‘Cats seniors turn page, look pro

Joe Traub

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Standing broad-jump performed by Brady May. (Joshua Wineholt / The Signpost)

Seniors on the Weber State University football team only had a short amount of time to dwell over a loss to the Maine Black Bears in the quarterfinals of the FCS Playoffs before they began to focus on the future.

On March 27, nine Wildcats took part in the annual pro day at the Marquardt Fieldhouse. Scouts from 24 NFL teams attended, ranging from the Chicago Bears and Cleveland Browns to Super Bowl champions the New England Patriots. The new Alliance of American Football league was also represented, as the Salt Lake Stallions had multiple scouts on hand.

Drills included bench press, vertical and broad jumps, a 40-yard dash along with agility and catching tests.

Weber State was led at pro day by offensive lineman Iosua Opeta, who has been regarded as an NFL Draft prospect for the last two seasons. Opeta also took part in the NFL Scouting Combine earlier in the month.

Opeta said he felt this was an opportunity to redeem himself for areas in which he underperformed at the combine.

“For me, this was just to correct on stuff that I didn’t test well at the combine,” Opeta said. “I retested the shuttle and knocked about three-tenths of a second off. I just wanted to show what I can do as an o-lineman.”

Other participants included wide receiver Darryl Denby, fullback Brady May, running back Treshawn Garrett, linebacker LeGrand Toia, cornerbacks Jeremy Maxwell and the sibling duo Parker and Jordan Preator in the secondary.

Toia said he was able to enjoy himself while not feeling extra pressure from the scouts in attendance.

“Having the coaches here watching us was enough support for me. I also looked at the NFL scouts like they were my coaches,” Toia said. “When they were telling me what to do, I just got that coach vibe from them and no intimidation.”

May felt confident about the drills he took part in but also acknowledged room for improvement.

“The bench press was my strength. I didn’t get my PR (personal best) today, so I was kind of bummed about it, but I still put up a decent number,” May said. “I felt pretty good about the vertical (jump) and knew I would do well catching the ball and doing some of the position work. I was looking forward to that more than anything.”

Even though May is uncertain of what his football future holds, he said he is trying to stay focused as he awaits an opportunity.

“After the season ended, I was feeling sorry for myself over Maine, but then it was right back to work,” May said. “There’s not a lot of down time. You have to get back and stay busy.”

With the draft approaching in less than a month, Opeta has a specific goal in mind.

“It’s unbelievable (how quick it is coming). Basically I just need to get into football shape because as soon as the draft comes around and I’m on a team, it’s straight to rookie minicamp the next week,” Opeta said. “The scouts told me to stay in shape because there are a lot of rookies that come in and just woof it.”

The Wildcats were also represented by former starting quarterback Stefan Cantwell, who led the team to the first of back-to-back Big Sky Conference championships and quarterfinal appearances in 2017. He threw passes to Denby, Garrett and May while also firing interceptions to the defensive backs.

The draft will take place from April 25-27 in Nashville. Forty Weber State players have been previously drafted, most recently cornerback Taron Johnson going to the Buffalo Bills last year.

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Denby performs the 40 yard dash. (Joshua Wineholt / The Signpost)
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Cornerback Jeremy Maxwell performs the vertical jump as part of Pro Day. (Joshua Wineholt / The Signpost)
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Maxwell leaps during the standing broad-jump. (Joshua Wineholt / The Signpost)