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Former Eastern Washington stars chase NFL dreams on Pro Day

Former Eastern Washington wide receiver Cooper Kupp runs the 40-yard dash for NFL scouts during EWU Pro Day on Tuesday, March 28, 2017, in Cheney. (Jim Allen/The Spokesman-Review)
Former Eastern Washington wide receiver Cooper Kupp runs the 40-yard dash for NFL scouts during EWU Pro Day on Tuesday, March 28, 2017, in Cheney. (Jim Allen/The Spokesman-Review)

The dreams are different now.

For six former Eastern Washington football players, the Big Sky is no longer the limit.

The scoreboard was dark. Instead of a Montana defensive back, the enemy was a stopwatch – 20 of them, each held by an NFL scout.

And wouldn’t you know it: the Eagles won again. Most of them improved their stock Tuesday afternoon despite the cold and wind at Roos Field.

“I’m coming back to a happy place for me,” smiled wide receiver Kendrick Bourne after beating most of his marks from last month’s NFL Combine.

They included a 4.53-second time in the 40-yard dash (Bourne ran 4.68 in Indy) – and a 36-inch jump reach (two inches better than his old mark.)

Still projected to go undrafted next month, Bourne vowed that “If I get to a camp, I’m going to make the most of it.”

Bourne was joined by former EWU receivers Cooper Kupp and Shaq Hill, quarterback Jordan West, defensive end Samson Ebukam and linebacker Miquiyah Zamora.

They were cheered by a crowd of 200 coaches, friends and former teammates. There’s no proof that the friendly crowd offset the gusty winds and temperatures in the low 40s, but Ebukam didn’t mind.

“I’m just hoping for the best,” said Ebukam, a pass-rushing specialist in college who’s trying to make the transition to outside linebacker.

Ebukam raised a few eyebrows – and his prospects – with a 4.45 in the 40 that beat not only Bourne but also Kupp, the four-time All-American who’s expected to go anywhere from the second to fourth round on April 27-29.

Asked about his prospects, Kupp shrugged.

“It is what it is, and it’s hyped up,” said Kupp, while pointing out that it’s not in a team’s interest to say who it might be targeting in the draft.

“I might have an idea of where that might be, but I might be completely wrong,” Kupp said. “But it’s fun to strive for something – from now on to the rest of my life, it’s how good of a football player can I be.”

Kupp also eased a few doubts with a 4.56 in the 40 (he ran a disappointing 4.62 in the combine) and a 6.53 seconds in the three-cone drill (compared with 6.75 at the combine).

Hill, who’s also considered a long shot for the draft, posted the day’s best sprint time: 4.41.

“I had some OK numbers, but could have done better,” said Hill. “It’s definitely a big weight off my shoulders. I think I handled it pretty well. I’ve had some injuries, but I battled through and did pretty good.”

Zamora also was hampered by a hamstring injury and didn’t participate in the speed and agility drills.

All three receivers caught passes from West, who’s hoping for free-agent consideration.

“It’s awesome to be back with guys I’ve competed with for the past five years,” said Kupp, whose home base has been in Southern California.

“Even though we’ve been apart we’ve stayed in contact. It’s different to be out here and do it together one last time. It was really special spending time with them.”


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