Mar 13, 2013, 9:00 AM EDT
Editor’s Note: Former University of Richmond quarterback John Laub (’12) is currently training for the Spiders’ Pro Day and a shot to play at the next level. Join him on his journey as he shares his thoughts and experiences alongside his coach and three training partners in a series of weekly blog posts. Laub’s latest post can be found here.
Hey CAA Football Fans, I’m back with another installment in my journey along this long road of training, which I hope will lead to me capturing that 405. In beginning this training process, I hadn’t started with a ton of opportunities as far as getting in front of scouts. In fact, initially my only opportunity was Richmond’s Pro Day on March 19. One of the main reasons for this was that I only played one year as Richmond’s starting quarterback, which was this past year where I had only played in seven games before suffering a season-ending ankle injury in the fourth quarter up at New Hampshire.
So when I started this training process, I had a lot of chips stacked against me. And I still have chips stacked against me, which made me realize that I need to grab every single opportunity available to get my face in front of scouts in hopes of someone liking what they see. As I write this, I have just completed the first of my three opportunities to showcase my talents. The event was the BSN Collegiate Showcase that took place this past weekend at the University of Akron in Akron, Ohio. The showcase is designated for smaller school players who are looking for a chance to get their names out there and to display their abilities in both a combine and position-specific setting in front of scouts from the NFL, CFL and AFL. One of the best things about this showcase is that everything is filmed – from your 40-yard dash to your vertical jump to the 7-on-7 drills – everything is filmed and made available for scouts and general managers to see. I was fortunate enough to get this opportunity, and I took full advantage of it because this could have been the situation in which someone likes what they see and helps me attain my goal of playing professionally.
As I mentioned, the BSN Collegiate Showcase is geared towards giving smaller school football players the opportunity to showcase their abilities in the Combine and football-specific realms. Alongside me, there were a few other CAA Football alums who took advantage of this opportunity. Those players were UR cornerback and former teammate Darryl Hamilton, Villanova defensive end Marlon Johnson, Old Dominion linebacker Alex Arain and safeties Devon Simmons and Carvin Powell. So the CAA was well represented and its players performed very well this past weekend. It was nice to have some guys there who I knew and was familiar with. It was also nice to have a group of guys in your corner, asking you how you did and providing encouraging words simply because of your association with the CAA. I mean, a few months ago all of us were competing against each other and here we were rooting for each other. It was really something special.
At the beginning of the showcase on Friday, we got our height, weight, hand and arm measurements and performed the 225 bench rep test. Saturday started with the full combine testing for everyone. This included the Pro Agility, L-Drill, 40-yard dash, vertical jump and standing broad jump. Saturday afternoon we did position-specific drills, participated in 1-on-1 drills and capped off the workout with 7-on-7 drills. Finally, on Sunday we had 7-on-7 drills and team periods or full 11-on-11 situations. It was a great opportunity because it encapsulated both the testing that scouts and general managers are looking at while also giving us athletes a chance to display our football skills all in one weekend.
I believe that I took full advantage and showed that my training had paid off very well. My results from the testing were – 40-yard dash: 4.66 sec; Pro Agility: 4.19 sec; L-Drill: 6.69 sec; vertical jump: 35 inches; broad jump: 9′ 9.5″; bench test: 17 reps. It was also encouraging that a few scouts clocked me at a 4.62 sec 40-yard dash. The only test that I was a little disappointed in was the 225 bench rep test because I had been hoping to get at least 18 reps, so hopefully at the Richmond Pro Day I’ll be able to put up close to 20 reps. I know the 225 bench test is not really important from a QB standpoint, but I think me wanting to put up a lot of reps is the “meathead” side of me talking. Our strength coach at Richmond, Coach Stewart, can appreciate that.
Looking at those numbers I feel very confident that I will be able to improve come our Pro Day on March 19. I also took this BSN Collegiate Showcase in a slightly different light than I think many of the other participants. Other than showing scouts what I can do and how I have the skill set and numbers to make a roster, a huge part for me was the simple fact that I got to put the shoulder pads on and buckle that chin strap again and just play football. I got another opportunity to play the game that I love and that I’ve been playing since I was six years old. I cherished that opportunity because it’s not guaranteed that I’ll ever put on pads again.
If I hadn’t gotten this opportunity at the BSN Showcase, my final time putting on a helmet would’ve been standing on the sidelines against William and Mary as we won a share of the CAA Championship, hoping and wishing for an opportunity to get in the game to help my team. I had been cleared to play, but Coach Rocco wisely decided it was in my best interest and the team’s best interest to only be used in an emergency situation given our hopes of making the playoffs and that I would assume my duties at QB once postseason play began.
This never came into fruition, though, because we weren’t selected to play in the postseason. So if not for the BSN Collegiate Showcase, standing there injured on the sidelines could have potentially been my final memory of putting on that helmet. That’s why when this opportunity arose, I went in with the mindset to prove to people that I have the athleticism and the skill set to play at the professional level. Even so, I also made sure to appreciate the fact that I got to put on my pads one more time so I could compete and make throws with huge defensive linemen breathing down my back. I appreciated every second of it because nothing is guaranteed in this field. This is a business and something that can be taken away from you abruptly, so the fact that this showcase gave me that opportunity to buckle my chin strap one more time is something that’s pretty special to me and something I’m glad I got to take part in.
This showcase gave me a chance to get my times and numbers out there to scouts and general managers in addition to getting to display my skill set – arm strength, accuracy, footwork, etc. It gave me a chance to fully appreciate the gift I’ve been given and to appreciate how lucky I am to be in the position that I’m in as well. It was also special because it gave my parents and my brother and uncle another opportunity to see me play because they know that nothing is guaranteed either. It was a chance in which I was able to take more steps in the right direction as far as realizing my goal and hopefully capturing that dream of making an NFL roster and getting that 405.
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