Why Ziggy picked the agent he did, and more odds and ends from BYU's Pro Day
Here's my report from BYU's Pro Day, which was held Thursday on campus at the weight room and the IPF. I mentioned it in a couple of tweets yesterday, but it bears repeating: the athletic department and sports information staff did a bang-up job in putting on the event, complete with a banner proclaiming that it was Pro Day outside the IPF, and a 2013 Pro Day Guide which featured full-page, color bios of all the participating players from BYU.
A couple of scouts mentioned to me that it was the best set-up for a Pro Day that they had seen.
Eleven former players worked out for 32 scouts from 24 NFL teams and one Canadian Football League team. Defensive linemen Russell Tialavea and Ian Dulan were listed in the guide, but didn't participate due to injury. One other player Dixie State's Cache Morgan, son of former Cougar and West Jordan High football coach Mike Morgan also participated. He was fast, too, unofficially recording the best 40 time of the day, according to a former Cougar who was there with a stopwatch but not at the finish line like the scouts were. Performance times and measurements were hard to come by at the event, but after BYU sent out a release with some information, including: * LB Uona Kaveinga ran a time of 4.65 seconds in the 40, besting the average time of LBs in last month's NFL combine, which was 4.74. Kaveinga posted 26 reps on the bench and had a 33.5-inch vertical leap. * LB Brandon Ogletree ran a 4.62 40, also better than average. He had 24 bench-press reps and a 33-inch vertical. * The fastest Cougars in the 40 were DBs Preston Hadley (4.53), Joe Sampson (4.53) and DeQuan Everett (4.57). * Everett had the best vertical leap (37.5 inches) and 25 bench-press reps. * OL Braden Hansen posted 27 bench-press reps, while DL Romney Fuga had 26. More odds and ends from Pro Day: Some folks were wondering how Ziggy Ansah came to choose Stockon, Calif.-based Frank Bauer (Sun West Sports) as his agent, so I asked him on Thursday. "I did a lot of research, and that was the best option for me," Ansah said, declining to list the number of agents he talked to or interviewed before choosing Bauer. Dan Van Woerkom, an American Fork attorney who represents Sun West and is also a licensed sports agent, also had a role in signing up Ansah. Bauer said he also represents San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews, Indianapolis Colts tight end Coby Fleener and New England Patriots offensive lineman Logan Mankins, among others. Ansah is the only BYU player the agency has signed this year, but in the past it has represented BYU's Dallas Reynolds, Vic So'oto and Hans Olsen, Bauer said. "I saw Ziggy during the season. And Dan is up here. We knew of Ziggy. We waited until the end, then sat down with the compliance department, and had a meeting, which they set up this year, for one of the first times. [Bronco Mendenhall] was there, the compliance director was there, and we just sat and talked with him, and we just stayed with him and talked with him, and before we knew it, he said, 'hey, I want to sign with you guys,'" Bauer said. "I have been in it for 31 years, and Dan has been in it for seven. "So I just guess reputation from the athletes I have represented throughout the years [convinced him] to join us." I asked Bauer why Ziggy didn't do any of the timed or measured drills, such as the 40-yard dash. "No. 1, he had a great performance in the combine, and a lot of times when an athlete does that, he doesn't have to do all the drill work. Here, he just did defensive line drills, and that's all he needs to do," Bauer said. "He ran a great 40 time at the combine, he did great drill work. Everybody was infatuated with him, impressed with him, what he did. A lot of clubs say, 'Frank, you don't have to have him do all that stuff.' When you have as great of a performance as he did at the combine, you just come out and do those [D-line drills] because we knew there would be defensive line coaches here. Really, when it comes down to it, they are just checking to see if the player is still healthy, if he is still in pretty decent shape, and more or less see how he has done since the combine. "The old adage is that if you did a great job at the combine, there is no sense going through all that," Bauer continued. "The bottom line is that it all comes down to the films. Everybody says, 'well, this guy ran a 4.4, or whatever.' The big question is: how does he play? Anybody can tell you in the National Football League that 90 percent of it is how he plays on the field. And Ziggy plays real strong on the field, and that's the reason why he just does those drills we saw today, which are D-line drills. He has done the L drill he shattered the 10-yard dash, he ran a 1.56. That's like running back speed. Did a 4.6 in the 40, weighing 274 pounds. He is 6-foot-5 and some change. He is a big athlete. He is a phenomenal athlete. How much more can you do? When it all comes down to it, it is all about the films. That's all it is. This is just cross-checking to make sure the athlete is still in great shape, that he didn't fall down the stairs and blow his knee out, or all the other stuff."Finally, I asked Bauer if reports that Ziggy will be a top-15 draft pick are accurate: "Yeah, that's a safe bet," he said. "In the NFL, you never know. It comes down to the wire because you have trades, different opinions of athletes because of what teams' high need is. We just say he is a strong candidate for the first round. But to turn around and pinpoint it, that's like you are guessing. There are very strong opinions on him. He's one of the better athletes in the country. So it comes down to: I always say the press, the blogs, all those people that write stuff, they don't draft. The general manager, the head coach, personnel director, those are the ones that draft. So you really don't know. He has great film, he had a great senior season, he had a great combine. Today he did a nice job. Really, he didn't have to do anything today that he didn't want to do. He just showed them that he was willing to do his drills."