Mar 102009
Authors: Sean Star

Following an impressive showing at last month’s NFL Scouting Combine, former CSU tight end Kory Sperry didn’t participate in any officially timed workouts at CSU’s annual Pro Day on Tuesday.

Instead it was Sperry’s former teammate, running back Gartrell Johnson, who capitalized on the opportunity.

In front of a bevy of NFL scouts at The Edge Sports Center, Johnson successfully decreased his ever-important 40-yard dash time – accomplishing his pre-workout goal. The tailback cut his combine time of 4.77 seconds down to 4.65, according to one scout on hand.

“I feel good,” Johnson said. “. It’s just something that’s not stressful, but it just continues to go through your head, on and on and on, where I just feel better now. It’s just a load off of me.”

Neither Johnson nor Sperry had much of an idea where they might be selected at next month’s NFL Draft. The two are just hoping to get their cleat in the door.

“Just any chance, all I need is one,” Sperry said. “Whoever happens to hopefully take me, then I’ll be happy.”

While Johnson may not have the impressive workout numbers that Sperry does, he did turn heads with a record-setting performance in the nationally televised New Mexico Bowl in December, something he said helped gain him recognition at the combine.

Still, Johnson said he’s not really sure which round he’ll hear his name.

“Draft Day’s like winning the lottery, kind of,” Johnson said. “You don’t know when your number’s going to be called. Hopefully I can show some teams that I can really run and that I’m a real football player.”

Along with Sperry and Johnson, quarterback Billy Farris, running backs Mike Myers and Kyle Bell, safety Mike Pagnotta, defensive end Tommie Hill and kicker Jason Smith also participated.

Bell notched an impressive 29 reps on the 225-pound bench press, and Hill said he was “pleased” overall with his showing.

For guys like Bell and Hill, who were not invited to the combine, Tuesday was their only chance to impress the scouts.

“After it’s done, you step back and you’re like ‘Whoa, this is kind of a big deal,'” Hill said. “It was nerve-racking leading up to it, like every day leading up to it you get more and more nervous. As soon as the day’s here, you just do what you’ve been trained to do.”

The NFL Draft is set for April 25 and 26.

Sports writer Sean Star can be reached at

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