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Jeff Kolpack, Published January 21 2014

East-West Shrine game gives ex-Bison Marcus Williams time to meet with NFL teams

FARGO – The first post-college employment interview for Marcus Williams was a week-long job fair called the East-West Shrine game. His assessment: There were six or seven corporations known as NFL teams that seemed to have the most interest in him.

The former North Dakota State cornerback is back in Arizona this week preparing for the next move. The reports of him being invited to the NFL Combine in February in Indianapolis is still not 100 percent confirmed, although he’s been told the next wave of invitations may have his name on it.

He had no passes thrown his way in the Shrine Game, which his West team lost 23-13. The final score was of little value for the most part.

It was the week of practice leading up to the game where Williams said he felt at home with his future.

“I got the sense from six or seven teams that sat me down and told me I’m on their board,” he said. “They talk to you and see who you are and if you could fit into their system.”

The East quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo from Eastern Illinois was the game’s MVP. None of his eight completions in 14 attempts came against Williams, whose statistical line consisted of one tackle.

“Nothing my way, which was fine,” he said. “It was just good to compete and see how you match up with the players from the bigger schools. I know I can play with those guys now. Even some of those guys from Division II played just as well.”

Williams is working out at Performance Enhancement Professionals in Scottsdale, Ariz. Former Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow was working out earlier Tuesday before Williams got there.

“It’s a good deal down here how they go about things,” Williams said. “Since I’ve been here, I feel like I’ve improved.”

He improved his 40-yard dash time to 4.49 seconds, he said. He still has about a month to go to lower it further, assuming a Combine invite comes. He’s planning on returning to Fargo in March for NDSU’s annual pro day.

He admits it’s different working out without NDSU strength and conditioning coach Jim Kramer calling the shots.

“It’s time to move on,” Williams said. “I’m not taking any days for granted.”

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

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found

at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia