PROVO — BYU defensive end Corbin Kaufusi made the ultimate team decision last November, costing him the opportunity to perform at his best during the team’s NFL pro day, which was held Friday morning at the team’s Indoor Practice Facility. The 6-foot-9 defensive end was in attendance, cheering on his teammates throughout, but came up just short of being able to perform the best he could in front of pro scouts.
“It’s hard because this whole time I’ve been training to do it,” Kaufusi said. “Really up until yesterday I was thinking I could do it, so it’s hard, but at the same time I know it’s the right thing to do.”
About four months ago, Kaufusi determined the right thing to do was to postpone surgery to help his team by playing against rival Utah. And although the Cougars lost a close game, Kaufusi didn’t regret the decision, preferring to be a team player above all.
Now it’s all about himself and getting ready as best he can for what he hopes will be a long and productive NFL career. He’s spent his time recovering from three postseason surgeries, the most major one being the repair on his high ankle, with his physical condition coming up just short of top form.
“I was putting up pretty good numbers, but I know I could do much better with another week or two,” Kaufusi said. “So you don’t want to put up the impression that you’re good, but you know you could be great. You don’t want to look mediocre, so that was kind of the final decision behind it.”
Kaufusi leaned a lot on older brother Bronson Kaufusi’s advice, with both ultimately deciding the best course of action was to schedule some private workouts.
“There’s some good stuff going on, so I’m excited,” Corbin Kaufusi said, “… I’m actually way ahead of schedule when It comes to rehab, but at the same time it’s still rehab.”
NFL scouts have been positive with their feedback to Corbin, liking several different aspects of his game.
“One of the main things is the high motor,” Corbin Kaufusi said. “… I think what helps for me is one; measurable and size. There’s not a lot of guys with my size out there. And two, I haven’t been playing as long as other guys, so it’s been a constant improvement.”
The other BYU player thought to have legitimate prospects of being drafted is linebacker Sione Takitaki (6-1, 238), who opted to go through a portion of the workouts, although passing on the 40-yard sprint, preferring to have his combine time of 4.63 stand.
Others participating were running backs Squally Canada (5-10, 208), Brayden El-Bakri (6-0, 245) and Matt Hadley (5-11, 205), along with receiver Dylan Collie (5-9, 180), defensive back Michael Shelton (5-8, 180) and quarterback Tanner Mangum (6-2, 208.) Kickers Rhett Almond and Andrew Mikkelsen also participated.
“It’s an amazing opportunity to go out here and showcase our talents,” Mangum said. “It’s also fun to catch up with the guys. It’s been a few months. So I feel it was a great day for all of us.”7 comments on this story
Mangum was generally happy with his performance, hoping to catch some attention as a result. Others, like Collie, came away from Friday's performance disappointed with his overall performance.
“I wanted everything to be about two-tenths faster,” Collie said. “I’d been doing those things … but sometimes on the day of, you get up early and you don’t have enough time to warm up …sometimes it doesn’t happen, and that’s OK and that’s why we’re here. So now we get to work harder and try to make some things happen.”
Collie ran a 4.59 40, although feeling he's capable of running much faster.
The NFL draft takes place April 25-27 in Nashville, Tennessee.