Four Football Standouts On Display At Pro Day

Patrick Gustavson, Sports Editor

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Though most of the eyeballs have been on Central Connecticut quarterback Jacob Dolegala in the leadup to the NFL draft, he was not the only Blue Devil to compete at the school’s Pro Day.

Seniors Kenneth Keen, Chris Tinkham, Courtney Rush and Tymir Hinton put their skills on display for five scouts from three NFL teams.

Lots of eyeballs were on Rush as he ran routes and caught passes during Dolegala’s throwing portion of the workout.

“It was great having Malik [Rush],” Dolegala said. “He ran super well and looked great in his routes and was just a good opportunity.”

“The individual parts, the route running, I caught the balls, I let a few go,” Rush said of his performance.

Rush also impressed in the vertical jump, with an unofficial leap of 46 inches.

“Jumping, that’s natural. I get that from my daddy,” Rush said.

Though not possessing the speed and athletic ability as Rush, Chris Tinkham, the defensive end who weighed in at 298 pounds, impressed himself with his speed and athleticism.

“I think I performed really well. Being a bigger guy, it’s hard to get those lower numbers, but I had a PR, I ran about a 4.5. The L-drill, I feel pretty good about,” Tinkham said. “Being a big guy, you’ve got to hold yourself to that standard and compete with those little guys to make sure you’re getting those times that can show my athleticism.”

Keen, also a member of the front seven, set a personal record on the day in the vertical.

The goal for the players was the same: get on the radar of an NFL team and hope to get a shot at a training camp and they said the key to that is continuing to work hard.

“Hopefully, we all get league looks,” Rush said. “Everybody here performed exceptionally well. We definitely set the bar high as far as Connecticut talent goes and we reached the bar nationally. So now, we’re working out and seeing where it takes us.”
Tinkham has even gone far enough to hire an agent.

“I’ve just got to keep working out, wait it out and see what NFL teams, maybe I’ll be able to contact them,” Tinkham said. “There’s a lot of new leagues growing around so just take whatever opportunities come to me, stay humble about it and keep working hard.”

All the players feel they have something unique to offer an NFL team.

“I’m very versatile. I can play almost all the positions on defense, and I’m a big player,” Keen said. “What I think makes me different is that I’m a good run-stopper on defense and I’m also versatile and have pretty good hips to open up and passes well.”

Rush, on the other hand, discussed his strengths as a leader.

“I lead more by example. I work hard; try to keep my mouth shut. But I always try to keep a smile on my face too. I think you get good energy, a good work ethic. You get Courtney Rush,” he said.

Tinkham feels his combination of on-field presence and work ethic makes him appealing for an NFL team.

“I think I’d be a gritty guy. I’d be doing the job they don’t want to do. I’m an athletic run-stopper. I can definitely improve on my pass-rush, but it’s not a threat either,” Tinkham said. “Any NFL team that sees me out here knows they’re going to get a tough, hardworking kid who will do whatever it takes to get to the next level. I hope somebody takes the opportunity to see me for what I am.”

While none of these Blue Devils are likely to hear their name called on the weekend of Apr. 25, they all will hope to get the opportunity to make their mark at the next level.