Jace Amaro made a good impression at the NFL combine, where his efforts in the bench press, the 20-yard shuttle and the 40-yard dash were all among the top five among tight ends.
Rather than rest on what he posted three weeks ago at Indianapolis, Amaro was back at it Friday in Texas Tech’s pro day workouts, and generally tracked his earlier numbers.
“I felt it was real consistent,” Amaro said. “I wanted to show it wasn’t a fluke or anything like that. I still feel just as strong and just as fast as I was back then. I wanted to show I could do it again.”
With scouts from every NFL team looking on, Amaro bench pressed 225 pounds 26 times — the most of any player who lifted — and went 331/2 inches in the vertical jump.
His official 40-yard dash time — posted in chilly, morning conditions on the Jones AT&T Stadium turf — was 4.68 seconds.
At the combine, Amaro got credit for 28 bench-press reps, vertical jumped 33 inches and was timed at 4.74 in the 40.
On Friday, he also ran routes and caught passes from former Tech quarterbacks Seth Doege and Jacob Karam.
“I was so much more relaxed,” Amaro said. “I knew what was coming. I knew what I had prepared for. I just felt a lot more comfortable when the balls came my way. It was easy for me, because I knew the plan and everything that was going to be thrown at me.”
Pro day unfolded from 8:45 a.m. to noon in the Tech weight room and outside in the stadium. There were 13 seniors off the 2013 team and six others last with the Red Raiders in 2012 who took part.
Amaro, who officially measured 6-foot-51/2 and 266 pounds, is by far the plum of the 2013 Tech seniors in scouts’ eyes. He caught 106 passes for 1,352 yards and seven touchdowns, came out with a year’s eligibility left and is projected as a high draft choice.
A San Francisco 49ers scout chatted up Amaro for several minutes after his drills were done.
“He was just telling me how I resemble (49ers tight end Vernon) Davis a lot and what he did and what he does still,” Amaro said, “so he’s excited to see if I end up falling to the 49ers.”
Others who put up some of the best numbers included outside linebacker Terrance Bullitt and cornerback Bruce Jones. Bullitt measured 6-21/2 and 226 pounds, then went 10-3 in the standing broad jump and 40 inches in the vertical jump.
“I think I surprised a lot of people when I did that,” Bullitt said. “It’s not often you see someone 6-3, 226 jump a 40-inch vertical, a linebacker.”
Bullitt was pleased to bench 225 pounds 14 times, saying it showed his oft-injured shoulder is sound. He ran the 40 in 4.68 seconds, the 20-yard shuttle in 4.03 and the three-cone drill in 6.77.
Compared to linebacker results at the NFL combine, Bullitt’s three-cone drill would rank second, his vertical jump tied for third, his 20-yard shuttle third and his broad jump tied for fourth.
“I improved my draft stock today,” he said.
Jones went a team-best 41 inches in the vertical jump and ran a 4.50 in the 40. Among cornerbacks at the combine, the best vertical jump was 411/2 inches by Nebraska’s Stanley Jean-Baptiste.
The 5-7, 183-pound Jones and his former junior-college teammate Sadale Foster, who measured 5-6 and 188, benched 225 pounds 17 and 19 times, respectively.
Jones used his leaping ability, the thick build that made him a solid tackler and a fearless streak to overcome his height limitations.
On that count, Jones had inspiration right in front of him Friday. Three-time All-Pro cornerback Aaron Glenn, now scouting for the Jets, conducted a portion of the on-field drills. Glenn played 15 years in the NFL at 5-9 — two inches taller than Jones — and 183, identical in weight.
“He said I looked real fluid in defensive back drills,” Jones said. “He’s one of the all-time greats. I looked up to him a a kid. Now seeing him standing right there, me and him almost eye to eye, that gives me a lot of hope.”
Amaro and defensive tackle Kerry Hyder were the only Tech players invited to the combine. Hyder worked out again Friday and slightly improved in three areas: He went from 291/2 to 30 inches in the vertical, from 9-0 to 9-1 in the standing broad jump and from 5.1 to 5.0 in the 40.
“It’s all pluses on my side,” he said, “so I feel like I had a good day.”
Hyder showed up at the Tech Football Training Facility 10 pounds slimmer than he did to Indianapolis. He measured 6-2 and 290 at the combine, but weighed in at 280 on Friday, by design.
“I’m capable of playing from 280 to 300,” Hyder said. “I just wanted to show them a different look. I was 290 at the combine, so I’ll show them 280 this week.”