Five Bulldog Players Perform For Professional Scout On-Campus

A handful of recent Ferris State University football players as well as counterparts from fellow Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) schools showcased their skills as Ferris held its National Football League (NFL) Pro Testing Day Thursday (March 13) inside the FSU Sports and Convocation Complex in Big Rapids, Mich.

Kurt Hout
Bill Bourdlais
C.J. Van Wieren
Ferris had five players take part in the NFL Pro Testing Day, including Kurt Hout (top), Bill Bourdalis (middle) and C.J. Van Wieren (bottom)
Detroit Lions College Scouting Coordinator and Advance Scout Rob Lohman put the nine draft-eligible players thru a variety of tests and drills in the two-hour event. Each player's official height and weight were measured and each was timed in several drills, including the 40-yard dash, shuttle run and three-cone drill. Lohman also recorded 10-yard and 20-yard sprint times along with having each player perform in the bench press, broad jump and vertical jump.

The field of athletes included former Bulldog defensive tackle Kurt Hout (Arvarda, Colo./West), offensive guard Bill Bourdlais (Newberry), slot receiver/returner Robert Miller (Carson, Calif.), wide receiver Nate Fricke (Covert) and quarterback/receiver C.J. Van Wieren (Holland/West Ottawa). All five players completed their FSU eligibility last fall.

In addition to the contingent of Ferris players, four players also took part from fellow conference rival schools. They included the former Northwood duo of defensive tackle Kyle Clement and offensive lineman Dan Marshall in addition to two Saginaw Valley State products in inside linebacker Derek Volmering and cornerback Mark Miller.

"This was a great opportunity for our guys to show the NFL people where they're at in the process," said FSU head coach Jeff Pierce. "It was nice to also have some guys from other parts of our conference be involved as well. It's all about seeing guys get a chance in life to make their dreams come true."

One of the biggest highlights of the morning session came in the bench press where Hout turned out 42 repetitions at 225 pounds. The performance is believed to be the top effort in the bench press by a potential NFL draftee this year. The top efforts in the event at the recent NFL Combine in Indianapolis were posted by Michigan offensive tackle Jake Long and Ohio State defensive end Vernon Gholston, who both maxed out with 37 repetitions at the same weight, according to the official NFL Combine website (http://www.nfl.com/combine).

Fricke also had a strong testing day for the Bulldogs as he recorded the top overall marks in the 40-yard dash, vertical jump and broad jump over the course of the event.

The 6-2 Hout has received plenty of attention from professional scouts heading into the April NFL Draft. In addition to being chosen as Football.com's top defensive tackle prospect from a small school, he also was forecast to be selected as the 30th pick in the sixth round by the Indianapolis Colts as part of Football Future's recent (www.footballfuture.com) Mock Selection Draft. Hout attained All-GLIAC Second Team recognition for the Bulldogs in 2007. Draftdaddy.com has Hout listed among its top 75 Small School Prospects while he's presently projected as a seventh-round pick and the 27th-best defensive tackle in the country at all levels by Walter Football (walterfootball.com). Additionally, Hout has drawn attention as the 24th-best player at his position from NFL Draft Watch (nfldraftwatch.net) and is listed ninth among Football Future's Top 50 Small School Prospects this year.

Bourdlais, too, has garnered possible draft or NFL free agent consideration. The two-time All-GLIAC First Team offensive guard is picked as Football.com's fourth overall small school prospect at his position and is ranked 42nd out of 175 potential offensive guard draftees in the country by NFL Draft Scout (nfldraftscout.com). Hout, meanwhile, is 27th of 148 possible defensive tackles under consideration, according to the site.

Hout was regarded as one of the top 15 NCAA Division II players being considered by NFL scouts entering his senior campaign, according to the 2007 D2football.com Pro Hopefuls List. The Pro Hopefuls List, which was put together by D2football.com Pro Prospects correspondant Josh Buchanan, listed the top 15 prospects overall. In addition, 35 other players were ranked behind them with Bourdlais found as the 35th-best D2 prospect coming out this year. Buchanan also posted a 53-man team roster of Division II prospective players and the list included Hout, Bourdlais and Bulldog senior safety Patrick Wells (Miamisburg, Ohio) prior to the start of last fall's gridiron campaign.

Ferris' Miller recently was assigned to the Tri-Cities Fever (Wash.) by the Arena Football League 2 office after earning All-GLIAC Second Team plaudits this past fall. Van Wieren, who's being eyed as a possible prospect at several positions due to his all-around athletic ability, claimed GLIAC Honorable Mention accolades as FSU's starting quarterback in 2007 as did Fricke from his wideout position.

The 2008 NFL Draft will be held April 26-27 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Coverage will be provided by the ESPN family of networks.

The Bulldogs posted a 6-5 overall record on the field during the 2007 campaign, which represented the program's eighth winning campaign in 13 years under Pierce and marks the 13th time in the last 19 years the Bulldogs have finished above .500 for the year. However, the record was recently changed to 7-4 overall in the GLIAC standings, reflecting Saginaw Valley State's decision to forfeit four games this campaign. FSU placed tied for fourth in the conference as the school's final league record was 6-4 following the earned forfeit.

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