Football players impress NFL scouts during FIU Pro Day

Fifteen FIU seniors auditioned Thursday for scouts representing all 32 pro teams

Greg Ellingson had heard the whispers before of opposing defensive backs and critics questioning his speed and athleticism. During his four years at FIU, Ellingson slowly silenced the doubters.

First came some defensive backs on his own team, who did not realize how fast Ellingson really is until the lanky 6-3 receiver would zip right past them. Then came opposing defensive backs, who concentrated so much on FIU star receiver T.Y. Hilton that Ellingson would leave his defender in the dust for another long gain with each passing week in the college football season.

On Thursday afternoon at FIU Stadium, Ellingson proved the NFL wrong as he consistently ran a 4.4, 40-yard dash to impress scouts on hand representing all 32 NFL teams at FIU Pro Day.

“There were several scouts that came up to me afterwards told me they didn’t think I was as fast as I ran,” said Ellingson, with a big grin on his face. “I’ve been working hard these past four years here at FIU. I came in weighing 170 pounds and running in the high 4.6s and now I’m over 200 pounds and running a 4.4.”

Ellingson also had a solid day in the vertical jump inside the FIU weight room. Ellingson jumped 39.5 vertical.

Elllingson was one of 15 FIU seniors to audition for the scouts. Some of the other Panthers on hand were defensive back Anthony Gaitor, center Brad Serini, guard Cedric Mack, linebacker Toronto Smith and defensive end Jarvis Wilson.

Gaitor reached his goal of running a 4.3, 40 on his first attempt. In his second try, Gaitor ran a 4.44. The All-Sun Belt defensive back also benched 225 pounds 12 times.

“I felt I did great,” Gaitor said. “You know I’ve been telling you since last season ended that I wanted to get to running a 4.3 and I did that. I think I did well in front of the scouts. Hopefully, this day will help me out on draft day.”

Mack, who is weighing 330 pounds, did the most reps on the bench by pressing 225 pounds an impressive 26 times.

Smith, who used to run the 40 in the 4.6-4.7 range, ran a 4.5, 40 on Thursday. Serini ran a 5.3, 40 and was sharp on the L Drill.

“I think I did good overall,” Serini said. “I’m at the weight that I want to be at 296 and that helped me with some of the agility drills.”

This FIU/NFL Pro Day featured Panthers coach Mario Cristobal’s first recruiting class. Despite Cristobal and his staff having just three weeks to put together the class after he was hired in January 2007, scouts left impressed with the talent they examined on Wednesday.

“I got a feeling FIU will have more and more pro prospects with each passing season,” said an NFC scout, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “They got some good ones out here today. Ellingson is a legitimate NFL prospect. We didn’t think he was as fast as he showed today. The Gaitor kid can play corner, has good coverage instincts and is quick. The two offensive linemen got a shot too. They’re active big bodies.”

— Pete Pelegrin



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