This may surprise you.
Louisiana Tech has more players participating in the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine than Michigan and Texas combined, as the Bulldogs make their presence known this week on a national stage in Indianapolis.
“It’s great to have so many players at the combine, and it’s important to continue to push our name out,” said Patrick Walsh, Associate Media Relations Director at Louisiana Tech.
“This further shows what we’ve been able to do at Louisiana Tech on the gridiron.”
The annual NFL Combine, an invitation-only event that brings together the nation’s top professional prospects, allows NFL teams to observe over 300 players as they undergo a series of physical and mental tests.
Louisiana Tech punter Ryan Allen, quarterback Colby Cameron, offensive lineman Oscar Johnson, offensive lineman Jordan Mills, and wide receiver Quinton Patton all received invitations to attend the combine.
Walsh said the number of combine participants this year is a record for Louisiana Tech.
The most anticipated prospect in the group is Patton. He hauled in 183 receptions for 2,594 yards and 24 touchdowns during his two seasons with the Bulldogs, leaving first-year Tech coach Skip Holtz to find a new target for the Bulldog offense.
“I thought he had a really solid day,” NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said Sunday following Patton’s workout. “He ran faster than people thought he would, he catches the ball very naturally … I think he’s a solid second round pick.”
Charley Casserly, who has served as general manager of the Washington Redskins and Houston Texans, also weighed in on Patton’s performance.
“The best thing he does is the ability to run after the catch and (separate) from defenders,” said Casserly, who now works as an analyst for NFL Network. “Those things don’t necessarily show up in a workout like this.”
Before playing for Louisiana Tech, Patton attended Coffeyville Community College in Coffeyville, Kan., where he garnered first team all-conference honors as a wide receiver and second team all-conference honors as a punter.
Mayock noted that, while Patton did not face Southeastern Conference-caliber defenses week in and week out during his college career, he excelled against quality competition when given the opportunity.
“He had 21 catches against Texas A&M,” Mayock said, referring to Patton’s 233 receiving yards and four touchdowns last season against the eventual Cotton Bowl champions. “(He) dominated the football game.”
When asked about the criticism regarding his lack of playing experience against higher quality opponents, Patton shrugged off the question.
“I really don’t care what people say,” he said Saturday when addressing the media. “I’m just a ballplayer.”
Patton made it clear that he has only one objective during his trip to Indianapolis.
“I’m just out to put on a show here,” Patton said. “Then it’s up to the football gods after that.”
ESPN analyst Mel Kiper, Jr. ranks Patton as the fourth-best wide receiver prospect in this year’s NFL draft. Mayock lists Patton as the fifth-best receiver in the draft.