Ryan Shazier has the body of a cornerback, at six foot one inches tall and under two hundred pounds. However, he was recruited by Ohio State football to play as a linebacker.
While he was rising to prominence in Columbus, everyone wondered whether such a physically small player could compete with the NFL super sized athletes. Also, people doubted whether he would keep his amazing strength and agility, if tried to gain weight. Shazier himself expressed reservations about piling on "sloppy" pounds.
The scouting combine for the NFL this week put those issues to the test.
Shazier put in a display that caught the eye of league executives, and went one step closer to entering the May draft's first round. He weighed about fifteen pounds heavier than the previous season, at 237 pounds, then captured attention with his training.
Shazier didn't participate in the forty yard sprint on Monday, due to a sprained hamstring. However, he managed a vertical leap of forty two inches, which is a combine record. His triple cone agility time of 6.91 seconds, and his broad leap of ten feet, ten inches was one of the best showings from a linebacker. Moreover, his twenty-five bench press reps of 225 pounds equalled the combine offensive tackle averages for the decade.
Shazier said that he was pleased with his progress at his current weight. He has been training with Jack Mewhort (the Saint John's Jesuit graduate and former OSU left tackle) for the last six weeks, at the Bradenton based IMG academy.
Shazier opted to forgo his OSU senior season, in spite of the fact that the draft advisory body awarded him a second round mark.
However, Shazier conforms to the profile of a fitness freak, who might see his standing increase at the combine. Many pundits have drawn favorable comparisons with Lavonte David from Tampa Bay, who is another successful outside linebacker, previously regarded as not big enough for the NFL. Last year, during his second season playing for the Buccaneers, David was an all pro first team player.
2014 NFL Combine: LB 40 Times - Shazier Mack Barr Borland