Red Raiders shine at Big 12 Pro Day

FRISCO, Texas – Texas Tech offensive lineman Cole Spencer headlined a busy Big 12 Pro Day on Saturday as one of seven Red Raiders in the spotlight in front of all 32 NFL scouts at the Star. While Thursday was slotted for the skill players, Saturday featured offensive and defensive linemen, linebackers and specialists.

In addition to Spencer, fellow offensive linemen Rusty Staats and Dennis Wilburn, defensive linemen Myles Cole and Jaylon Hutchings, linebacker Tyrique Matthews, as well as punter Austin McNamara took center stage on Saturday.

McNamara, one of two NFL Scouting Combine invitees, in addition to Cole, who participated on Saturday, kicked off the morning session. McNamara took part in various field drills, notably booming an attempt better than 60 yards in the air as well as keying in on accuracy placing a punt inside the five-yard line. McNamara was also the only punter of the group that took part in kickoff drills.

“I punted well today,” said McNamara. “Obviously there’s some things I want to work on and improve at, but it was a great experience to be here with all these guys and all the NFL personnel. It’s good practice to get in front of them. It was a great day and great weekend and I look forward to keep building on it.”

Next up were the offensive linemen. Spencer impressed from the start, beginning his morning with a 30 1/2 inch vertical, it ranked tied for the best jump at Big 12 Pro Day, among offensive linemen, with Baylor’s Clark Barrington, and would have tied for the 18th-best jump at the NFL Combine. He continued with 31 reps on the bench, which also tied for the best mark by an o-linemen on Saturday morning, and kept the momentum going with a 9-foot, 4-inch broad jump. The broad jump was the top mark at the Big 12 Pro Day among offensive linemen and would have ranked tied for fifth at the NFL Combine. All three marks were the best among his Red Raider O-line peers.

The 40-yard dash was when heads turned. Spencer clocked a 4.89 and a 4.90 with his two 40-yard dash attempts. Not only was it the best 40-yard dash among offensive linemen at Big 12 Pro Day, with the next best time recorded on Saturday by an offensive lineman, 5.13, but it also clocked better than any 40-yard dash run by an offensive lineman at last month’s Combine in Indianapolis as Roger Rosengarten, an offensive tackle out of Washington, ran a Combine best 4.92.

“Hard work pays off,” said Spencer. “I worked for this; nobody can tell me otherwise and the proof is in the pudding and I’m just grateful and thank god for it.” Spencer added, “It was a phenomenal experience. It really gives the Combine experience for the guys who didn’t get the opportunity to go. It’s a great opportunity for us to have so many scouts and eyes on us.”

Meanwhile, Staats and Wilburn kept pace in the unit. Staats registered an impressive 29 reps on the bench press while Wilburn overcame an initial 7-foot, 1-inch broad jump with a 7-foot, 9-inch mark on his final attempt. Staats ran a 5.52 40-yard dash while Wilburn clocked a 5.40 40-yard dash.

Cole and Hutchings participated in the bench press drill, however, the duo opted out of the 40-yard dash, vertical and broad jump. Cole logged numbers at the NFL Scouting Combine while Hutchings remains working his way back from the leg injury he sustained in the Red Raiders’ final home game versus UCF on Nov. 18. However, Cole did take part in the 3-cone drill shuttle (7.73) and short shuttle (4.72).

Matthews, the sole Texas Tech representative of the linebacker group, closed out the first-ever Big 12 Pro Day. He began with a 31-inch vertical and followed with 18 reps on the bench press. He logged a 9-foot, 10-inch broad jump and 4.78 40-yard dash.

The NFL Draft takes place, April 25-27, in Detroit.


Release provided by MATT BURKHOLDER Texas Tech Athletics

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