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Notre Dame players impress at NFL Combine

INDIANAPOLIS – The 2020 NFL Scouting Combine is now in the books after final drills wrapped up on Sunday.

Nine former Notre Dame players were invited to the event with hopes of impressing the NFL scouts.

337 of the best college athletes came together in Indianapolis for the combine, including Troy Pride Jr., one of nine former star players from Notre Dame.

Each accepted invites from the league to perform drills and attempt to prove why they should be selected in the NFL draft.

“I’m there to show my progress. When you’re a competition you put everything you have in to everything you do. 40 yard dash is what other people put a lot of stock in, but for me when I touch the field, I give it all I have,” Defensive Back Troy Pride said.

The 40 yard dash, one of the highlights of every Combine, was definitely so for Irish fans.

Pride put up one of the fastest times of the weekend at the 40 yard dash, but one of the best overall performances belongs to Wide Receiver Chase Claypool.

Claypool, who was named a top performer by the NFL Network, had a 4.42 second 40 yard and a 40 and a half inch vertical, along with a 10 foot 6 inch broad jump.

Tyler James, ND Insider Writer and Analyst, said Claypool has opened the door for teams as the draft nears in April.

“It’s tough for him because this wide receiver class is supposed to be loaded. It seems like he could go in the third round, and seems like he’s better than a third round player. But there are so many receiver teams that might be patient. If you can get chase Claypool in the third round, you would be pretty ecstatic,” James said.

Defensive Ends Khalid Kareem and Julian Okwara will have to wait to impress scouts. Both captains were injured in November last season in a game against Duke.

“I’ve been running recently and getting up to speed. I wanted to compete out in front of everybody to show them who Julian Okwara is and do Pro Day, but God has a plan and my process is slower than everybody else’s. I’m just taking it day by day,” Okwara said.

Okwara was instead out there on the bench press, in what he called ‘Reps for Rare Diseases.’

The Notre Dame Athlete did 27 reps in hopes of raising 2,000 dollars, initially planning on doing just 25 reps on the bench.

No matter how many drills these athletes experience, the scouts will never be able to measure heart.

This is something Defensive Back Alohi Gilman is all about, showing great character all weekend.

“Coming from high school, underrated guy, going to Navy my only offer out of high school, guys didn’t even think I would play there. Going to ND had to earn my stripes there as well. I know what type of player I am and what I bring to the table and when I get in to the league, I’ll be able to make a statement,” Gilman said.

“He’s a great leader. Some people maybe questioning his physical abilities. He’s not the biggest or strongest guy, but he plays with a lot of passion and that will definitely translate to whatever teams he goes to,” James said.

There are still 32 teams who want nothing more than to hoist the Lombardi Trophy.

That Super Bowl dream starts on day one of the NFL Draft, and for many of these players it starts in Indy.

For these nine who started in South Bend, a lifetime of hard work will hopefully pay off after they head to Las Vegas next.

The Notre Dame Pro Day will also take place April 1, which will be another opportunity for these players to really shine before the NFL Draft.

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