MUNCIE, Ind. – With one final chance to prove themselves in front of the gatekeepers of their dream profession, former college athletes were guided through drills Wednesday morning at Ball State Pro Day in Muncie.
“Working out in the stadium, this day was kind of a bittersweet feeling,” said Devin Reece, a former wide receiver for the Cardinals. “Kind of an end of everything at Ball State.
“Just coming out here proving everything I can.”
“We’re just trying to keep chasing the dream,” added former UIndy offensive lineman Skylar Lacy. “We’ve been working out since the end of the season for this opportunity, so if I get the opportunity, I’m going to try to do my best.”
Pressure is not out of the ordinary for college athletes. In football, they typically play in front of thousands or tens of thousands of fans every weekend. Still, performing in front of just 10 to 15 scouts who have a great deal of say on your future is a different type of pressure.
“Kind of (reminds me) of the whole high school recruiting process,” said former Ball State kicker Morgan Hagee. “This is a slightly different setting. Maybe a little higher pressure because this is a career.”
“Now you’re talking about an opportunity to earn a paycheck for something you love to do,” said Ball State head coach Mike Neu, “so you want to perform the best you possibly can.”
Neu has unique insight into Pro Days, experiencing them in different ways: As a player, an NFL Scout, and now a college head coach.
“There’s a lot of pressure to perform,” Neu said, “but that’s part of the process. You want to see how guys handle that.”
Can you handle the pressure and perform at the highest level? Both questions these players will continue to try to answer up until, and even after, they get a shot.