NFL scouts couldn’t believe it. They had arrived in Tucson for Saturday morning’s pro day on campus with preconceived ideas about most of the Arizona Wildcats prospects.
So when running back Nic Grigsby — generally considered a late-round possibility — went up, up, up for a vertical jump of 45 inches, scouts figured something must be wrong.
“They said it was bent. They said it was on a hill. They said it was the wind,” Grigsby said. “I don’t care. They said they had never seen it before.”
Scouts re-measured the bar and made Grigsby do it over again.
He jumped 43.5 inches.
Even going with that number, that was better than anybody who participated in the NFL scouting combine last month.
“You’ve got to make a statement,” Grigsby said.
And then Grigsby made scouts rub their eyes again.
He posted scorching times in the 40-yard dash, including unofficial times of 4.34 seconds for his first attempt and 4.40 seconds (with a slight stumble) in his second attempt. Grigsby said a couple of scouts had him in the 4.2 range on his first run. Another estimate was 4.31 seconds.
Whatever the fractions are, fast is fast and high is high … and Grigsby very well might have made himself some money Saturday morning.
“My trainers were hitting me up this morning, talking about 4.2 this, 4.2 that,” Grigsby said. “I was like, ‘That’s blazing.’ But 4.31 is pretty good.”
All this doesn’t quite sound like the Grigsby of the past two seasons, when he battled injuries. When healthy as a senior, he split time at tailback with Keola Antolin. Grigsby could never duplicate his sophomore season, when he rushed for 1,153 yards and 13 touchdowns.
So, what happened to Grigsby since the Alamo Bowl?
His said his first instinct was to stay in Tucson and train with Arizona strength coach Corey Edmond. Edmond, however, advised that Grigsby find a facility that could offer him more attention, which is how the running back ended up in Scottsdale, working out for about 10 weeks at ZONE Athletic Performance.
He said he checked in Saturday at 202 pounds.
Again, scouts — representing 28 teams — sensed that something must be wrong.
“When I weighed in, they were like, ‘Step back on the scale again,’ because I was a little guy when I was playing here,” Grigsby said.
This was Grigsby’s first major chance in front of the scouts; he said he was bumped from the Combine because of juniors leaving early.
A draft profile published on the Sporting News website on Friday projected Grigsby as a sixth-round pick. And that was with old information: 194 pounds, a 4.54-second 40 time.
Grigsby said he has been hearing fourth- to seventh-round projections.
“Hopefully, I go higher,” he said.
At least now he has the scouts’ full attention and their compliments.
He’ll continue his training in Tucson before April’s draft … and he’ll continue that training with a new bounce in his very-fast step.
“Now, I feel much better waiting,” he said. “I don’t have to walk around with my head down.”