Golden Flashes receiver Sam Kirkland put up the best numbers of the day, but it was two big guys who stole the show.
With scouts from the Cleveland Browns, New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, Indianapolis Colts and Miami Dolphins in attendance at Kent State football’s Pro Day, senior defensive lineman Ishmaa’ily Kitchen and senior center Chris Anzevino garnered the most attention.
Kitchen, a 334-pounder from Youngstown (Cardinal Mooney) spent the last two months in Dallas training at a facility and his slimmed-down physique showed.
“My agent told me to go out there to get lean, eat healthy and just focus on Pro Day,” said Kitchen, who shed 15 pounds from his playing weight. “It helped because I felt I did real well.”
Kitchen did 35 reps of 225 pounds in the bench press, ran a 5.34 in the 40-yard dash and measured 31 inches in the vertical leap.
“I loved how he performed out there,” said KSU coach Darrell Hazell, who is preparing for his second season at the helm of the Flashes. “It’s the one day you have to shine and Ish put a lot of preparation into it. On Pro Day, you gotta be right on and I thought he was.”
Kirkland had the best numbers of all the players Wednesday at KSU’s Fieldhouse. The fifth-year senior was tops in the 40-yard dash (4.47), the broad jump (10.10) and vertical leap (44 inches).
Anzevino, who had been training with former Browns and All-Pro center LeCharles Bentley, also had a strong showing. He was tops in bench pressed with 36 reps, which would have ranked him second among all offensive linemen at last month’s NFL Combine. His 40-yard dash (5.1), vertical leap (31 ½) and short shuttle time (4.6) would also have ranked in the top four at the combine.
“I thought I put up some good numbers and am just very glad to have this opportunity,” Anzevino said. “I’m just trying to pursue my dreams.”
Other KSU seniors also worked out for the pro scouts. Among them were defensive lineman Lee Stalker, punter Matt Rinehart, running back Jacquise Terry and receiver C.J. Matthews.
WELCOME BACK – In addition to this past season’s seniors, two players from two seasons ago also returned to work out in safety Brian Lainhart and running back Andre Flowers.
Lainhart signed as a non-drafted free agent with the Cincinnati Bengals after his senior season but was released after the pre season. He said worked out last month for the Patriots and was asked to work out at his alma mater for the Browns.
Lainhart also said former Flashes linebacker and good buddy Cobrani Mixon had been offered a job in the CFL. He didn’t know if Mixon had accepted.
SIDELINED – Junior kicker Freddy Cortez made an appearance at the Fieldhouse to watch his former teammates work out, but needed crutches to get around after having surgery Tuesday to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee.
“They said to take my time recovering, but I want to get back in time for spring ball because I want to punt too,” he said. “So, well see.”
NEW FOOTBALL ALLIGNMENT– After five seasons (2007-11) as a member of the MAC in football only, Temple University left the conference Wednesday after negotiating a $6 million exit fee.
With Temple’s exit, Bowling Green will move back to the East Division, where it had been previously before being moved to the West to accommodate newcomer UMass. The realignment divides the league’s 13 teams into seven in the East Division (Akron, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Kent State, UMass, Miami and Ohio) and six in the West (Ball State, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Northern Illinois, Toledo and Western Michigan).