Michael Romanella, ’13, Interim News Editor
How does a Merrimack College football player get invited to the NFL combine? Its something that no one would ever think could happen. 1.4 million High School athletes play football each year; 56,000 are lucky enough to be granted the opportunity to play in college. Only 360 of players are invited to showcase their skills at the NFL combine, Senior Shawn Loiseau was one of those players. “Being in Indianapolis was a great experience. To be able to stand next to players like Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III (Projected top ten picks in this year’s upcoming NFL draft) was something I will never forget,” said Loiseau
“There were 15,000 Division II athletes who were eligible to be selected to the NFL combine, Shawn was one of only 2 Division II players that were granted the opportunity,” said Merrimack’s Head Football Coach John Perry “This is the stuff you see in Hollywood movies like ‘Rocky’ and ‘Hoosiers’,” he said.
Shawn spent four long days in Indianapolis. He arrived on Friday February 24 and did not leave until Monday. Loiseau’s first two days were comprised of countless tests and interviews with many NFL teams. He spent countless hours taking X-rays, MRI’s and blood work for NFL team doctors. The rest of the first day was spent going through orientation and interviews with coaches from various NFL teams.
The second day was spent doing more of the same. Shawn woke up at 3:30 in the morning to take a drug test and then it was off to receive physicals from all 32 NFL teams.
Day 3 marked the moment Shawn had been waiting for; the workouts were finally here. He was able to participate in just the measurement and bench press. Loiseau benched 19 reps at 225 lbs. He measured at 6’0” tall and 244 lbs. Shawn also partook in the ‘highly profiled’ Wonderlic test. The Wonderlic test is given to all 320 athletes at the combine and measures each player’s psyche (form of an IQ test).
Day 4 was the running and drills portion of the combine. Shawn was able to take the field at Lucas Oil Stadium where only three weeks prior the Super Bowl was played. Shawn completed such drills as the broad jump and the vertical jump. Loiseau lined up for what he thought would be just another test, the 40-yard dash. He started off strong but strained his hamstring towards the end of the 40 yards. Shawn finished with a 4.75 time in the 40-yard dash but was unable to finish any of the other tests and drills that were scheduled for that day. His combine had a bittersweet ending to it. “Several NFL coaches were excited about what they saw from Shawn and hope to see him perform at full strength when they come to the BC pro day at the end of the month,” Coach Perry explained.
Loiseau will get some time to heal up and rest before his Pro Day on March 21 at Boston College. Many NFL scouts will be there to see Shawn finish the running drills at full strength and also partake in some positional drills. There is also another Pro Day scheduled for March 27 at Merrimack where any scouts can come to see Loiseau workout more if they need him too. Shawn emphasized how he, “will be able to showcase what I was unable to at the combine and perform at my highest potential at the pro days this month.”
Losieau expressed he is expecting to be at full strength and running by weeks end and start preparing for March 21. The NFL Draft is dated for April 26-28.