Senior Curtis McNeal stepped into the USC Pro Day looking to cement his draft status, showcasing his skills in multiple drills that can allow versatile players to stand out.
The second-string running back, who fell to second-fiddle under Silas Redd this season, did not participate in the NFL Scouting Combine after recovering from an injury.
Wednesday’s workout gave McNeal a unique opportunity amongst the Barkley and Woods hysteria that surrounded Cromwell Field.
“I was a little nervous today,” McNeal said. “This is the biggest interview of my life thus far, which makes all the preparation pay off.”
McNeal rode into John McKay with his gray USC shirt, full of swagger, physical strength and an inner determination to separate himself in a deep running back class. Curtis McNeal started his day in the weight room looking to distinguish himself with his 5’7″ 190-pound frame.
Bench: 18 reps
40-Yard Dash: 4.62
When asked about his day, McNeal was composed as he recognized the magnitude of the event working in front of numerous NFL Teams. Superstar personalities Norv Turner, Chuck Pagano and Jacksonville coach Gus Bradley were on hand among the droves of media breaking down ever pass, catch and drill.
McNeal may have shined the most out of the backfield working with Matt Barkley in passing drills. McNeal was one of five players (Robert Woods, Travon Patterson, Dominique Byrd, and Brandom Carswell) catching passes from Barkley, racking in critical sideline passes and bullet hitch routes.
“I think the last drill I did the best because I showed I can catch the ball, I showed I can run routes,” McNeal said.
McNeal caught seven passes for 111 yards this season, including one touchdown against Arizona State. USC Pro Day gave him the chance to showcase his hands, which will be vital to his success as a scat running back moving forward.
“Especially with the new game in the NFL, running backs need to catch the ball and I showed that I am capable of playing at the next level.”
Although McNeal was not the most coveted player USC had in 2012, the exposure of playing at this historic university has given him a grand route to success.
“USC is a Football Factory it really helps my development and exposure,” he said.
The day as a whole went well for the running back prospect, who is graded out as a day-three pick.
McNeal took advantage of his first shot in front of scouts, and is ready for the intense training regiment that will continue leading up to the NFL Draft that begins on April 25th.
“I’m ready for the NFL,” McNeal said. “I showed my skills for the first time. My versatility will allow me to succeed at the next level.”