Latimer, Houston star at Pro Day

Comments Off by   |   Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - 4:01 pm EDT

Cody Latimer is still recovering from the foot surgery that kept him from doing anything other than the bench press at the NFL Draft Combine, but the Indiana wide receiver appeared to have done enough at Wednesday’s Indiana Pro Day to solidify his third-round draft grade and perhaps build on it.

The second-team All-Big Ten pick, who opted to enter the NFL Draft after his junior year at IU, posted a 39-inch vertical leap in front of an officially reported 30 scouts from 26 NFL teams at IU’s football complex on Wednesday. The 40-yard dash time was the test the scouts were most excited to see. Official times from that have not yet been released and Indiana officials asked that unofficial times not be published, but it can be safely stated that Latimer finished in well under 4.5 seconds despite too shaky starts.

“I think I reached my goals,” Latimer said. “I was going for a 40-inch vertical, got 39. I felt like that was OK with me. I put up a good number in the 40, I’m very happy with it. I’m not showing it right now, but I’m very happy with it.” 

Latimer said the foot isn’t in good cutting shape yet, so he didn’t run routes and didn’t participate in agility drills, but he showed off speed and explosion which should help his draft stock. He didn’t bench press on Wednesday because he benched 225 pounds 23 times in the NFL Draft combine, the highest number among wide receivers.

Latimer said he has several visits scheduled to NFL teams and several others will come see him for private workouts. He mentioned the Philadelphia Eagles, but said there are also several others.

Tailback Stephen Houston had perhaps the most impressive breakout performance. Houston said he’s been working out in Bloomington with strength and conditioning coach Mark Hill and hadn’t heard much of anything from NFL teams before Wednesday, but he’s hopeful his performance will change that. He posted a 40-inch vertical leap and an 11-foot-broad jump, bench pressed 225 pounds 24 times and also appeared to run a strong 40 time.

“I dont’ want to sound cocky, but it really wasn’t surprising when I did what I did,” Houston said. “I just let go and let God take it from there and just trust in my training up until this point.”

Wide receiver Kofi Hughes and tight end Ted Bolser both had solid pro-day performances. Hughes got 24 reps on the bench, posted a vertical leap of around 36 inches and was OK but not thrilled with his 40 time.

“I think I could’ve had a better 40 time,” Hughes said. “My vert, they said my foot moved so I didn’t get the height that I wanted to on my vert. But other than that I think I did pretty well. I really just gave it my best, so I’m happy with what I got.”

Bolser’s leap of 31 inches and bench press of 19 reps may have left something to be desired, but he appeared to make that up at the 40 and in his route running.

“I think it went really well,” Bolser said. “I think I did what I was not expected to do. People expected me to run slower than I did, and I think I posted some pretty good times. I think we did that as a whole here.”

Safety Greg Heban also had his moments, posting a 36 1/2 inch vertical leap and a strong 40 time. He finished with 14 reps at 225, so scouts who were looking for brute strength might not be that thrilled, but he did show some athleticism.

“I was just trying to turn some heads,” Heban said. “Being underrated, I mean, it’s no lie that our defense hasn’t been the greatest the last couple of years. I don’t think much attention is drawn from the coaches to players on the defensive side. So the main goal was just to turn some heads today.”

Wide receiver Duwyce Wilson competed despite a hamstring injury. He posted a 35 1/2 inch vertical, but his 40 times suffered significantly.

“About a week and a half ago or two weeks ago, I was out here training and kind of pulled up on my hamstring,” Wilson said. “I took a break, just re-habbing a lot and I was trying it out again tonight and seeing how it was going, but unfortunately it didn’t hold up as well as I thought.”

While all of them were running 40s, kicker Mitch Ewald was working out for a New England Patriots scout, which seemed to go well.

“I was just trying to get height and distance on the ball,” Ewald said. “I think I did that.”

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