With hundreds of media members and NFL scouts in attendance, Manti Te’o and the rest of his graduating teammates worked out at Notre Dame’s official Pro Day Tuesday afternoon. As the passing weeks continue to separate Te’o the All-American linebacker from the tabloid sensation, the former Irish star needed to do his job and separate the rather pedestrian 40-yard dash he ran from the speed at which he played on Saturdays.
With two runs in the 4.8 range in Indianapolis, Te’o needed to make a significant improvement on the familiar turf of the Loftus sports complex at Notre Dame. And with plenty of teams watching, it appears Te’o did that — notching sprints of 4.74 and 4.69.
“It was more comfortable being out here and performing here at Notre Dame,” Te’o said to a flock of reporters. “I was very pleased with what happened.”
The workout is likely the final measureable data-point that’ll be looked at by NFL teams before the draft next month. And with Te’o going through a full inspection for 27 teams, as well as running the 60-yard shuttle and performing 21 reps on the bench press, he know hopes teams will evaluate him based on his exploits on the field.
CSN Chicago’s JJ Stankevitz had more from the former Irish All-American:
“I’m not sure how teams are going to evaluate me, but it’s about your film,” Te’o said. “They see what I could do on the football field, and obviously that’s what I’m comfortable with: find ball, hit ball, make plays. That’s what I’m going to improve on and I’m glad this is over and that all of us can focus on preparing to play football now.”
The focus is no longer on Lennay Kekua and that bizarre saga, one which led to plenty of questions last month in Indianapolis. Some teams wanted to know about it more than others, but ultimately the only concern was how well Te’o will grade out as an NFL player. That became a bigger concern when Te’o ran a slow 40-yard dash.
“Let’s focus on football. That was my message,” Te’o said of his time at the combine. “I’m a football player. I made mistakes, but nothing that affected my play on the football field.”
In other workout news, ten other Irish seniors worked out, with only tight end Tyler Eifert standing pat after his impressive combine performance, and Jamoris Slaughter and Kapron Lewis-Moore not ready after in-season injuries.
Let’s run through the list, with a few fun facts from the workouts.
Braxston Cave: While putting up 32 reps on the bench press is nothing to be ashamed of, Cave said that he’d done as many as 46 reps before he injured his shoulder.
Mike Golic: It was a pretty impressive performance for Golic. While it won’t likely help him get selected in the draft, he did put up 31 reps in the bench press. A pretty solid number for a guy that many thought wasn’t strong enough to play.
John Goodman: Goodman had sprints of 4.59 and 4.50 in the forty, living up to the reputation he had as being a sneaky fast athlete. His 34-inch vertical was also tops among Irish players working out.
Zeke Motta: The senior improved his 40-time and bench press at his workout. At a bit more than 6-foot-2 and 215-pounds, there’s still reason to believe Motta has a place in this draft.
Theo Riddick: While running a 4.66 isn’t enough to impress any team, Riddick’s versatility will likely make a team take a shot on him.
Chris Salvi: The former walk-on had a nice day, running a 4.65 in the forty and 17 reps on the bench press (besting Motta in both categories.) He measured in at a fraction over 5-foot-10, and weighed 185.
Roby Toma: Clocking a 4.50 might have been the best thing Toma did all afternoon, showing some elite speed for the 5-foot-9, 180-pound slot receiver.
Ben Turk: The yolked up punter did 26 reps of 225, besting all his teammates but the two offensive linemen.
Cierre Wood: At 4.52, Wood showed that he’s got good enough speed to break a long run, and at 218 pounds, should be able to take a beating inside the tackles.