Many of the top college football prospects that enter the NFL Draft hope they can showcase their skills at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., and/or NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
Not invited to either event, former ISU wide receiver Darius Reynolds traveled to the inaugural Players All-Star Classic in Little Rock, Ark., on Feb. 7.
There, the 6-foot-2-inch, 206-pound Reynolds led all receivers on the South squad with four catches for 72 yards in a 24-19 loss to the North. He also forced a fumble as a member of the kickoff team, a position he was unfamiliar with but one that he said he was willing to try saying he would do “anything to be on the field.”
In addition to playing in the game down in Arkansas, Reynolds had the chance to sit down with NFL scouts and talk about his chances of playing at the next level.
"It was a pretty good experience getting to sit down and get a lot of face time with NFL scouts," Reynolds said. "It was kind of an eye-opening experience."
Since his final game in an ISU uniform against Rutgers in the Pinstripe Bowl, Reynolds — along with seven other former Cyclones — trained with the ISU football strength and conditioning Monday through Saturday every week. Aside from preparing for the agility and strength tests, route running was a primary focus of Reynolds’ during his workouts.
"I feel like getting separation and coming out of my cuts are what I've been trying to work on the most," Reynolds said.
On March 20, Reynolds was among 11 draft hopefuls going through tests and drills in front of NFL scouts and general managers in the Bergstrom Indoor Practice Facility. The day went well for Reynolds as he clocked in at 4.55 seconds in the 40-yard dash and recorded a 35 inch vertical jump among other tests. Reynolds said he was “pleased but not satisfied” with his results.
While the two highest projected ISU prospects, offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele and defensive back Leonard Johnson, have drawn a lot of attention from NFL teams, Reynolds will also have worked out with three NFL teams prior to the draft. The Cyclones’ leading receiver in 2011 with 43 catches for 695 yards and seven touchdowns, Reynolds worked out privately with the New England Patriots earlier this month and has workouts scheduled with two team different NFL teams at their facilities. Reynolds chose not to specify which teams he would be working out with.
"There's not a lot of attention on me so that doesn't put a lot of pressure on me," Reynolds said. "I'm very happy for [Osemele and Johnson], and those guys getting attention also kind of brings attention to us. So it's good for us, and it's good for them."
While it’s expected that Osemele and Johnson will be drafted, Reynolds, who will fly home to Woodbridge, Va., to watch the draft with his family, is one of the class of 2012 Cyclones that is unsure if he will be one of the 253 players selected.
"I've heard that I will be [drafted] by a number of scouts, so you can't really predict the future, but I hope I will be," Reynolds said.
Over the last month, Reynolds has spoken with former teammates Marquis Hamilton and David Sims who both went undrafted but were signed as undrafted free agents by the Minnesota Vikings and New York Giants, respectively.
"As long as I get an opportunity to try to go out to any team and show off my talent and my ability, I think I have a good chance [to make a NFL team]," Reynolds said.
The NFL Draft begins with the first round selections on April 26, continues with rounds two and three on April 27 and then the fourth through seventh rounds on April 28.