Chris Steuber Journal
Posted: February 17, 2012
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Oklahoma Athletics | Illustration by Chris Steuber
After having season-ending ACL surgery, Ryan Broyles is back on the field and ready to show scouts he's back.
Three months removed from season-ending ACL surgery, Oklahoma wide receiver Ryan Broyles confirmed with me during a phone interview that he’s training in California and is back on the field; in his words, “doing everything, but not everything at full speed,” as he prepares for the NFL Scouting Combine, which takes place on February 22nd – 28th in Indianapolis.
The encouraging news on Broyles is that not only is he back on the field, but he ran a 40-yard dash a couple of days ago and was timed at a 4.70. That is a great sign and it shows how much progress he's made in just a few months. When asked what he ran the 40 in prior to the injury, Broyles said, “Prior to the injury, I ran a 4.4.”
The 5-foot-10, 190-pound Broyles confirmed that he’s attending the Scouting Combine next week and will take part in the bench press and team interviews. He also said that he hopes to get a Pro Day together sometime in April. He plans on running the 40 at that time to show NFL personnel that he’s ahead of schedule and is close to his original form.
"I’m going to go in there and show them my personality and let them know I’m a hard worker," Broyles said. "Nothing is going to hold me back; this injury is not going to hold me back. I’m a student of the game; I’m always trying to learn as much as I can and be as prepared as possible."
After a standout junior campaign where he caught 131 passes (2nd in the nation) for 1,622 yards (4th in the nation) and 14 touchdowns, Broyles decided to return to Oklahoma for his senior season. If he decided to declare for the 2011 NFL Draft, he would’ve likely been a Top 40 selection.
Looking back at what could’ve been, Broyles has no regrets about his decision to return to Norman, Oklahoma for his senior year and said, “God put me in this position for a reason. I didn’t feel like it was the right move for me to leave school early. I knew I had to prepare more as a player and I was able to do a lot of things outside of football: I went to Haiti, I proposed to my fiancée; I feel like I’ve grown more mentally over the past year.”
Prior to the injury he suffered against Texas A&M on November 5th, Broyles was well on his way to approaching the statistical output he posted in 2010, as he hauled in 83 receptions for 1,157 yards and 10 touchdowns in nine games. However, despite the consistency and production he displayed during his career, Broyles was recently told that he projects to be a 3rd – 5th draft pick, mainly due to his injury.
That projection didn’t sit well with Broyles, he said, “I’m a prideful guy and a competitor, and if I didn’t have this injury I would be up there with the best of them.” I agreed with Broyles on his assessment. If he finished his senior season healthy, he would be mentioned in the same breath as Oklahoma State’s Justin Blackmon, Baylor’s Kendall Wright, Notre Dame’s Michael Floyd, South Carolina’s Alshon Jeffery, Rutgers’ Mohamed Sanu and LSU’s Rueben Randle, as a potential first-round prospect.
But, as it stands, he may have to settle for being a draft steal.
During the interview, I asked Broyles a couple of times if he feels like a forgotten prospect in the draft mix right now. He didn’t like the sound of the word “forgotten” and vowed to be back and better than ever.
“Man, I hate how you say forgotten,” he said. “[Pause]… They can forget about me, but I’m going to be a stronger, faster, bigger, more prepared confident person when I get picked up by a team. The injury hasn’t changed my work ethic and it hasn’t changed who I am as a player. I’ll always play with a chip on my shoulder. People say that I’m too short, too small, too whatever. I’m going to go out there and make catches; lead by example. I’ll be ready to go for mini-camp; practice as hard as I can and hopefully fit in wherever I end up.”
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Chris Steuber has covered the NFL and NFL Draft for multiple media outlets over the last decade, and has appeared on numerous radio and television programs, including: The Colin Cowherd Show, NFL Network's Path to the Draft and Daily News Live on Comcast SportsNet (Philadelphia)... full biography