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MCGILL: Pro Day Reunites Herd Football Teammates

March 9, 2018

By Chuck McGill

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – The night before Marshall’s Pro Day on Wednesday, NFL aspirant Ryan Yurachek shared a conversation with his father about what loomed.

Yurachek wasn’t a highly sought recruit out of high school, so the prospect of a combine-style workout in front of NFL and other professional scouts seemed like a pipedream. But, along with seven of his former Thundering Herd teammates, Yurachek received that opportunity inside the Chris Cline Athletic Complex.

“My biggest thing is I wanted to run well,” Yurachek said. “People have always said that I was a little slower, or looked slow on film, so that was my biggest thing that I needed to work on.”

Representatives from the Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers and Washington Redskins watched the nearly three-hour workout. A pair of Canadian Football League franchises, the Calgary Stampeders and Winnipeg Blue Bombers, also sent scouts to Huntington.



Eight former Marshall players participated in various measured workouts, including bench press, vertical, broad jump, 40-yard dash and shuttle. They had their height, weight and hand size recorded. Finally, quarterbacks and pass-catchers went through a 75-point script, while defenders and offensive line prospect Sandley Jean-Felix went through a variety of individual drills.

“There’s some things I threw that I didn’t like,” said quarterback Chase Litton, the only non-senior among the group. “We missed three (throws). Going 72 for 75, we’ll take that.”

Litton, who participated in last week’s NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, did not participate again in the measured tests he went through in front of NFL scouts previously. Instead, his focus was the throwing portion.

“I had to do all under center stuff today just to show people I can do it,” he said.

Wednesday’s Pro Day was also an opportunity for Litton, who measured at 6 feet, 5 inches and 230 pounds, to throw to Yurachek again.

“I saw some guys at the combine – tight ends – and he’s right there with them,” Litton said of Yurachek. “I’m proud to come out here and throw the ball with him, one last time in Marshall clothes.”

Yurachek exited the Herd program No. 2 in career touchdowns among tight ends, No. 3 in career receptions by a tight end and No. 4 in receiving yards by a tight end. He also tied the school record for consecutive games with a reception with 42. His best 40 time on Wednesday was 4.71, which would have ranked fifth among tight ends who ran at the NFL Scouting Combine. He recorded 18 repetitions on the bench press, which would have been tight for fifth at the Combine, alongside North Carolina State’s Jaylen Samuels. Yurachek’s 11.89 in the 60-yard shuttle would have been fourth among Combine tight ends.

After Wednesday’s workout, he heaped praise on Litton, who was Yurachek’s quarterback for three seasons.

“That guy has a heck of an arm,” Yurachek said. “You see him that that 50-yard deep corner … he’s got an arm like no other and I’m excited to see where he ends up.”

Litton ended a whirlwind week that saw him travel from EXOS, a human performance company, in Carlsbad, California, to Indianapolis last week, and then to Huntington on Sunday. He spent three days with Yurachek and others preparing for Wednesday’s workout.

“Anytime you go to a combine and throw you have all of these new faces you’re throwing to, and you don’t have the timing down,” Yurachek said. “We got here and worked out tails off for three days.”

Litton will stay in Huntington and continuing preparing for April’s NFL Draft. He will continue working out for teams, learning playbooks and setting visits for interested organizations. It was reported after Pro Day that the Cowboys and Patriots had interest in the quarterback, who left the Herd program in the top five in completions, passing yards and passing touchdowns.

In addition to Jean-Felix, Litton and Yurachek, five other former MU players participated in all or parts of the Pro Day: Rodney Allen, Davon Durant, Hyleck Foster, C.J. Reavis and Kaare Vedvik

Vedvik’s booming punts and kicks impressed scouts, leading to additional workout invitations from teams in attendance. Vedvik recorded a 34-inch vertical and broad jump of 10 feet, 3 inches, both of which would have been the best among specialists invited to the Combine.

Other notable Pro Day achievements:

Jean-Felix measured at 6 feet, 4 inches and 332 pounds. His wingspan is 87.1 inches. He recorded 28 repetitions on the bench, which would have ranked sixth among Combine offensive linemen.

Durant flashed the physical tools that made him a weight room warrior while at Marshall. The 240-pound defender, who played linebacker and defensive end at MU, had a broad jump of 10 feet, 3 inches; vertical jump of 37 inches; and pushed out 33 repetitions on the bench press.

Allen, a defensive back, ran a best of 4.44 in the 40. The time is an average of what the scouts recorded individually.