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Former Texas State defensive lineman Levi Bell attempts the broad jump during the Texas Pro Day. Though selected by the USFL’s Michigan Panthers, Bell hopes to be selected in the NFL Draft.
Daily Record photo by Gerald Castillo

Bobcat players show off skills at Texas State Pro Day

Thursday, March 23, 2023

The Texas State football team hosted 12 players on THursday giving them a chance to put their skills to the test in front of NFL scouts at the 2023 Texas State Pro Day.

Defensive lineman Nico Ezidore said he was happy with his performance though he noted he will continue to finetune his abilities as Ezidore looks to compete at another Pro Day in North Texas.

“I feel like I left with a pretty good experience here,” Ezidore said. “I put up some good numbers for the most part. I weighed in at 278 which shocked me a little but I did good with my stats. I did 24 reps on bench, a 34' vertical jump and a 9 '3 broad jump. I ran a 4.9 40 which I know can do better, but I have another opportunity to improve on that next week.'

Along with Ezidore, offensive lineman Russell Baker, wide receiver Javen Banks, wide receiver Marcell Barbee, defensive lineman Levi Bell, wide receiver Rontavius “Toes” Groves, linebacker London Harris, defensive lineman Nelson Mbanasor, wide receiver Dennis Robinson, defensive back Kordell Rodgers, linebacker Sione Tupou and offensive lineman Richard West each participated in the Pro Day event, showing off their skills and techniques in various areas from bench press, vertical jump, broad jump, running a 40 and various cone drills.

In preparation for the day, Mbanasor’s main focus in training was on his agility, he said.

“There is a lot of speed training,” Mbanasor said. “The main goal out here is to run a good 40. If you run a good 40, the rest of your day is pretty much wrapped up. There is not a lot of heavy lifting but rather cardio workouts and nutrition.”

Another aspect Mbanasor said he focused on was losing weight as he dropped 20 pounds during the offseason.

“Nutrition is key because I slimmed down a lot,” Mbanasor said. “I played the season at 260 but right now I’m at 240. You are trying to be as lean as possible to pass the eye test.”

One of the biggest performers of the day was Levi Bell, who surprised many scouts with his workouts.

Bell completed 33 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press and had a 37.5 vertical jump.

Much like Mbanasor, Bell also said he was focused on being lean but had a very different path.

“My goal was to drop weight,” Bell said. “I dropped down to 254 and got really lean. But then my agent said that I needed to go back in the 260 range. So I put weight back on because all I did was track my calories and increase my protein so I was very scientific about it.”

Bell also had to overcome another obstacle leading up to Pro Day when he suffered an injury during training.

“I tore my pectoral muscle a little bit around Christmas time,” Bell said. “I was trying to prepare for the bench press and do so many preps. So, I had to rehab my injury. I was so thankful that God healed it because I was so nervous about that.”

One of the main areas for focus on Pro Day is the 40-yard dash, as many of the athletes prepped themselves for the event.

Though the 40 varies among different players, it is considered to be one of the most important events at which to perform well.

“The 40 has blown up,” Mbanasor said. “You are seeing many of these big dudes running faster than the little guys … They (the scouts) take a lot of pride in that saying that if you run a good time, you are really explosive. At my position, they look at the first 10 yards which measures your get off. If you do well in those first 10 yards, you will be alright.”

The 12 Texas State football players will now await their fate as they tune in to both the NFL Draft, XFL Draft, and the USFL Draft over the year to see if they can move on to the next level.

cmcwilliams Twitter@ColtomBMc

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