LOGAN — It wasn't that long ago that the thought of pro prospects consistently coming out of the Utah State football program was a pipe dream for Aggie fans. Under Gary Andersen that dream is starting to become a reality.
Last year, Curtis Marsh was the first player to be drafted from the state, going 90th overall. This year running back Robert Turbin and linebacker Bobby Wagner are looking to continue to build on the Aggie pro tradition starting with this weekend's NFL combine.
Wagner has been projected to be taken in the second round of the draft, but has seen his stock steadily rise during the offseason thanks to a MVP performance in the Senior Bowl. Turbin is expected to be picked sometime in the fourth round, but with a good combine could see his stock skyrocket in a crowded running back class.
"I'm very blessed and extremely honored to be invited to the combine," Wagner said. "It is a dream come true, and I'm excited to make the most of this opportunity. I'm honored to represent Utah State on this national stage and try to prove that players from small schools can shine as much as anyone else. I've been working extremely hard for this weekend and am going to give it everything I've got."
With the rise in fan interest of all things NFL, the combine has gone from a high-pressure job interview for prospective players to a full three-ring circus, complete with NFL Network around-the-clock coverage. A good showing at the combine can create a buzz that will increase a player's draft stock.
Showing up out of shape or not performing well in the drills can knock a player off a team's draft board. With that in mind, both Wagner and Turbin have been training since the season ended in Boise for the opportunity.
"I've been doing everything I can to get ready," Turbin said. I've been training at Athletes' Performance in Arizona, and they've done a great job of preparing you for every situation that you're going to face at the combine, not just on the field stuff, but media training and Wonderlic test preparation as well.
"There's training for meeting with the coaches and general managers on what to say and how to approach yourself and some of the things that they're going to ask about."
Wagner and the rest of the linebackers and defensive linemen will arrive in Indianapolis on Friday, will undergo testing and interviews on Saturday and Sunday with workouts televised on Monday by NFL Network. Turbin will join the other running backs, quarterbacks and wide receivers with interviews on Friday and Saturday and drills on Sunday. Turbin has been working hard to improve his speed and agility for testing. He declined to give a prediction of how fast he would run the all-important 40-yard dash, but did say he has gotten much faster since the end of the season.
"I first got here we tested and did an evaluation," Turbin said about his progress. "This was the first day without any training or anything here; the season and the bowl game had just ended not too long before, and here I am running the 40 a few days later. I ran a 4.65 then and I can tell you that my time is much, much faster than that now."
Invited to combine
BYU: Offensive lineman Matt Reynolds and defensive lineman Hebron "Loni" Fangupo.
Utah: Offensive linemen Tony Bergstrom and John Cullen, and defensive end Derrick Shelby.
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