David Fluellen got a haircut before his appearance last month at the NFL combine, lowering a tight fade to nothing but skin.
“Just a new look,” he said.
PHOTO GALLERY: UT Rockets Pro Day
Decreased bulk didn’t yield added speed, as the former University of Toledo running back registered a disappointing 4.72-second 40-yard dash, which ranked 27th among 33 players at his position.
Fluellen got a chance at redemption Monday, and although he didn’t spend the two weeks since the combine transforming into Dri Archer — the Kent State back who ran a blurry 4.26 seconds last month — Fluellen did get faster. Toledo’s best bet to crack the program’s five-year slide without a draft pick, Fluellen clocked in unofficially at 4.68 seconds, trumping his previous mark.
“A few technique things I needed to clean up,” Fluellen said. “I think I did that today.”
Representatives of at least 18 NFL organizations attended Toledo’s pro day, including Indianapolis Colts running backs coach David Walker. Walker pulled Fluellen aside to chat when the day was done.
Toledo coach Matt Campbell said this will be the first year in his six seasons with the program that a draft-eligible Rocket receives a private workout with a NFL team. Fluellen will meet with five teams. The man responsible for many of Fluellen’s 3,991 collegiate rushing yards, center Zac Kerin, has four workouts planned. Kerin tweaked his hamstring Monday, precluding his participation in drills. He bench-pressed 225 pounds 30 times to start the day.
Fluellen or Kerin — or both — could be Toledo’s first draft pick since John Greco and Jalen Parmele in 2008.
“I want to get that rolling again, get Toledo back on the map and set it up for the upcoming guys,” Fluellen said.
The three-day, seven-round draft kicks off on May 8.
Other former Rockets with a chance to latch on in the NFL include receiver Bernard Reedy, defensive end/linebacker Jayrone Elliott, and perhaps quarterback Terrance Owens.
Owens, who had an up-and-down senior season, threw well Monday, tossing only one incompletion on a deep sideline route that brushed Reedy’s outstretched fingertips. Owens, who has a professional baseball contract with the San Diego Padres, will exhaust all football options before transitioning to the baseball diamond.
“Still focusing on football, but baseball is in the back of my mind in case football doesn’t go right for me,” Owens said. “Football is my main focus.”
Elliott, a teammate of Owens from their days together at Cleveland Glenville, arrived Monday up 15 pounds from the fall to 255 pounds.
Reedy said he set a goal for each drill and set personal bests across the board. He ran the 40 in 4.44 seconds and posted 16 bench reps. Unlike Fluellen and Kerin, Reedy does not have any individual workouts scheduled, “but hopefully that’s still in play,” he said. The multiple-time All-Mid-American Conference selection could also find his way into the pro game as a kick returner.
“Watching the combine, you see who you compare to at your position,” Reedy said. “To not get invited, you want to go out there and show why you belong in this group and why you belong at the next level.”