The National Football League announced its invitations to the 2019 Combine today, including seven Stanford football players in a list of 338 total prospects. The NFL Scouting Combine, held in Indianapolis, Indiana, is an annual event for NFL scouts to evaluate and interview potential draft prospects. The Stanford players invited cover a variety of offensive and defensive positions, including wide receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside, running back Bryce Love, offensive lineman Nate Herbig, tight end Kaden Smith, linebacker Bobby Okereke, cornerback Alijah Holder and punter Jake Bailey.
Love, Arcega-Whiteside, Okereke and Bailey all leave Stanford after four years of NCAA eligibility on the farm. Holder will enter the draft as a fifth-year senior, redshirting his freshman year in 2014. Smith and Herbig have both declared for the draft in their junior years, and each will forgo his final year of NCAA eligibility.
Despite receiving an invite, it is likely that Bryce Love will not attend the event, as the former Heisman runner-up tore his ACL during the last play of his college football career in the Big Game against Cal. Despite this injury, Love completed his degree in the fall quarter, and will focus on rehabbing for the 2019 NFL season this spring. As a result, he is still likely to be drafted come April.
Notably absent from the list of invitees are senior wide receiver Trenton Irwin, senior safety Frank Buncom and fifth-year offensive linemen AT Hall, Brandon Fanaika and Jesse Burkett. The absence of Burkett comes as the most striking exclusion, as the reliable center has been a mainstay on one of the best rushing teams in the country for the last three years, and was a crucial component for the exceptional 2017 Heisman campaign of Love. These players will all still get a chance to demonstrate their abilities for professional teams later this spring, during Stanford’s pro day.
The 2019 Combine will be held from Feb. 26 to March 4. The NFL Draft is scheduled for April 25 to April 27, and will be held in Nashville, Tennessee.
Contact Bobby Pragada at bpragada ‘at’ stanford.edu.