MOSCOW, Idaho — A half-dozen Idaho football players caught satisfaction and in the process piled up fuel to keep their dreams of playing professional football smoldering Monday during the Vandals’ Pro Day workouts.
“It went great, honestly,” All-Big Sky Conference linebacker Tre walker said. “I hit the numbers I was looking for. But I always feel I could do better.”
Walker put up 18 reps in the 225-pound bench press, had a vertical leap of 29.5 inches, a standing long jump of 9.6 feet and ran 4.7-seconds for 40 meters.
Walker was also selected to the 2022 East-West Shrine Bowl in Las Vegas. He led Idaho with 105 total tackles in his senior season, while collecting All-American honors from HERO Sports and Stats.
Edge rusher Charles Akanno seconded Walker.
“It was fun. At first, there were a little bit of nerves, but I settled in, and the love for the game came back,” Akanno said. “The linebacker drills, I see them every day. I think I was able to show the scouts what I can do.”
Akanno’s turn on the bench press was derailed at 12 repetitions when the bar collided with one of the hooks in the rack. “That was unfortunate,” he said. “I felt I still had more in me. The scouts saw it.” His short shuttle time, 4.56, three-come-shuttle, 7.42, and 40 time, 4.93 were not steller. However, he had an eye-catching vertical leap of 31.5 inches.
The Vandals hosted about 30 NFL scouts. Each of the six players posted at least one number in a drill that suggested they are worth considering as the draft and free agent signing approaches.
The most impressive performance may have been defensive end Kayode Rufai’s 29 bench press reps.
“It was a great day,” he said. “Honestly, we’ve been working so hard, and working in the dark, it’s almost a relief to make it to this day and perform.”
Tyrese Dedmon was hard on Rufai’s heels, though, for the day’s top effort. The safety was a veritable rocket and sprung 39 inches into the air in his vertical leap.
“It was a great number,” he said. “At my size, I showed I could still move around.”
Linebacker Christian Blackburn also managed a 32-inch vertical leap.
Another defensive back, Jalen Hoover, who played both safety and cornerback for the Vandals, posted the day’s top 40 time, 4.66, with the Vandals running outdoors on a wet turf surface.
Punter/Kicker Caleb Lightbourn drove the ball into the end zone against a light wind on two of three attempts, and every one of his punts was 40 yards or longer, highlighted by an impressive 58-yarder. He also launched a 46-yarder deliberately angled at the left sideline that loitered in the air 4.73 seconds.
Defensive tackle Jonah Kim shed approximately 50 pounds during his career at Idaho and finished south of 300 pounds. His Pro Day numbers were workmanlike. His 23 bench press reps were his best effort. He also posted a 25.5-inch vertical, 8-3 standing long jump and 5.27-second 40.
“Hopefully they were enough,” Kim said. “I think I showed I could still move for my size, and I still had strength.”
What he did may not get him to the NFL. If not, he still leaves football looking practically svelte, and he said of Pro Day “I had one last time with my boys, competing and having fun.”
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