The Minnesota Golden Gophers football program hosted its 2018 Pro Day this morning at the team’s indoor practice facility at Athlete Village’s.
The Pro Day officially began in the weight room shortly after 8 a.m. and then pivoted to the adjacent indoor field for the remainder of the individual workouts.
The workouts were held in front of 26 NFL-team representatives spanning 22 NFL teams.
The 11 former Gopher players who worked out were Adekunle Ayinde, Vincent Calhoun, Jonathan Celestin, Merrick Jackson, Kobe McCrary, Duke McGhee, Steven Richardson, Ryan Santoso, Andrew Stelter, Nate Wozniak, and Garrison Wright.
Celestin posted 27 reps on the bench press, which would’ve made him the runner up amongst linebackers who participated at the 2018 NFL Combine in February.
“I was excited to [be here on Pro Day],” Celestin said. “I was excited to be with my teammates one more time, dress in the maroon and gold … have this ‘M’ on my chest one more time.”
The linebacker’s 40-yard-dash time on Pro Day also came in at 4.70 seconds to lead all Gophers.
“After today, I’ll probably find out more information,” Celestin said, “I know I came out here, gave it my all, and this is what I hope to do in the [upcoming] years.”
Another who impressed from a long lineage of talented Gopher running backs was Kobe McCrary, who finished his Pro Day first among Gophers in the vertical (36 inches) and second in the broad jump (9 feet 11 inches).
“I went to Butler Community College for two years … played behind Chris Carson my first year, he’s with the Seattle Seahawks right now, so I learned a lot,” McCrary said. “My sophomore year [at Butler], I led the nation in rushing touchdowns. Then, I was blessed to get an offer from [Minnesota] – played here, played with Shannon [Brooks] and Rodney [Smith] … that’s the journey I went through man, paving me for the next level.”
Gophers defensive back Kunle Ayinde was the lone individual who bested McCrary – and all other Gophers – in the broad jump.
“[Proving myself] is just something I wake up everyday thinking about,” Ayinde said afterwards. “I have to prove something not to people, but to myself. I wake up everyday knowing if I’m going to set out a goal, I’m going to go get it, so that just kind of helped me with my mindset on how to attack things, and how to approach my everyday life.”
Defensive tackle Steven Richardson already had engrained interest from the pros coming into the day, but he managed to improve his odds while even surprising himself in the process.
“It went better than I expected,” Richardson said. “I was hitting around 25, 27 [reps] consistently in training, so to come here to hit 31 … was a big eye opener … everything else
went pretty good. I wish I could have gotten a little higher on vertical. At this point, it is what it is, but I think overall I did pretty well.”
The 2018 NFL Draft at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas is just 29 days away.