The UW Oshkosh football team had the privilege to have three of its players looked at by low-end regional National Football League scouts on the morning of March 16 on J.J. Keller Field at Titan Stadium.
Head coach Pat Cerroni sent in a list of three juniors to the NFL: offensive lineman Sam Versnik, wide receiver Zach Kasuboski and tight end Joe Sommers.
“Every year the NFL has a list of every college football player that will be a senior,” Cerroni said. “They ask for a list of any possible prospects and I sent in my suggestions.”
Cerroni said he had to be careful with the selection process for the list he gave to the scouts.
“The problem is, this workout isn’t just for anyone,” Cerroni said. “The players have to be legitimate so we show that we have the credibility.”
Once they receive the list of names, they conduct research by watching film, looking up statistics and their height and weight to determine if they want to pursue those football players more.
The scouts from these NFL teams were in Madison to look at the trio of Titans.
Cerroni said the Vikings and Cowboys aren’t necessarily the only teams that would be interested in looking at the players.
“Those certain scouts came and took down all of their numbers,” Cerroni said. “Then they are put into a database for every NFL team to take a look at.”
Versnik said he wasn’t expecting his coach to recommend them to NFL scouts and the scouts would eventually want to work them out.
“My coach texted me on Monday,” Versnik said. “He said two NFL scouts want to come see you, Joe and Kas and it took me by surprise.”
Sommers said he wasn’t totally shocked by the news because it has always been a goal of his.
“It’s a dream come true,” Sommers said. “Something you’ve been working at your whole life and you finally get a glimpse of what you can possibly do is extra motivation.”
Kasuboski said it felt like a mini combine for him and his teammates that morning as they ran the 40-yard dash, took the wonderlic IQ test and had measurements recorded.
“It was pretty neat,” Kasuboski said. “We’re at a Division-lll level, but it was pretty cool to see NFL guys take interest in us.”
Versnik said it gave them all a taste on how the actual combine would be.
“I thought it was cool,” Versnik said. “You kind of see what all went on with the Division-I guys and they were actual NFL scouts.”
Unlike the actual combine, Kasuboski said they were only given a few days’ notice that the scouts were coming, but still felt like they impressed them.
“We weren’t given much time to prepare,” Kasuboski said. “We still did pretty well for what we had to do.”
Sommers said since they were only notified a few days before, it was an overall average day from him.
“I gave them a good idea about what I can do,” Sommers said. “I have a lot of room for improvement, but it wasn’t a bad day.”
As for Versnik, he said the wonderlic test took him by surprise.
With the possibility of playing football after college, Sommers said he’s going to give it everything he has next year.
“The opportunity is there,” Sommers said. “It might be a long shot, but as long as it’s on the table, I might as well lay it all on the line.”
Versnik said the workout with the scouts isn’t going to be his main focus, but it’s still in the back of his mind.
“It’s made me want to put a little more effort in and focus more,” Versnik said.
The fact they were selected and considering how the overall performance with the scouts went, Kasuboski said it’s a big relief.
“It’s cool to see that our hard work actually pays off and people pay attention to it,” Kasuboski said. “It was even cooler when the guy said we did really well for him.”
Cerroni said it shows a lot about the program when NFL scouts show interest in the football players.
“This is the first time in my nine years here that three of our players were worth being looked at,” Cerroni said.
The scouts told the three football players not to worry about what comes after this; and Sommers said he’s still focused on the ultimate team goal.
“For now we’re working towards winning a national championship,” Sommers said. “We’re taking it one day at a time and if we do that we should have some looks.”