LINCOLN — Scouts from 30 professional teams — 29 NFL squads and one from the CFL — took in Nebraska football’s annual pro day on Friday, and there’s a good chance a few of them had one new name to remember after the workout.
Daniel Davie. Among the many NU players working out in Nebraska’s weight room and in the Hawks Championship Center, the former Husker cornerback from Beatrice — who admittedly struggled with injuries and confidence in a difficult senior season — stood out the most, reaching 39 inches in the vertical jump and running two 40-yard dashes in faster than 4.4 seconds. Davie said his runs were timed at 4.31 and 4.37 seconds.
That performance was on top of Davie running a 4.45-second 40-yard dash and jumping 38 inches at a regional NFL combine in Arizona a few weeks ago. Davie did not get an invitation to the general NFL combine in Indianapolis. Four former Huskers who did — Maliek Collins, Vincent Valentine, Alex Lewis and Andy Janovich — participated on a limited basis Friday and did not test.
Current Husker players — who sat in the balcony and peered down at the 40-yard dash — timed the runs with their phones. Murmurs went up during Davie’s two sprints.
“I wanted to get back on the map,” Davie said afterward. Other former players to work out included running back Imani Cross, cornerback Jonathan Rose, wide receivers Taariq Allen and Jamal Turner, linemen Zach Sterup and Givens Price, defensive end Jack Gangwish and linebacker David Santos, who was on the Husker team for four seasons.
For Davie, it was a good end to what had been a trying 2015. He missed part of last spring with an injury, then struggled again with injuries throughout the season. More than that, he struggled to master NU’s new pass defense scheme. He was beaten for a key fourth down play in the loss to BYU, and he was benched in the Miami game after giving up two long pass plays early in the game.
“I was not in tune with the little details of the playbook to where I could take chances and jump routes and do the things I was comfortable doing in the previous scheme,” Davie said. “That’s part of the game.”
When Davie badly injured a finger late in the season, he was “down” and not “really myself.” A talk with his dad helped. Davie prepared for the pro day in Massachusetts with Allen, near the New England Patriots’ facility. Davie’s dad was in attendance Friday.
“I know what kind of player I can be, so I put my head all into football and graduation,” Davie said. “And I went out here and did it.”
Gangwish had the best bench press among Husker players with 30 reps. He prepared for the pro day in Lincoln with NU’s strength and conditioning staff. He doesn’t have an agent, and he’s hoping to catch on with a team that will give him a chance.
“It’s a lot of hopin’ and prayin’ right now,” Gangwish said. “I’m going to see if anybody wants to give me a job.”
The two Huskers most likely to get drafted are Collins and Valentine. The two trained together for the combine, participated together, and spent time together on Friday watching drills. Collins is projected to be picked in the first three rounds, while Valentine is more like a mid-round pick.
Collins said he enjoyed the preparation process for the combine, which included a lot of heavy workouts alternated with tapered workouts.
“I’ve never trained like a track athlete before,” Collins said. “That’s basically what you do. It was fun.”
For Janovich — who may get drafted as a fullback but likely has to make a team as a special teams maven — the toughest part of the combine was the mental exams.
“Some of the psychological tests had my head swimming, that’s for sure,” Janovich said. “Just hours and hours of weird questions.”
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