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Kieft, Mafe and Faalele stand out at Gophers Pro Day

Thirteen Gophers football players competed in a Pro Day event Wednesday, showcasing their talents to NFL scouts.
Image by Ethan Fine
Linebacker Jack Gibbens levels a hit on a Bowling Green University player during the 2021 Homecoming Game on Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021 at Huntington Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn.

Thirteen draft-eligible players from the Gophers 2021-22 roster, competed in the program’s Pro Day Wednesday, showcasing their skills and athleticism to NFL scouts.

A college program’s Pro Day is quite similar to the NFL’s Scouting Combine. The players often compete in the same drills and events, but it gives those who weren’t invited to the Combine an opportunity in front of NFL scouts, and gives those who were a second chance to improve their stock.

Ko Kieft, Sam Schlueter, Jack Gibbens, Coney Durr, Justus Harris, Micah Dew-Treadway, Nyles Pinckney, Phillip Howard and Bishop McDonald were all able to test in front of scouts for the first time in the draft process. Daniel Faalele, Blaise Andries, and Boye Mafe made their second appearance after participating in the Combine at the beginning of March. 

Defensive end Esezi Otomewo was still not able to compete, as he is still recovering from a late-season knee injury.

After all the participants complete a weigh-in, they first test their vertical jump. Mafe led the way with a remarkable jump of 41.5-inches, after weighing in at 257 pounds. Kieft at 32, Harris at 39.5 and Faalele at 29.5 -all impressive results for their size.

Next up was bench press. Micah Dew-Treadway led the way with 25 reps at 225 pounds, while Mafe, Kieft and Schlueter all completed 21 reps.

The broad jump was next, another jumping exercise that tests the player’s explosiveness. Kieft jumped an impressive 9-feet-3-inches, while Faalele recorded 7-feet-10-inches and McDonald 10-feet-3-inches.

The 40-yard hard dash times were recorded unofficially by hand. Coney Durr had an impressive time of 4.5 seconds, while Faalele ran 5.4 and Kieft 4.85.

After finishing their athletic testing, all of the prospects competed in position-specific drills on the field in front of the 30-plus NFL scouts in attendance.

The NFL Draft is still over one month away, beginning with the first round kicking off on April 28. Wednesday’s Pro Day was another opportunity for the Gophers players to showcase their talents in hopes of hearing their names called.

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