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75 percent of Utah's 2014 NFL Scouting Combine participants are still in the league

One year ago, 16 players with Utah ties made their way to Indianapolis to participate in the NFL Scouting Combine.

That number is more than double the six players from local colleges that will participate in this year's combine, set for Feb. 17-23.

Of those 16 athletes from last year, 75 percent are still in the league, with the 2015 combine on the horizon. The number of those Utah ties in the NFL increased to 12 on Tuesday when former Utah State center Tyler Larsen signed with the Washington Redskins.

"It’s very reflective of where our program is right now as far as producing draft picks and graduates," said Utah State coach Matt Wells, who has seen his program turn out seven draft picks in the past four years. That's the most among Utah colleges during that span. "We’re proud of where we’re at as a program to put guys at the next level."

Add in three other rookies who made practice squads in spite of not participating in the combine, and that makes 15 players with Utah ties who last played college football in 2013 who are now on NFL rosters.

While this has proven to be a class of Utah ties with potential but minimal chances to prove themselves as of yet, there are a handful of promising stories.

Six of the 16 Utah ties from the combine were selected in the 2014 NFL draft, including Xavier Su’a-Filo (selected by the Houston Texans, Timpview High, OG), Kyle Van Noy (Detroit Lions, BYU, OLB), Maurice Alexander (St. Louis Rams, S, Utah State), Keith McGill (Oakland Raiders, CB, Utah), Nevin Lawson (Lions, CB, Utah State) and Trevor Reilly (New York Jets, OLB, Utah).

Of those, Su’a-Filo made the biggest impact as a rookie, playing in 13 games and starting one. Others, like Van Noy and Lawson, dealt with injuries that hampered their potential impact in their first pro season.

BYU safety Daniel Sorensen and Utah defensive tackle Tenny Palepoi have found a niche despite not being drafted.

Sorensen had one of the strongest performances at last year's combine. His three-cone drill time of 6.47 seconds was the fifth-best time among all positions since 2006. He also had the top time among safeties in the 20-yard shuttle (3.95 seconds) and the 60-yard shuttle (10.8). While Sorensen went undrafted, he signed a free-agent deal with the Kansas City Chiefs. During the 2014 season, he played in nine games and had seven tackles.

Palepoi, meanwhile, also went undrafted but signed with the San Diego Chargers. He earned his way onto the opening-day 53-man active roster and played in all 16 games for the Chargers last season, finishing with 16 tackles. He ended the year as the backup at defensive tackle.

There are also three players who failed to go to the combine or be drafted, yet have found their way on to NFL practice squads. They include Bojay Filimoeatu (LB, Utah State) and Spencer Hadley (LB, BYU) of the Raiders and Tay Glover-Wright (CB, Utah State) of the Green Bay Packers. Filimoeatu appeared in eight games this past season and had eight tackles.

Where last year's Utah ties in the Scouting Combine are now

Xavier Su'a-Filo, OG, Timpview High: The UCLA product was selected 33rd overall by Houston in the second round of the NFL draft.

Kyle Van Noy, OLB, BYU: Van Noy was drafted 40th overall by Detroit in the second round; he missed half of his rookie season with a sports hernia.

Trevor Reilly, OLB, Utah: Reilly was a backup at outside linebacker and registered 15 tackles as a seventh-round pick of the New York Jets.

Keith McGill, CB, Utah: The fourth-round pick by Oakland had five tackles and a fumble recovery for a touchdown in the Raiders' loss to Denver in Week 17.

Nevin Lawson, CB, Utah State: Lawson, a fourth-round draft pick for the Lions, went on injured reserve following Week 2 with a dislocated foot.

Maurice Alexander, S, Utah State: Alexander, a fourth-round pick of St. Louis, played in nine games last season.

Daniel Sorensen, S, BYU: Sorensen signed a free-agent deal with Kansas City. He finished the year as third string at free safety.

Anthony Denham, TE, Utah: Denham signed a free-agent deal with the Texans and moved up to the active roster by end of the season.

Tenny Palepoi, DT, Utah: Palepoi signed a free-agent deal with San Diego and made the 53-man opening-day active roster.

Uani 'Unga, LB, BYU: A serious knee injury prevented 'Unga from participating in drills at last year's combine, but he signed a reserve/futures contract with the New York Giants near the end of the 2014 season.

Jake Murphy, TE, Utah: Murphy signed free-agent deals with the Raiders and Dolphins before landing on the Bengals' practice squad prior to Week 9 during the 2014 season.

Tyler Larsen, C, Utah State: Larsen was waived by Miami prior to last season after signing a free-agent deal. On Tuesday, he signed with the Redskins.

Cody Hoffman, WR, BYU: Hoffman signed a free-agent deal with Washington but was waived during the preseason and hasn't signed with another team.

Eathyn Manumaleuna, DE, BYU: Manumaleuna signed free-agent deals with both the Giants and Patriots, but was waived by both teams.

D.J. Tialavea, TE, Utah State: Tialavea signed a free-agent deal with Jacksonville but was waived prior to the regular season.

Joe Don Duncan, TE, Dixie State: Duncan went into the combine process injured and never signed a free-agent contract with any NFL team.

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