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Herd football alumni return for pro day, set sights on NFL

Quarterback+Chase+Litton+%2814%29+calls+out+a+play+during+the+Herd%E2%80%99s+game+against+ODU+October+14%2C+2017.+Litton%2C+who+declared+for+the+NFL+Draft%2C+took+part+in+the+NFL+Scouting+Combine+last+week+and+Marshall%E2%80%99s+pro+day+Wednesday.
Quarterback Chase Litton (14) calls out a play during the Herd’s game against ODU October 14, 2017. Litton, who declared for the NFL Draft, took part in the NFL Scouting Combine last week and Marshall’s pro day Wednesday.

Quarterback Chase Litton (14) calls out a play during the Herd’s game against ODU October 14, 2017. Litton, who declared for the NFL Draft, took part in the NFL Scouting Combine last week and Marshall’s pro day Wednesday.

Richard Crank

Richard Crank

Quarterback Chase Litton (14) calls out a play during the Herd’s game against ODU October 14, 2017. Litton, who declared for the NFL Draft, took part in the NFL Scouting Combine last week and Marshall’s pro day Wednesday.

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The journey to the National Football League is anything but easy. It starts long before the NFL Combine or pro-day workouts. Former Marshall University football student-athletes Rodney Allen, Davon Durant, Hyleck Foster, Sandly Jean-Felix, Chase Litton, C.J. Reavis, Kaare Vedvik and Ryan Yuracheck, along with former West Virginia University and Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Stedman Bailey, completed one last workout inside the Chris Cline Indoor Athletic facility Wednesday morning, but this was no normal routine. This one was for a chance at a future in professional football.

Yuracheck returned to Huntington to workout at Marshall’s pro-day along with six other former teammates. He said this weekend has allowed him to take a look at how far he has come from when he first stepped on campus as a freshman, and is ready for the challenge that lays ahead.

“I was talking to my dad last night and he said if I would have dreamed that five years ago as a freshman that I would have been participating in pro-day and had a chance to make a NFL roster, I would have given the world for that,” Yuracheck said. “Obviously, there’s still a long way to go from now until the end of April, a lot of workouts, but it’s amazing.”

For Yuracheck, it was also a chance to get back out on the field with his former signal caller, Litton, who made the decision to forego his senior season and enter the NFL draft. Litton worked out at the NFL Scouting Combine this past week and said the tight end stacks up to the competition at that position fairly well.

“I saw some tight ends at the combine and he’s right there with them.” Litton said. “His stature, his ability, it’s second to none. I’m proud of him and (proud) to come out and throw the ball with him one last time wearing some Marshall clothes. Hopefully we can do it somewhere else.”

Thirteen NFL teams were represented at Marshall’s pro-day, including the reigning Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles. Two Canadian Football League teams also were in attendance. Former Herd defensive lineman Davon Durant, who benched 33 reps of 225 pounds and logged a 37-inch vertical jump, sais that success from this moment on is more than a workout, its discipline.

“They tell you to sleep, you sleep,” Durant said. “They tell you to eat, you eat. You work-out and get the reps, but it’s honestly the same. Marshall had a strict training program so it’s not too big of a change, the coaching staff did a good job of getting us ready.”

Litton said even with pro-day workouts and the NFL combine in the rear-view mirror, his work has only just begun, as with any other athlete making a push for professional football, he must continue to work.

“Start prepping for workouts,” Litton said. “If a team wants to work me out here, I’ll fly up and do it here. If they want to work me out down in Tampa, I’ll do it there and then prep for visits. “Studying the playbook and meeting with coaches. Nothing changes. I’m still going to train like I’ve got the combine the next day. I’ve got to continue to try and improve.”

It’s now up to each individual athlete to remain ready for his future at the next level, a future that might just start on draft weekend.

Luke Creasy can be contacted at [email protected]

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