Cass Couey was driving down I-95 on Thursday afternoon, heading toward Tampa, Fla., and the next stop on his road to the NFL.
After an impressive pro day performance recently at The Citadel, the former Bulldogs punter has been invited to what’s called a “local pro day,” to be held today by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“Most NFL teams have local pro days,” said Couey’s Charleston-based agent, Austin Atkinson. “It’s invitation-only, with no more than 30 players total, and a chance for the team to get up close and really poke and prod these guys.”
Couey, 6-1 and 210 pounds, earned notice during his junior and senior seasons at The Citadel, making all-Southern Conference and ranking fifth in the nation as a junior, averaging 43 yards per punt.
On the Bulldogs’ recent pro day, Couey ran the 40-yard dash in 4.8 seconds and bench-pressed 225 pounds 15 times, comparing well with the punters invited to the NFL Combine.
He also kicked well, booming balls out of the end zone over the head of a scout stationed at the 50-yard line.
Each workout, each tryout makes Couey more certain than he can follow former Citadel players Andre Roberts (Cardinals) and Cortez Allen (Steelers) into successful NFL careers.
“As we go along, I feel more confident about everything,” he said. “I’m hearing good things from everybody, every other day teams are calling me. They want to know how to reach me on draft day, where I’ll be flying out of after draft day.”
Odds are that, unlike Roberts and Allen, Couey won’t be picked during the draft, set for April 25-27. Atkinson said only two punters were drafted last year.
“Historically, about 1.5 punters are drafted every year,” said Atkinson, a 1999 Citadel graduate who also graduated from Charleston School of Law. “Maybe this year, Cass is the one. But he’s definitely looking at a camp invite, in the worst case.”
While preparing for the draft, Couey has been working at PortWatch Logistics in North Charleston, driving a forklift in order “to save a little money.”
How he performs today in Tampa could impact what direction his career takes.
“I’m not nervous, I’m excited,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity. There will be another punter there, and I like that competition. It brings out the best in me.”