Tuesday, March 13, 2012

More Than Just a Game

The drive from Albert Lee, Minnesota to South Dakota University: 3 hours. The distance between South Dakota University and Akron, Ohio: 15 hours. The chance to be in the BSN National Scouting Combine with three of your best friends: timeless.

This is the story of four South Dakota University football players who got their chance to play in front of numerous NFL, CFL, AFL, and UFL scouts. The only problem? Getting there.

Offensive tackle R.J. Polley was in Albert Lea, Minnesota preparing for the combine that took place from March 9th to the 11th on the campus of The University of Akron in Akron, Ohio. He and three teammates, Dante Warren, Marquis Butler, and Jeremy Blount, were all invited to the event.

There was just one problem, however. Butler, and Blount did not have a way to get to the combine. That is, until the offensive lineman came calling...

"He had left a couple days earlier and he asked us if we had a ride to his house. We said no. Were trying to find cars from people we know to borrow for the weekend and he [Polley] said 'Just ask me and I'll come pick you guys up,'" said wide receiver Jeremy Blount.

That is exactly what R.J. Polley did. He made the three hour drive from Albert Lee, Minnesota to pick up Butler and Blount. He then brought them all the way back to his house where they would depart shortly thereafter for the combine in Akron, Ohio.

"Well, two guys on my team were at school and didn't have a ride so I went back and got them," said R.J. Polley. When asked about what it is like to be featured in the combine, he answered simply with "It's a dream come true."

The fourth part of the fantastic four from South Dakota was quarterback Dante Warren. Warren was training at his own facility and was able to make it out to the combine on his own. Blount and Butler did not have the benefit of their own training facility, but, they had the next best thing.

"The brilliant iPhone. He kept sending us videos and showing us how to run the drills because we were basically working out by ourselves. He was just giving us tips," said Blount.

"They know what they're doing. I was trying to give them tips to speed up their times and help them out," said Dante Warren.

"It's a big advantage to have. Me and Jeremy were working out by ourselves so just the little things that his trainers told him that he told us gives us the advantage to do better," said Butler.

The drive and iPhone messaging certainly paid off for the fantastic four from South Dakota University. Jeremy Blount ran the fastest 40 yard dash of the combine with a time of 4.25 seconds.

Marquis Butler had one off the longest broad jumps of the weekend with a measure of 10' 7 1/2".

R.J. Polley put up and impressive 21 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press, but did not participate in the showcase game due to an illness.

Dante Warren was one of the most impressive players at the combine. He showed exceptional ability in the showcase game.

The story of these four South Dakota University football players is one of family, sportsmanship, and brotherhood. This just goes to show that football really is more than just a game.