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Jeff Kolpack, Published March 21 2012

NDSU holds NFL pro day, former Bison athletes show skills for scouts at the Fargodome

FARGO – Tight end Matt Veldman saved his best season for last with the North Dakota State football team. It appears there’s more in the tank.

The 6-foot-7 Veldman turned in an eye-popping performance Wednesday at NDSU’s annual pro day at the Fargodome. Seven NFL teams were represented to get a look at former Bison players Veldman, safeties Daniel Eaves and John Pike, kicker Ryan Jastram, running back D.J. McNorton and defensive end Coulter Boyer.

Veldman showed he

hasn’t slacked off an inch since the Bison won a Division I Football Championship Subdivision title in early January.

“I’ve been training hard the last two months and it’s been a dream of mine since I was old enough to hold onto a football,” he said. “I talked to my dad and said there will be no nerves, just adrenalin.”

Veldman, who weighed in Wednesday at 256 pounds, already has a visit set with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He’s hoping for a couple more, he said.

He had the highest vertical jump at 35½ inches and ran a hand-held 40-yard dash time of 4.66 seconds. He also bench-pressed 225 pounds the most times of anybody with 17.

A Jacksonville scout was at the dome. Other teams represented were New Orleans, Seattle, Minnesota, Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh and San Francisco.

“I think he’ll get that shot that I know he deserves,” McNorton said.

Also watching was former Bison offensive tackle Paul Cornick, who is recovering from surgery to a herniated disc in his back. It cut short his performance at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.

“Things didn’t go as planned,” he said.

He said the plan is to return to Indianapolis in April to hopefully get medical clearance and work out for some teams. He said the injury first started to surface in the middle of NDSU’s season and was aggravated at the Players All-Star Classic in early February.

One player has already signed a contract. Pike is leaving next week for the German Football League. Training camp for the Stuttgart Scorpions starts March 30 and the 14-game season begins May 15.

Pike’s path to Germany started with a family member who knew a coach in the German League.

“It’s a great opportunity to see a different country,” he said. “They’re paying me to play. I didn’t think they were going to pay me.”

Although he didn’t participate in any of the drills because he’s a kicker, Jastram nonetheless got scouts to notice his leg. He kicked a 60-yarder with room to spare.


Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546.

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found

at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia