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Saturday, March 9, 2013
TAMU pro day notebook: Swope shines

By Sam Khan Jr.

Ryan Swope
Ryan Swope had an impressive season, and also impressed during his pro day.

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Most people might have been surprised by his 40-yard dash time at the NFL scouting combine, but Ryan Swope wasn't.

Neither was his head coach at Texas A&M, Kevin Sumlin.

After putting together impressive testing marks at the scouting combine, the 6-foot, 206-pound receiver, who broke several school records while at Texas A&M, gave all 32 NFL teams an up-close-and-personal look at just how skilled and athletic he is during Texas A&M's pro day on Friday at the McFerrin Athletic Center.

The receiver, who ran a 4.34-second 40-yard dash at the combine, the second-best time of all players there, didn't test again but did positional drills, catching passes from former Texas A&M quarterback Jerrod Johnson. Swope apparently impressed in that regard as well.

"When you look at him, watching his athleticism, watching him run around when he runs routes, I thought that was impressive to see," Oakland Raiders head coach and former Texas A&M player Dennis Allen said. "You can see it on tape, his toughness and his love of the game. But getting the chance to see him in person and see his athleticism was impressive."

Swope said his goal going into the combine was to run in the low 4.3-second range.

"My goal was low 4.3s," he said. "I've had a few 4.2s hand timed, so I knew what my standards were. ... I was just trying to go out there and set the standards high."

Though he said he can't put his finger on why it was, he said it's possible even some NFL personnel underestimated his speed and athleticism.

"Yeah maybe so," Swope said. "Whether they did or didn't, it was just a chance for me to showcase my speed and I set the bar high for myself and went out there and executed."

Friday was about showing his route-running and catching ability to the scouts on hand and Swope did that well.

"His workout [Friday] probably helped him a little bit more," Sumlin said. "Most people think he's a little guy, just like I did when I got here. I didn't think he was going to be a big guy at all. He's 6-0 ,205 and he runs like that and can move and do those types of things, you put that all together and that's the kind of picture you create. And that's why the workouts are important for people to see, because television only shows so much. In person, he's a little bit bigger guy than people think."

RB Michael clears the air
Texas A&M running back Christine Michael impressed pro personnel at the NFL scouting combine last month, putting up several impressive marks. Among them: 27 repetitions in the bench press, a 43-inch vertical, a 4.03-second 20-yard shuttle and a 4.54-second 40-yard dash.

But there also was attention paid to a report that Michael overslept and missed two scheduled interviews with NFL teams. On Friday after performing in Texas A&M's pro day, Michael explained what happened.

"I went into the NFL combine extremely sick," Michael said. "I had the flu ... and in meetings with NFL teams I was losing my voice. I had real bad headaches and I didn't want to mention it to anybody. I wanted to get myself clear for Sunday for the combine.

"I was taking a lot of Nyquil, a lot of Mucinex a lot of different Tylenol and things like that to make sure I was OK for Sunday. It knocked me out and I overslept after I took a lot of that Nyquil. But I apologized for it."

Michael said he and his agent attempted to reach out to the teams to offer an apology and hopefully reschedule the interviews. Michael said even during drills at the combine, he felt "terrible."

On Friday, he didn't do any testing and focused on positional drills. Michael was a bit of an enigma his final season at Texas A&M. Though having been the starting running back as a sophomore and a junior -- both productive seasons that were cut short season-ending injuries -- he saw a decrease in playing time as a senior, which included a one-game suspension early in the season for a violation of team rules.

Michael said when NFL teams asked about his playing time as a senior, he informed them that a lot of factors were involved.

"It was a lot of things," Michael said. "The coaches, they put everybody in the position they wanted [them] to play. Coach Kevin Sumlin and his staff, it's a great staff. Those guys know what they're doing and I feel they just had the right guys in the right positions. It worked out well, we had a great season."

Does Michael have any regrets about his last season in College Station?

"Oh no, not at all," Michael said. "I was extremely glad to be a part of it. Coach Sumlin came in and turned the program around completely. Started with the workouts, the whole coaching staff, the different offense, and we had a great offense and a great season. So there's no complaints in that area."

Michael's impressive combine performance was followed with a solid showing on Friday and the running back has workouts scheduled with four NFL teams in early April: Indianapolis, Minnesota, the New York Jets and Tampa Bay.