Pro day season is upon us, as many have already begun around the country. While many small-college prospects won't have enough of a draw to hold their own pro day at their respective schools, you'll see a lot of those guys sprinkled about pro days at major programs.
However, there are a few small-college programs that have multiple prospects this draft cycle and that also have some premier guys who will help draw many scouts to their pro day. This provides a great opportunity for some of their teammates to step up and steal the spotlight, so to speak. Maybe not to that extreme, but definitely to make sure scouts know their names and go back to the tape to check out their games as well.
Here is a look around the pro day schedule this month and some of the prospects to keep an eye on, as they will more than likely show up and show out for pro scouts and evaluators.
For more draft content, check out our latest prospect rankings and mock drafts, as well as our new weekly podcast, "With the First Pick," featuring former Vikings general manager Rick Spielman. (Check out the latest episode below.)
SE Missouri State (March 10)
RB Geno Hess: 5-8, 222
Hess finished as the program's all-time leading rusher with 4,112 yards in his career, averaging a healthy six yards per carry and scoring 53 rushing touchdowns. He's proven that he could carry the load, so this day will be all about his ability as a receiver coming out of the backfield, as he only had 17 career receptions at SEMO.
WR Johnny King: 6-4, 208
Keep an eye on King at this pro day, as the NFL is always looking for big-bodied wideouts who are top-notch, above-the-rim threats inside the red zone. King has excellent leaping ability and has the Gumby-like athleticism you look for at the position, showing he can contort his body to make any catch thrown his way.
Mercer (March 15)
QB Fred Payton: 6-0, 215
Payton is coming off an excellent all-star game circuit, having performed well at both the FCS Bowl and Tropical Bowl. Speaking with a few scouts down in Orlando for the Tropical Bowl, they informed me in jest of how they were upset at The Hunt Report for exposing Payton to the masses, as he was their best kept secret at the position. He's an extremely efficient passer who is very consistent with his placement.
Northern Iowa (March 20)
OC Erik Sorensen: 6-6, 306
Sorensen's tape vs. Air Force was almost clinic tape. I was blown away at his level of consistency, athleticism and hand usage. For such a taller center, he played with great pad level, never looking out of position. I'd be interested to see how he tests, because his tape is more than enough to see him on an NFL roster come summertime.
Maine (March 21)
WR/RB/HB Zavier Scott: 6-0, 215
Scott is one of the more versatile talents in the draft class, having spent time as a wide receiver, tailback and H-Back. Maine's pro day will give scouts a much clearer picture on where he projects best as a pro. If it were up to me, he projects best as an offensive weapon, because that's how valuable he was on the field for the Black Bears.
Princeton (March 21)
WR Dylan Classi: 5-11, 190
We spoke about Classi before, as he was in the midst of putting on a show at the Tropical Bowl this past January.
With a lot of scouts traveling to Princeton to check out his teammate,, expect a lot of scouts to take note of Classi's ability as an option in the slot.
Delaware (March 22)
QB Nolan Henderson: 6-0, 195
One of the best kept secrets of the QB class is the former Blue Hens signal-caller.
I just really like how this dude Nolan Henderson plays the position— Emory Hunt (@FBallGameplan) May 8, 2021
Henderson is a dynamic athlete with a whip for an arm. Possessing the ability to throw from many different arm angles, expect his pro day to look a lot like Zach Wilson's. This would be one of the targets for me if I'm an XFL or USFL franchise. He's got the game tailor-made for the spring game, and it would give him a chance to get tape vs. pro competition.
William & Mary (March 23)
TE Lachlan Pitts: 6-5, 254
Pitts is just a bully of a player as an inline blocker. On film you consistently see him toss defenders to the side. That same level of aggressiveness he takes with him as a route-runner. To me, he's one of the more underrated tight end prospects in the draft class.
WR Caylin Newton: 5-10, 205
Newton has quietly developed into a very good special teams player and will find a home there right out of the gate. At pro day, scouts will want to see how much he's progressed as a wide receiver. I think he's a slot guy, and if his performance at the Tropical Bowl back in January is of any indication, he's trending in the right direction.
Texas Southern (March 24)
DB Raheme Fuller: 6-2, 214
Fuller's teammate, Derrick Tucker, will be the main draw here, but you will start to hear a nice buzz coming from this pro day about Fuller himself. Again, when you combine that size, technical skill and the ability to play multiple spots in the secondary, you will be a highly coveted prospect by pro scouts.
California (PA) (March 28)
QB Noah Mitchell: 6-3, 235
Mitchell was one of the first players we talked about earlier in the season for The Hunt Report, and he went on to have another stellar campaign for the Vulcans. His game reminds me a lot of Josh Freeman, getting good velocity on his passes and a confidence to work touchdown-to-check down in the passing game. If I'm the USFL and XFL, I'd be all over this pro day.
Morgan State (March 29)
RB Alfonzo Graham: 5-9, 180
I've been the color analyst for a lot of Graham's games at Morgan State, and he was always a fun player to watch.
2/4 members of the 2022 All-Emory Hunt Team had great games this past weekend in RB Alfonzo Graham & CB Jae’veyon Morton of @MorganStBears— Emory Hunt (@FBallGameplan) October 31, 2022
I think last year there were only 3 players on the list, this year we got 4 😂. #Progress pic.twitter.com/N01ZdWEDLv
And like I noted back in January at the HBCU Combine/Legacy Bowl, his workout definitely raised the eyebrows of scouts in attendance.
He's going to impress with his lateral quickness and agility, in addition to what he can do as a return specialist.
Ouachita Baptist (March 30)
RB TJ Cole: 5-10, 200
Cole ran for nearly 4,000 yards at OBU, averaging 6.9 yards per carry and scoring 49 rushing touchdowns. It's the combination of fluidity and acceleration that made him such a dominant player. With only 24 career receptions on his resume, this is a great opportunity for him to show his potential as a receiving threat moving forward.
TE Hunter Swoboda: 6-4, 254
Swoboda had a great week of work at the College Gridiron Showcase, showcasing his ability as a pass-catcher. He wasn't asked to do much of that at OBU, because he was such an excellent blocker in the run game. This will be another opportunity for him to build on the foundation laid back in January.