Prospects wow scouts at Pro Day-Coastal Carolina

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    Saturday, Mar. 28, 2009
    Prospects wow scouts at Pro Day

    Socastee graduate clocks 4.3 second 40-yard time
    By Josh Hoke - E-Mail

    CONWAY -- Three former collegians, all with ties to Horry County, stole the show Friday at Coastal Carolina's annual Pro Day.

    Former Coastal corners Marrio Norman and Whittmin Reese and former Presbyterian and Socastee receiver Terrance Butler shined in front of scouts from the Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots. The trio clocked the fastest times in the 40-yard dash and were the only players asked to participate in position drills following testing.

    Norman, still recovering from a broken ankle that cost him most of his senior season, was the highest-profile prospect to participate in Friday's event, but Reese and Butler likely thrust themselves onto the NFL's radar with their performances.

    03-27-09 Terrance Butler, a former Socastee player, runs the forty-yard dash during Coastal Carolina University's annual Pro Day. Photos by Tom Murray / None of them are likely to be taken in the draft, but they could earn free agent contracts.

    Norman, a prospect at corner and both safety positions, measured 6-foot, 199 pounds and ran 40-yard dashes of 4.64 and 4.6 seconds. Those are pedestrian times for NFL defensive backs, but Norman only recently gained clearance to begin full training and says he's only about 85 percent.

    Still lacking his signature explosion, Norman broad jumped 9-foot-3 and recorded a 31-inch vertical jump. He performed 20 bench press repetitions at 225 pounds, which would have ranked ninth among corners and seventh among safeties at this year's NFL Combine.

    "I was expecting faster, but I really can't complain," said Norman, a Greenwood native. "I've made a lot of progress, because I really only started running full speed about a month ago."

    Falcons veteran scout Bob Harrison said Norman certainly didn't hurt his cause on Friday.

    "I came down specifically to see him," Harrison said. "I thought he did well. ... He moved well today. It's a matter of how well he's recovered from that broken ankle."

    Butler, a former quarterback in Socastee's triple option offense, was the fastest player in attendance, running 40-yard dashes of 4.36 and 4.34. He vertical jumped 34.5 inches and performed 16 repetitions at 225 pounds.

    The 5-9, 184-pounder flourished as a junior, accumulating more than 1,000 receiving yards in Presbyterian's wide-open spread offense, but his numbers declined in 2008 as the Blue Hose struggled with consistency at quarterback.

    "If somebody sees a 4.3 beside anybody's name they are going to have to give them a shot," Butler said.

    "I watch Steve Smith. He's my size and I think he's one of the top three receivers in the NFL. I think size doesn't matter if you have speed, you know how to find the ball and you know how to make plays. I think I'm a playmaker just like he is."

    Butler's speed certainly made the scouts take notice.

    "He's a guy that people are going to look at to see if he plays as well as he ran," Harrison said. "You have play speed and you have time speed. We'll have to see if he plays as fast as he ran."

    That likely applies to Reese, too. The 5-8, 195-pounder, who also missed part of the 2008 season with injuries, ran the fastest 40 of any former Chanticleer. He recorded times of 4.42 and 4.39, vertical jumped 36 inches and performed 15 repetitions at 225 pounds.

    However, Reese is a former track athlete, so scouts will certainly want to determine if his straight-line speed is applicable to the playing field.

    "I was working a lot on my 40, because I know you can't teach speed," Reese said. "I wanted to come out and put it down in the 40 and let everything else take care of itself."

    Contact JOSH HOKE at 843-626-0318.

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