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79-77 is your final from Provo after a furious comeback falls barely short at the end. Card get No. 9 Texas in Austin next. Tough draw.: 13 hours ago, Stanford Daily Sport
Card looked sloppy and lost at times, but this team's resiliency is really something else. Just won't go away easily.: 13 hours ago, Stanford Daily Sport
Stanford and Randle got the looks that they wanted at the end, and the shots just didn't fall. That happens, not much you can do about that.: 13 hours ago, Stanford Daily Sport
Card get the ball back down 79-77 with 4.8 to go, and Randle misses the buzzer-beater. BYU wins by that final score.: 13 hours ago, Stanford Daily Sport
Randle misses the long 3 on a clean look. Stanford will get the ball back with a chance.: 13 hours ago, Stanford Daily Sport
Travel. Stanford down 2, gets the ball back and can kill the clock.: 13 hours ago, Stanford Daily Sport
Randle with the clutch 3! We have a two-point game, 79-77 with just under a minute to go. ESPNU. Don't miss this ending.: 13 hours ago, Stanford Daily Sport
Two forced turnovers later, it's back to a 77-72 game. Stanford doing whatever it can to stick around.: 13 hours ago, Stanford Daily Sport
Stanford playing sloppy ball, BYU playing clean, foul-free ball on the other end. It's 72-59 Cougars, who have opened it up with 5 to play.: 13 hours ago, Stanford Daily Sport
Miscues and sloppy passing from Stanford cue another BYU run, and the lead is back to 9 at 68-59 with 6 minutes to go.: 13 hours ago, Stanford Daily Sport

Gaffney leads Stanford showings at NFL Combine

Just a few months ago, senior running back Tyler Gaffney was pummeling his way to earning hard-earned yards against some of the most physical defensive fronts in the Pac-12, earning a reputation as a hard-nosed, sturdy back. At the 2014 NFL Combine over the weekend, however, the two-sport star turned quite a few heads around the country when he showed an ability to be fast and mobile in addition to his established skillset as a power back.

gaff

Senior running back Tyler Gaffney (front), primarily known as a hard-nosed, sturdy back, surprised many with his showing at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis this past weekend. His 40-yard dash time of 4.49 seconds tied him for the fastest mark among Pac-12 running backs. (ROGER CHEN/The Stanford Daily)

Granted, Gaffney’s speed and mobility shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise — he was a star outfielder for the Cardinal baseball team and manned the outfield in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ minor league system in his year off from football, after all. Even so, it came as a shock to many around the nation when the San Diego native outpaced Oregon speedster De’Anthony Thomas in the 40-yard dash with his time of 4.49 — which tied him with Washington’s Bishop Sankey for the fastest mark amongst Pac-12 running backs at the combine.

In addition to showing off his speed, Gaffney highlighted his mobility and agility with fantastic showings in both the three-cone drill and the 60-yard shuttle. In the three-cone drill, which primarily tests change-of-direction ability coupled with speed, Gaffney’s time of 6.78 was second among all running backs that attended the combine, while his 11.36 in the 60-yard shuttle — testing lateral mobility — was the best among all of the running backs by a wide margin.

Although the Pittsburgh Pirates had extended an invitation to Gaffney when he left the team to return to their organization after he finished with football, Gaffney’s strong showing at the combine likely did nothing but improve his stock in the upcoming 2014 NFL Draft. It likely could help him realize a career in professional football that will provide him with multiple options moving forward.

Gaffney’s counterpart in the backfield, fullback Ryan Hewitt, attended the combine as a running back and showcased his strong movement skills with a top-10 showing in the three-cone drill and a top-20 showing in the 20-yard shuttle. As a fullback that was predominantly a blocker instead of a runner during his senior year, his agility that was emphasized in a field of standout running backs will likely work in his favor, as his size and strength coupled with his mobility constitute a strong skillset for a fullback at the next level.

Offensive tackle Cameron Fleming and unanimous All-American offensive guard David Yankey also made the trip to Indianapolis, and while they did not stand out amongst the offensive linemen in the bench press — partly due to strength and conditioning coach Shannon Turley’s lack of emphasis on pure strength — or the 40-yard dash, they still figure to be strong options for teams come the draft. In particular, Yankey has developed a reputation as one of the best pulling guards in the nation during his time at Stanford.

On the defensive side of the ball, Stanford sent free safety Ed Reynolds, defensive end Josh Mauro and linebackers Trent Murphy and Shayne Skov. Although Murphy did not stand out in the 40-yard dash or the bench presses, he excelled at the 3-cone drill and the 20-yard shuttle, again displaying the agility and mobility that he developed through Turley’s system. Those numbers, coupled with his exceptional ability as a pass rusher, likely make him an attractive early-round option for teams, along with Skov, whose intelligent and physical play has made him a cornerstone of Stanford’s powerful defense over the last several years.

Reynolds also had a strong combine, finishing in the top 10 in both the 40-yard dash (4.57) and the bench press (15) and in the top 15 in both the broad and vertical jumps. Although he figures to be a later pick in the draft, the strong fundamentals that he displayed at the combine will likely work in his favor nonetheless.

The 2014 NFL Draft is scheduled to begin on May 8, with the eight players that attended the combine and defensive end Ben Gardner looking to be included among the draftees.

Contact Do-Hyoung Park at dpark027 ‘at’ stanford.edu.

About Do-Hyoung Park

Do-Hyoung Park '16 is the head copy editor, a sports desk editor and a former Managing Editor of Sports at The Daily. He fills the "Crazy Old Uncle" role at The Daily, occasionally being allowed to throw up football stories and rant-y columns. Do-Hyoung is a junior from Saint Paul, Minnesota studying chemical engineering and computer science. To contact him, please email him at dpark027 'at' stanford.edu.
  • Candid One

    It’s likely that most of these Stanford prospects will also participate at Stanford’s 2014 Pro Day on March 28. Some of the injury holdouts–and those who didn’t get invited to the NFL Combine–will get their opportunity to showcase their abilities on that occasion.