Utah State football: Ags looking to grab attention on Pro Day
College football • LB Jake Doughty chasing both engineering degree and NFL career
Published: March 31, 2014 06:36PM
Updated: March 31, 2014 11:26PM
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Scott Sommerdorf | Tribune file photo Utah State Aggies linebacker Jake Doughty (51) rushes in untouched on Idaho Vandals quarterback Logan Bushnell (4) in November 2012.

Logan • There are two dreams Jake Doughty has for his future, and one would think they’re at odds.

He’s finishing the semester with an engineering degree, one of the most difficult academic undergraduate majors at Utah State. On the other hand, he’s got a shot — it’s a long shot, but a shot nonetheless — at a career in the NFL.

His motto: Why choose?

The all-conference linebacker wants to earn both his degree and a chance to play pro football. It’s about as difficult as you would think: When he’s not studying, Doughty’s lifting and conditioning. Free time is mostly a forgotten luxury.

Fortunately for him, class is over by May. And training? When NFL Scouts get an eyeful of him at Utah State’s Pro Day on Tuesday, he hopes their questions about his ability to play at the next level will be mostly answered.

“You work your tail off for five years to say that you did it,” Doughty said. “It was a goal I had: I wanted to do engineering and play football. Proving that you can do it and it can be done, that’s been great.”

A whole host of former Aggies have been quietly spending months working and preparing for one of the biggest days of their athletic careers. While many pro scouts have made many of their judgments already on film, Pro Day is the chance for a prospect to raise and eyebrow and get a little extra attention.

The Aggies pushed back their date to give some players extra time to prepare. Tight end D.J. Tialavea, for example, will be able to do most of the drills after missing them at the NFL Combine a month and a half ago. Some of the higher level prospects, such as Tyler Larsen, Nevin Lawson and Maurice Alexander who performed at the Combine will have a chance to solidify positive impressions in drills and position work.

For others, this is their moment to make an impression. Senior tackle Eric Schultz has experience and versatility in his game, but he wants to show his power — an area that some scouts have concerns about. He’ll aim for more than 30 reps in the bench press, while showcasing the footwork and balance that helped him start for years at Utah State.

Having prospects such as Larsen and Lawson really helps the whole pool of 18 prospects working out on Tuesday, Schultz said.

“We’re going to get more people looking at us, because some scouts have come out to see those guys,” he said. “Now that they are here, watching our Pro Day and we perform well, maybe we’ll have more of a chance.”

Some familiar faces will be from seasons past. Kellen Bartlett and Bojay Filimoeatu are two Aggies who will return to Logan to show what they’ve done in the last year.

Filimoeatu could be one of the day’s surprises after recovering from a torn patellar tendon. He’s spent a lot of time rehabbing in Salt Lake City before training with Schultz and Travis Van Leeuwen in St. George. People back home have asked him why he isn’t in the NFL —he hopes this weekend offers some validation.

“I think the injury was a blessing in disguise, and it taught me to be patient,” he said. “Hopefully Pro Day will put some things to rest.”

kgoon@sltrib.com

Twitter: @kylegoon

Utah State Pro Day

Participants:  Maurice Alexander, Kellen Bartlett,Quinton Byrd, Joey DeMartino, Jake Doughty, Bojay Filimoeatu, Tay Glover-Wright, Tyler Larsen, Nevin Lawson, Jamie Markosian, Robert Marshall, AJ Pataiali’i, Paul Piukala, Eric Schultz, Sini Tauauve’a, D.J. Tialavea, Travis Van Leeuwen and Connor Williams.