Seniors prep for Pro Day
Football | Four seniors have been preparing for an NFL Pro Day at Franklin Field on March 28th
February 29, 2012, 11:13 pm · Updated March 1, 2012, 2:02 am·
Katie Rubin | DP
While many of the Penn football seniors hung up their cleats at the conclusion of their final game, four members of the roster have continued to train in the hopes of continuing their football careers after graduation.
For the past several months, linebacker Erik Rask, tight end Luke Nawrocki, offensive lineman Greg Van Roten and defensive back Matt Hamscher have been training for their Pro Day workout. Invitations to the Quakers’ Pro Day, which is set to take place on Mar. 28 at Franklin Field, have already been extended to pro football scouts.
“Depending on if the scouts are interested, they’ll come out on that Pro Day,” Rask said. “[They’ll] see you work out in person, and if they like what they see there, also based on the film they watch on you, that’s where you get a chance to play in the NFL.”
With the help of Penn’s strength and conditioning coaches, the Quakers have been preparing to endure the same tests that are featured in the NFL combine — including the 40-yard dash, vertical jump, 20-yard dash and 225-pound bench press.
“We’ve just been working on our form and technique and I’m just lifting weights more based on speed and explosion workouts than gaining a ton of bulk,” Rask said.
The results of the NFL combine, which took place in Indianapolis from Feb. 22 through 28, have been motivational for the players as they continue their training.
“Personally I feel like I can definitely compete with a majority of them,” Nawrocki said of his fellow tight ends. “I guess it’s a little more motivation going in and knowing where you stand having the same goals to work towards.”
Of the four Penn players, Rask is the only one currently represented by an agent, a process that began during the football season. The two-time All-Ivy selection and Bushnell Cup finalist likened the experience to the college recruiting process in which agents attempt to build relationships and trust with the players they are looking to represent.
Ultimately, Rask enlisted the help of Wharton professor, current ESPN Sports Business analyst and former vice president of the Green Bay Packers, Andrew Brandt. It was then that Rask was introduced to his current agent, Jerrold Colton.
“I talked to Mr. Brandt and he introduced [Colton] to me when I had already been committed with another guy,” Rask said. “But I really enjoyed meeting with him and I just kind of felt like it was a good connection.”
Colton represents kicker David Akers, among a host of other current and former athletes.
Although Nawrocki has not yet signed with an agent, he’s been active in promoting himself in other ways. Nawrocki’s high-school football coach and family friends have helped to put the Syosset, N.Y. native’s name in front of pro teams. The three-time All-Ivy honorable mention also attended a regional combine at the Jets’ Atlantic Health Training practice facility last weekend, which he said “went pretty well.”
Additionally, Nawrocki has expanded his options to include Canadian football teams as well.
“Just to play professional football next year and keep doing something I love to do would be a dream come true,” Nawrocki said.
And depending on how the next several months play out, that dream could become a reality.