Last Updated on March 30, 2023 5:50 pm
BOONE, N.C. —Chase Brice threw one more pass on the Kidd Brewer Stadium turf with a crowd watching closely, then started a procession of congratulatory hugs with App State team members past and present.
Pro Day on Thursday highlighted 10 departing Mountaineers and included visits from 27 NFL teams, along with representation from the CFL and Stewart-Haas Racing. For the sixth- and fifth-year college veterans, these were the last competitive drills and workouts in the High Country before the pursuit of professional football careers enters the next phase, marked by the NFL Draft in late April.
“Henry (Pearson) put it in perspective for me, like, we're all here, and this is our last time all together,” running back Camerun Peoples said. “We said, at the end of the year, we were around each other every single day more than our actual families. I love these boys and am happy to see them doing good. I prayed this morning for the most success for all of them, not just myself.”
There was quite a collection of Mountaineers gathered first in the North End Zone facility, then the Sofield Family Indoor Practice Facility and Kidd Brewer Stadium.
Peoples and edge rusher Nick Hampton (App State's highest-rated draft prospect) were back in Boone after playing in the Reese's Senior Bowl and attending the NFL Scouting Combine. Brice played in the East-West Shrine Bowl as well as the Hula Bowl, where he teamed with offensive lineman Anderson Hardy, while lineman Cooper Hodges and cornerback Steven Jones Jr. both competed in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl.
Those six were joined Thursday by fellow 2022 standouts in Pearson, linebacker Trey Cobb, running back Daetrich Harrington and cornerback Dexter Lawson Jr.
Hampton, who weighed in at 239 pounds, and Peoples focused primarily on position drills after going through comprehensive testing at the Combine in early March.
“Doing a great job at the Combine, coming here, it's just to continue to check off boxes and show scouts what they need to see,” Hampton said.
Jones led the way in the 40-yard dash Thursday with a brisk time of 4.47 seconds, and the 301-pound Hardy drew cheers with his impressive clocking of 4.96 seconds. Hardy and Pearson both knocked out 30 reps on the 225-pound bench press — the high among tight ends at this year's Combine was 23 — and Peoples waited until his on-campus pro day to lift. His 19 reps would have tied for fourth place among running backs at the Combine.
Brice showed off his arm strength, accuracy and leadership by directing an extensive outdoor throwing session with several on-the-money deep throws, including one that resulted in a smooth, over-the-shoulder catch from Pearson. Both running backs also ran routes for Brice, as did some veteran receivers on the 2023 team, and Hodges delivered a few snaps as a center after starting at tackle for the Mountaineers and playing guard in his all-star game appearance.
Jones set the standard with a vertical jump of 35 inches, or half an inch higher than Lawson, and Hardy's eye-opening measurements included a vertical jump of 31.5 inches. He officially stands 6 feet, 5.625 inches tall.
Jones had the best broad jump at 10-4, an inch farther than Lawson, who led the way in the shuttle drill (4.21 seconds) and L drill (7.02 seconds). By the end, everyone had congregated outside to watch Brice throw and meet individually with the professional staff members in attendance.
“It was a good day,” Brice said. “Boone has got a tight hug on me, and I feel really strongly about this place. It's welcomed me with open arms, and I couldn't have written a better script for my career, where I ended up and where I finished. I'm glad I got to do it on this field in front of my teammates and my parents and do it in a place that I have so many great memories.”