Flash players impress at pro days

LORETTO – The St. Francis University football team hasn’t had a player in the NFL since Joe Restic suited up for the Philadelphia Eagles in 1952, but there are two players from the 2013 squad with a great chance to break down that barrier.

Running back Kyle Harbridge and safety Jake DeMedal each participated in pro day combines this spring, and each impressed the scouts in attendance. Harbridge ran a 4.42 40-yard dash while bench-pressing 225 pounds 22 times. DeMedal clocked a 4.44 40-yard dash with a 38.5-inch vertical jump and 23 reps on the bench press.

Harbridge was one of two running backs at his pro day, and he was drilled on his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. He was tested on his ability to run check-down routes while also getting the opportunity to run deeper patterns out of his running back position.

DeMedal was one of about 15 players at his combine, and he made sure to take time to enjoy the experience even if it was an important step to a potential professional career.

“It was neat to be in a situation with all those other guys that are trying to achieve the same goal,” he said.

DeMedal finished his career with 301 tackles, including 72 as a senior in 2013. He was named to his second consecutive NEC First Team. He finished second on the team and eighth in the conference in tackles, and he five tackles for loss and a sack.

Harbridge finished his career as the number one running back in school history. He rushed for 4,131 yards and 36 touchdowns. Last year, he finished fifth in FCS with 1,619 yards while also scoring 16 touchdowns on his way to being named Second Team All-America. He won the Northeast Conference Offensive Player of the Week award five times and was a first-team selection.

With a teammate also going through the process, the two former Red Flash players talked often.

“We kept in touch to see how training was going for each other,” Harbridge said. “We were really excited to share this opportunity with a teammate.”

With former NFL All-Pro Chris Villarrial as the St. Francis head coach, he proved to be a valuable resource for tips when going through the process.

“He basically said to stay humble and to keep working hard,” Harbridge said. “Just control the things you can control.”

After their drills were completed, both players talked to multiple NFL teams. Harbridge met with the Kansas City Chiefs, Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Chiefs had him take a personality exam similar to the Wonderlic Test, used by NFL teams to test a player’s learning and problem-solving ability.

NFL.com’s Gil Brandt has Harbridge projected as a possible late-round selection in next month’s NFL Draft. Even if he isn’t selected in the seven-round draft, he will have the opportunity to sign as a free agent with a club.

“It would be cool to have the chance to be drafted to hear your name called,” Harbridge said. “But being a free agent would also be a good way to go.

“It’s been a great experience so far. The guys I’ve been training with, we have one common goal and that was to kill our pro days, and it went well. From here it’s just hoping for an opportunity and to keep working.”