFORMATION Wide receivers Dominique Croom, Isaiah Jackson and Jesse Grandy work out for NFL scouts during drills at pro day.

Former University of Central Arkansas football players posted some impressive numbers for NFL scouts during the Bears’ recent pro day on campus.

On a pro day, held on many college campuses throughout the nation, several former players with professional playing aspirations go through multiple tests and drills before professional scouts, giving the athletes an opportunity to be evaluated in similar fashion to those invited to the NFL Scouting Combine.

“There have been several professional-level athletes come through our program in recent years, and scouts take notice of that and make it a point to evaluate players here,” said Clint Conque, UCA head coach. “It’s a great opportunity for our young men to have a chance to work out for the pro scouts and try to continue their playing careers.”

Some highlights:

RB Terence Bobo: 5-foot-11, 212 pounds, 4.62 40-yard dash, 33-inch vertical.

WR Dominque Croom: 6-foot-2, 190, 4.5 40, 38.5-inch vertical, 10-3 broad jump.

WR Jesse Grandy: 5-foot-11, 150, 4.5 40, 34.5-inch vertical.

OL Corey Howard: 6-foot-1/2, 294, 4.93 40, 30-inch vertical, 26 reps bench press (225 pounds).

DE/TE Jeremy Jester: 6-foot-3, 252, 4.81 40, 33-inch vertical, 29 reps bench press (225 pounds).

WR Isaiah Jackson (2011 senior): 4.4 40, 39.5-nch vertical, 10-7 broad jump.

Jester’s bench press reps would have ranked among the top 15 for defensive linemen and tight ends at the NFL Combine, Howard’s vertical jump would have been tied for the fifth-best leap among offensive linemen at the combine, and the broad jumps for both Jackson, a former Conway High star, and Croom would have been among the top 20 jumps by wide receivers. Croom’s vertical jump would have tied for 4th best at the combine.

Those, among others, are trying to join the list of Bears who have extended their careers either in the NFL or CFL in recent years. Of late, the Bears have had three NFL draft selections in defensive ends Jacob Ford (Tennessee Titans, 6th round, 2007), Larry Hart (Jacksonville Jaguars, 5th round, 2010) and Markell Carter (New England Patriots, 6th round, 2011), along with free agent signees tight end Marquez Branson (Denver Broncos, Atlanta Falcons) and QB Nathan Brown (Jacksonville Jaguars, New Orleans Saints).

Former UCA DB/return specialist Tristan Jackson is entering his sixth season in the Canadian Football League, where he has been named the league’s Special Teams Player of the Week four times. He has been twice nominated for the league’s Outstanding Special Teams Player and was a nominee for the CFL’s Outstanding Rookie in 2008. Former UCA defensive lineman Taylor Scott was a member of the Grey Cup champion Montreal Alouettes in 2010, coached by current Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman. Carter, following his stint with the Patriots, has signed with the Calgary Stampeders of the CFL.

The current UCA Bears will hold their second scrimmage of the spring at 3 p.m. Saturday at Estes Stadium.

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