High School Players Test Their Skills At NFL Combine

Posted Mar 1, 2018

The NFL Combine is a once in a lifetime opportunity - that players from one Indianapolis high school get to experience every year.

Only a small percentage of college football players are invited to participate in the NFL Scouting Combine.

But players from one Indianapolis high school are invited to participate every year.

“We have Cardinal Ritter out here helping NFL Network to get all their cameras situated and all their feeds to the trucks to get them ready for showcasing the Combine,” said Colts Youth Football Commissioner Mike Prior. “It’s a dry run. It’s their test avenue and they’ve been here I believe the last five years helping out, so they know the routine and it’s a great reward for these kids.”

Not only is it a reward, Head Coach Ty Hunt uses it as an incentive.

“For these guys to get the on-field drills and experience some of the things that the college guys are prepping for in the NFL is just phenomenal,” he said.

But it’s something his players have to earn.

“We did have a couple guys who unfortunately didn’t meet our criteria today. Because when it all comes down to it, football is fun, we want it to be a part of our life, but grades are what’s going to hopefully take us to the next level.”

Jack Henninger is a sophomore quarterback for the Raiders. Thursday morning was his second time running through drills at the NFL Combine.

“It was cool doing all the drills you watch the guys do on TV every year at the Combine. It was fun to come out here and do that and I’m excited to do it again this year,” he said.

It’s also fun for them to see the players do it for real afterwards.

“It’s just like, ‘Hey, I was doing that a couple days ago.’ But those guys are doing it a little better than I am,” he laughed.

He knows the bright lights and the big stadium can be a little overwhelming for some of the younger players, so he gave them some advice.

“Just calm down. Just act like you’re in your backyard.”

Donavan Morris is a junior wide receiver and defensive back. He’s been working on his speed for the past few years and the Combine was the perfect place for him to measure himself and see how far he’s come.

“It’s a dream because I’ve been watching this since I was little,” he said. “It’s truly a blessing to be here today because I can see how I perform and compare it to the college players and see how I can get better and be on their level in a few years.”

Today, he’s one of the fastest guys on the team.

His advice for anyone running the 40-yard dash?

“Stay focused on it and don’t worry about anybody else. Just run you. Do you and run the time that you want to run. It’s a mental game.”

It’s a dream to make it to an NFL team – a dream that won’t come true for most high school players.

But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

“Devin Moore was one of our players who made it and was actually with the Colts organization – one of the fastest guys I’ve ever seen in cleats,” said Hunt. “As far as our school, he represented Cardinal Ritter in a great capacity and also the Indianapolis Colts. So, there are dreams that sometimes do come true.”

Playing in Lucas Oil Stadium and participating in NFL events are once in a lifetime opportunities - that Hunt and the Raiders get to enjoy on a regular basis. And they wouldn’t be possible without the Colts.

“I can’t compliment the Irsay family enough,” Hunt said. “Back in the 80s when they decided to come to Indianapolis, it’s been a huge improvement as far as overall football commitment to the city of Indianapolis, let alone the state of Indiana.”

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