ANN ARBOR — For Jordan Kovacs, his next step in football is a rebirth of sorts, but it’s not uncharted territory.
Kovacs approaches his potential future as a professional football player in the same manner he approached his first year at the University of Michigan.
“My whole mindset is, I just need to get my foot in the door,” said Kovacs, a safety who walked onto the Wolverines after being cut, then eventually became a captain of the football team. “I’ve done it once, I did it here. I put my foot in the door, and I make the most of my opportunity. That’s how I approach it.”
The Clay graduate was one of 12 Wolverines to participate in Michigan’s pro day, where personnel from 29 NFL teams gathered Thursday to evaluate Michigan’s seniors with pro football prospects.
Kovacs didn’t say how many teams he spoke with at Michigan’s pro day, which was not open the media, but according to MGoBlue.com, Kovacs ran a 4.58 in the 40-yard dash, a 6.62 in the three-cone drill, and a 4.19 in the 20-yard shuttle, along with a 35-inch vertical jump and a 10-foot, 2-inch broad jump.
“We’re training for the underwear Olympics, and this is not football,” Kovacs said, grinning. “[Strength and conditioning] coach [Aaron] Wellman and I worked a lot on power. To be honest with you, I’m not in great football shape right now. Conditioning-wise, I’m not where I need to be, but we weren’t worried about that. I was worried about running 40 yards and not dying. And I think I did that.”
Denard Robinson, meanwhile, is Michigan’s highest-profile player with pro prospects — though not at quarterback. Though Robinson told the NFL Network earlier this month that he planned to throw at Michigan’s pro day, Robinson did not throw and instead went through position drills, including running routes and catching punts.
“That’s the thing, improving from the Senior Bowl to the combine to the pro day and now to the private workouts,” said Robinson, who was Michigan’s only player at last month’s NFL Combine in Indianapolis. “Those are the things I’m trying to do right now.”
Prior to next month’s NFL draft, Robinson has been projected as a wide receiver or a kick/punt returner at the pro level, and prior to the combine ESPN analyst Mel Kiper, Jr., projected Robinson as a likely third-round pick.
“It’s unreal,” Kovacs said of Robinson’s transition. “That’s tough. He had a tough Senior Bowl, and I’ve been working out with him, but just seeing how much work he’s put in, it’s unbelievable. He’s definitely helped his stock.”
Meanwhile, Kovacs already has his spring agenda set.
“I don’t need to be spoon-fed anything,” Kovacs said. “I’ll go get it. I’ll be a hard worker. I’ll be a good guy off the field. I’ll be a leader. I hope that there’s a team that sees that. If not, I’ll have to recruit myself to that organization, like I had to here. But I’ll do whatever it takes to make it to the next level.”
NOTES: A Michigan spokesperson said defensive lineman Kenny Wilkins, tight end Nate Allspach, and safety Drew Offerdahl are no longer with the Wolverines. … Michigan coach Brady Hoke said punter Will Hagerup remains suspended for a violation of team rules entering spring practices, which begin Saturday. … Hoke said several players, including running back Fitzgerald Toussaint and cornerback Blake Countess, will be held out of contact drills, but that Whitmer graduate Chris Wormley is expected to participate fully in spring practices.
Contact Rachel Lenzi at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6510 or on Twitter @RLenziBlade.