NORMAN, Okla. — Collin Mooney wouldn't blame NFL scouts if they've forgotten about him while he's been out of football and busy training America's troops.
Mooney set Army's season record by running for 1,339 yards in 2008, but the fullback from Katy, Texas, has spent the past eight months training privates at Fort Sill to be members of howitzer cannon crews. After completing his military obligations, Mooney will be eligible for next month's NFL draft.
"Today I really just want to spark some interest," Mooney said after participating in Oklahoma's pro day Tuesday. "I've been out of the game for two years. I just want to show that I'm still in shape and I can still run and do everything. That was my main mission."
Mooney stood out at the Sooners' pro day, in part because he was wearing all black while the rest of the players were wearing Oklahoma crimson. But he also ran his best 40-yard dash time (4.6 seconds) and had the most impressive bench press performance of anyone by lifting a 225-pound weight 28 times.
"For me, it was a good day," he said. "It's actually kind of surreal that I'm actually here. I've been waiting so long."
There wasn't nearly the hoopla at the annual scouting showcase as there was last season, when the Sooners produced three of the top four picks in the NFL draft. When Gerald McCoy and Sam Bradford worked out at separate sessions, it was a draw for NFL coaches.
Not this time.
Running back DeMarco Murray, likely the top prospect present, only participated in position drills after he was pleased with his showing at the NFL combine. Defensive end Jeremy Beal and All-American safety Quinton Carter also participated on a limited basis.
"I'm just blessed to be in this position," Murray said. "I never thought I would have this opportunity to play at Oklahoma and have this opportunity to showcase my talent to scouts and then hopefully get drafted somewhere."
Brandon Caleb had the fastest times in the 40 (4.52 seconds) and three-cone drill (6.81 seconds) while fellow receiver Cameron Kenney had the best broad jump at 10 feet, nine inches. Cory Brandon lifted the bench press bar 26 times for the best of Oklahoma's four linemen participating.
Defensive tackle Adrian Taylor attended but didn't work out. He suffered a gruesome dislocation of his left ankle in the 2009 Sun Bowl and then tore his right Achilles' tendon in November.
Safety Jonathan Nelson sat out with a quadriceps injury but plans to hold his own private workout in the Dallas area on April 4, the same day scouts will be in town at SMU.
While other players are going to specialized football camps, Mooney is squeezing in time after his 9-to-5 job as a first lieutenant. His evening regimen includes lifting, speed work and ball skills.
"It's a little different than just going to college and getting to work out when you want. I'm trying to fit it in between working and doing Army stuff, so it's been hectic the last couple years, but I've made it work," he said.
Mooney thanked his commanders for working with him on his football aspirations and said he's prepared to help out in the National Guard or reserves.
"If things happen with football, then I'll pursue football and whatever the Army wants me to do while I'm playing football," Mooney said. "I'll do whatever they want me to do. I'm still in the Army."Comment on this story
Mooney's situation is somewhat different from that of linebacker Caleb Campbell, who was drafted out of West Point by the Detroit Lions in 2007. He was required to serve two years in the Army before joining the Lions this season.
Mooney said he hopes his own two-year delay hasn't knocked him too far off the NFL radar.
"I don't know if anyone's kept up with me or not," he said. "So, if they have, then that's extra good. That's great. But I'm sure I've been forgotten about."
"I just love playing football," Mooney added. "That's why I'm here. I just wanted to get another shot at it."