Zach Wilson will be main attraction at BYU pro day, but he’s not the only Cougar on scouts’ radars
Public is restricted but more than 20 Cougar football players will be at Friday’s pro day
BYU’s pro day on Friday might be kind of historic.
It will feature far more drama than such events of the past.
It’s the kind of spring nuisance head coach Kalani Sitake should like.
For one, his 2020 quarterback Zach Wilson will be front and center. Projected as a high first-round draft pick, he’s the main reason the event will be televised worldwide by the NFL Network and BYUtv.
Second, there will be 14 BYU players who just finished playing for the 11-1 Cougars who will participate, and another six former players holding alumni status will be there after COVID-19 knocked out their blessed pro day in 2020. That’s at least 20 bodies from BYU jumping, lifting, running and preening before scouts.
Third, this spring, BYU will have more players that were invited to the NFL combine, considered for the draft, signing as free agents, than any time in more than a decade when you count tackle Brady Christensen, guard Tristen Hoge, tight end Matt Bushman, linebacker Isaiah Kaufusi, Khyiris Tonga and receiver Dax Milne.
Zach Wilson prepping for his pro day 👀 pic.twitter.com/KLtVoNErxl— Connor Rogers (@ConnorJRogers) March 19, 2021
For years, BYU fans have kind of tuned out the NFL draft. Not enough reasons to take a glance. BYU had 12 players drafted from 2006 to 2020, or an average of just under one per year.
Not so this spring. It could be triple to quadruple that.
Doors will be closed to the public, so there will actually be room to move around and it will take on more of a laboratory environment.
Dave Stroshine, owner of StroFormance in Pleasant Grove, will have a number of clients at the event, including Christensen and Bushman. He has also worked with Wilson, Kaufusi, and safety Zayne Anderson among others.
“There will be a lot of players out there and they’re excited to take part,” said Stroshine. “They are grateful that Zach is kind of bringing in the eyeballs and they want to make the most of it.”
Stroshine believes Wilson will not disappoint. He will throw with velocity and accuracy.
“He’s worked extremely hard in California and I’ve had a chance to talk to him and see what kind of shape he is in. He’s prepared. He will look very good.”
Pro day participants
2020 BYU players
DB Zayne Anderson
TE Matt Bushman
OL Brady Christensen
DL Zac Dawe
DL Bracken El-Bakri
DB/LB Kavika Fonua
OL Chandon Herring
OL Tristen Hoge
LB Isaiah Kaufusi
WR Dax Milne
DL Khyiris Tonga
DB Troy Warner
DB Chris Wilcox
QB Zach Wilson
DB Isaiah Armstrong
WR Aleva Hifo
WR Batchlor Johnson
DB Austin Lee
WR Micah Simon
DB Beau Tanner
Stroshine is anxious to see what scouts say after they measure, time and inspect him up front after months of seeing his film.
“Zach is obviously the one everyone wants to see. I’m excited to see what the experts and scouts say after,” Stroshine said. “I think he’ll just solidify himself as the No. 2 overall pick. His arm feels great, he feels great. So I’m excited. I think he will have a perfect day.”
Christensen, listed by PFF College Sports as the top offensive tackle in the draft, has impressed Stroshine with his work ethic and innate talent. “He has been running very impressively and I think scouts will really learn a lot more about his skills when they see how he moves.”
Christensen will likely bench the 225-pound weight 28 to 31 times and move around the shuttles and jumps in impressive fashion for a man his size. Christensen is capable of running a 4.8 in the 40 and if he does that, it will pad his resume.
“I think Brady is really going to make a lot of people happy. He’s gonna surprise some people with his athleticism and he’s gonna test well on everything from his 40 to vertical to broad jump,” said Stroshine.
Kaufusi has put on 20 pounds and has gained some speed. Stroshine said Bushman may or may not do all the drills, but he should lift and run some routes. He’s worked hard in Arizona the past two months after recovering from Achilles tendon surgery from his injury last August.
“The surprise may be Zayne Anderson,” said Stroshine. “I really believe he’ll run a low 4.4 and he may get something faster than that. If he gets in the 4.3 area, it will be really exciting. Kaufusi is bigger and he’s a step or two faster. Beau Tanner is coming back and hasn’t given up on his opportunity to play.”
Stroshine has advised his guys to be prepared and organized for pro day, to have hydration and energy bars or snacks readily available and not get caught in a situation where they’re searching for things they need.
“They’ve got to get ready, do their stretches and pay attention. They’ll need to do their family thing, but separate that from the time they need to post numbers and participate.
“This will be a lot of fun,” he concluded.