Citadel defensive end Erik Clanton completes his run under the watchful eyes — and stopwatches — of NFL scouts during pro day Monday.
Andre Roberts was not in attendance Monday at The Citadel's pro day for NFL scouts, but his presence was definitely felt.
The success of the ex-Bulldogs standout, who just finished his rookie season as a wide receiver with the Arizona Cardinals, was one reason scouts from 15 NFL teams turned out on a cold, rainy day to watch some of Roberts' former Citadel teammates go through their paces.
"Andre opened the door, and we're trying to go through," said defensive back Demetrius Jackson, one of three former Bulldogs to work out for pro scouts. "We want to bring more scouts to The Citadel in the future. Andre had the talent to open doors for all of us, and we want it to take off from here."
Roberts was a third-round pick of the Cardinals in the 2010 NFL draft after his record-setting career at The Citadel. If cornerback Cortez Allen, who tested well at the NFL combine last month, is drafted this year, it would mark the first time since 1969-70 that The Citadel had players drafted in consecutive years.
That's important for recruiting and for motivating current players, head coach Kevin Higgins said.
"Not many high school guys will have the chance to play at the next level," he said, "but they all are interested in that, so it's important for them to know they have that chance here. And our current players know that scouts will be around the program, and that helps motivate them during the offseason."
Jackson, Allen and defensive end Erik Clanton worked out for the scouts Monday, getting measured, weighed, timed and otherwise thoroughly inspected.
"I was a little nervous at first, but I just tried to prepare for it like it was a game," said Jackson, who played safety for the Bulldogs and came in at 5-10 3/4 and 194 pounds. "I felt like I did well. I ran my best 40 (4.53 seconds in the 40-yard dash) and caught every ball except one. I was happy with it."
Clanton (6-3, 245) played defensive end for The Citadel, but is being scouted as an outside linebacker by the pros.
Allen (6-1, 198) did not have to work out after testing well at the NFL combine, but wanted to improve his vertical jump (he jumped 37.5 inches) and run through position drills for the scouts.
"I also wanted to be here for these guys -- my teammates -- and for the school," he said. "I told the guys the same things Andre told me -- this is your chance, just get out there and make the most of it, and show everybody what you can do."
Allen said he already has had one individual workout with a team, and has four more workouts scheduled before the NFL draft, set for April 28-30.
--Former Citadel defensive lineman Terrence Reese is currently playing with the Pittsburgh Power of the Arena Football League.