Collegian: Combine results with hype

Holmes places third in broad jump among all WR’s

By Nathan McClallen
Hillsdale Collegian – Original Post
Published: Thursday, March 3, 2011

The nation’s top 300 NFL prospects gathered in Indianapolis over the weekend at the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine. Hillsdale senior Andre Holmes was among 46 wide receivers given the opportunity to showcase their abilities on the biggest stage of any professional draft.

The athletes are grouped by position — each group participates in specific workouts on particular days. The wide receivers worked out Sunday, so Holmes sprinted, caught passes and participated in drills alongside high-profile recruits such as

Alabama University’s Julio Jones and Georgia University’s A.J. Green, starting at 9 a.m.

And he belonged.

Holmes recorded the third farthest broad jump of the wide receivers at 10 feet, 10 inches and finished with one of the top-10 fastest times in the three-cone drill.

In the 40-yard dash, Holmes ran a 4.52, placing him in the middle of the pack. The 40-yard dash has been one of the most recognized tests of the combine in recent years, and although top-end speed doesn’t always transfer into pads and a helmet, Holmes said he was a little disappointed in his performance.

“I wanted a low 4.4,” he said. “The field felt a little slow, I think a lot of guys ran slower than their best.”

Despite this, his agent informed him that he probably improved his draft stock on the whole.

Hillsdale College head football coach Keith Otterbein drove down to watch Holmes Sunday, and he agreed.

“He certainly proved that he deserved to be there,” Otterbein said. “If anything, I think he increased his opportunities.”

Holmes is being projected anywhere from a priority free agent after the draft to a possible fourth-round selection in the draft.

Otterbein said Holmes’ biggest upside was his continued physical development.

“He certainly wasn’t that fast when we recruited him,” he said. “He’s got deceptive speed.”

Since he was invited to the combine, Holmes has been training at a facility in Tampa Bay, Fla., with other NFL hopefuls. Through this experience, Holmes has gotten accustomed to training alongside big-time Division I players. Still, it didn’t completely remove the novelty of interacting with the same guys who are up on the mock draft board every thirty minutes on ESPNEWS.

“At the combine, they just threw us all in the hospital the first day and started taking blood tests and all that stuff,” he said. “I was talking to this guy throughout the day — I just thought he was some tall quarterback, or a tight end.”

At roll call that night, Holmes realized his new acquaintance was 6-foot-6-inch Ryan Mallet of Arkansas University, the best-throwing quarterback at the combine.

Though Mallet is settled in as a top-5 pick at his position, Holmes has plans to continue moving up the board.

After all, there are still 55 days until the 2011 NFL Draft.

Holmes’ next big test will be at Michigan State University’s Pro-Day on March 16, a workout Hillsdale senior quarterback Troy Weatherhead will also be participating in.

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