Southern Illinois holds pro day for NFL hopefuls
Southern Illinois University recently held a pro day for a group of former players looking to prove their worth for the next level in the NFL. The group was led by linebacker Chase Allen, who has drawn interest from both the Chicago Bears and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Allen led SIU in tackles for three consecutive seasons and ranks 12th overall in tackles in team history, and it was his tough play at the inside linebacker position that's been getting the eye of NFL scouts. He then ran a 4.58 40-yard-dash at Northwestern's pro day, which pushed his stock even higher for the pros. The Buccaneers even sent up linebacker coach Mark Duffner up to Illinois to get a closer look at Allen.
Allen wasn't the only Saluki to perform at the pro day. Defensive lineman T.J. Beelen, tight end Shaq Findlater, offensive lineman Reid Sealby, wide receiver Billy Reed, defensive end Deondre Barnett and quarterback Josh Straughan also worked out for the Bears.
Barnett and Straughan, in particular, had good performances at the workout. Barnett, who was moving around on a pulled hamstring, did mostly work in the weight room after running a 4.7 40-yard-dash at the Northwestern day. Straughan did a throwing workout and was slinging the ball downfield despite some less than ideal weather conditions.
The players will be vying to become the next in line of Salukis to make it to the next level, as three SIU players have been drafter to the NFL over the last several seasons.