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Tribal Warfare
02-27-2009, 01:47 PM
FOOTBALL: Cardinals try to earn a chance in the NFL (http://media.www.bsudailynews.com/media/storage/paper849/news/2009/02/27/Sports/Football.Cardinals.Try.To.Earn.A.Chance.In.The.Nfl-3652683.shtml)
By: Kyle Shaner
Posted: 2/27/09
During the 2008 football season, Ball State University tight end Darius Hill struggled at times to catch the ball.

He got another chance Thursday to prove to NFL scouts that he could bring in the passes.

"I had a rough season catching the ball as a lot of people know," Hill said. "I came out here and didn't drop anything, so that's a plus."

Hill was one of approximately 15 football players from Ball State, Anderson University, Butler University, the University of Indianapolis, Taylor University and Valparaiso University who worked out for NFL scouts as part of Ball State's Pro Day.

The workout in front of scouts gave the players a chance to prove to NFL teams that they are worthy of a chance despite not having all the accolades and opportunities other college players got.

"It's good just having these scouts here and having their eyes on us and getting to actually see me since I didn't go to the combine and I didn't make it to any all-star games," Hill said. "So this is like my chance to show them what I can do and let them see me in person and see my body and everything."

Hill was joined by former teammates Cortlan Booker, Dan Gerberry, B.J. Hill, Louis Johnson, Chris Miller, Trey Lewis, Wade Overton and Andre Ramsey in the workout on the Ball State campus.

The players worked out in the Field Sports Building in drills such as the 40-yard dash, three-cone drill and shuttle run before moving to Scheumann Stadium after the rain dissipated. At the stadium the scouts - from teams including the Atlanta Falcons, Cincinnati Bengals, Miami Dolphins, New Orleans Saints and New York Giants - focused on position drills such as receivers catching passes and linemen shuffling their feet.

Ball State coach Stan Parrish said the event was great for the players as they participated in the same drills as the top-rated prospects at the NFL Scouting Combine.

"Sometimes you just need some exposure," Parrish said. "And the guys who don't get invited to the combine that have good measurables here, at least they're on the radar."

For Booker, the workout was a chance to get back into football. The former defensive end and linebacker was a senior on the 2007 Ball State team. He did not get to participate in any pre-draft workouts after his senior year though because he had surgery after the season to repair a pectoral muscle that he tore in the eighth game of the season.

After missing the 2008 season, which he spent as an assistant football coach at West Lafayette High School and manager at Meijer, Booker said he is trying to get a free agent deal and invitation to a team's mini camp. After working 10-hour days at Meijer, Booker said, he trains so he can try to earn a spot in the NFL.

"It's kind of like starting at the bottom rung of a job and moving up the ladder," he said.

Darius Hill said he thinks his Pro Day workout went pretty well as he tested better in drills than he had been in training. A teammate told him he ran a 4.71 second 40-yard dash, he said, which was the best time he has run in his career.

Booker said he thought he did OK as he has had better days, but he has had worse days. However, he said he has high goals that are tough to satisfy.

"The numbers haven't been where I would want them to be, but they never would be anyways," Booker said with a laugh. "Unless I'm bending bars, bend bars of steel and everything, I'd be a little bit disappointed."