CARSON, CALIF. >> At the end of yesterday’s nearly 5-hour pro day, 17 former University of Hawaii football players gathered on a makeshift bleacher.
Then each received a Western Athletic Conference championship ring from UH head coach Greg McMackin. After that, they posed for one final photo.
The big picture is: Did they do enough at pro day to earn future football rewards?
“I hope so,” said safety Mana Silva, who surprised observers with his restructured build and then with his workout numbers.
Pro day is a school-coordinated event in which a program’s draft hopefuls audition for National Football League teams in running, jumping, agility and weightlifting disciplines.
For the Warriors’ top prospects — receiver Greg Salas and running back Alex Green — it was a chance to answer questions from scouts. Both did well enough at the NFL Scouting Combine in February to rest on those performances. Their agents advised them not to risk injury by participating in the running or jumping tests. Both are expected to be selected in this month’s NFL Draft.
After watching Salas run routes yesterday afternoon, a scout declared him as having “the best hands in the draft.”
“I felt I did as much as I could possibly do,” Salas said of his training. He said he ignores online draft predictions because “nobody knows what (NFL teams) want, except for the scouts and whoever picks us.”
Green has received invitations for private workouts with the Philadelphia Eagles, Baltimore Ravens and Tennessee Titans.
For the rest, it was a chance to gain some attention.
Silva, a safety, led the Warriors in interceptions in 2010, but had not drawn as much interest. That changed yesterday, when he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.43 seconds and had a vertical jump of 40 inches.
Officials initially said Silva’s vertical was 42 inches, which would have set a UH pro-day record. But after the NFL scouts met, it was decided that Silva did not cleanly hit the 42-inch marker.
“Why did they do that?” Silva said of the revision. “Oh, well. It’s whatever.” After making the jump, Silva had joked: “I put my cape on this morning.”
He then credited his trainer, Chad Ikei, who created a diet plan and intense training program. In two months of training, Silva lowered his body fat to 6 percent.
“He always had the right mind-set,” Ikei said. “When Mana first came to train, he was writing ‘4.5’ on his water jug. He believed he could run fast, and he did.”
Offensive tackle Laupepa Letuli bench-pressed 225 pounds 42 times. But after his session, three lifts were disallowed because he did not lock his arms. After the scouts met, Letuli was credited with 35 reps. McMackin, who watched the session, said Letuli should be credited with at least 39 lifts.
Wideout Rodney Bradley had a vertical jump of 36 inches and ran the 40-yard dash in 4.48 seconds. But he was admittedly disappointed, insisting he could have run a faster time.
Safety Spencer Smith, who overcame a broken forearm last year, had a vertical jump of 391⁄2 inches.
“Hopefully, I helped myself to a tryout,” said Smith, who would consider playing in Canada. “I’ll even play rugby.”
Cornerback Jeramy Bryant suffered a pulled hamstring while running the 40, an ailment he traced to temperatures in the low 90s and inadequate hydration.