Leonte Carroo holds personal Pro Day at Rutgers
As scouts from 28 different NFL teams piled into the Rutgers Indoor Practicing Facility for the Rutgers football team’s Pro Day on March 9, its top draft prospect was standing on the sidelines in street clothes.
Leonte Carroo, who is projected by most mock drafts to be an early-to-mid round pick in April's NFL Draft, was a non-participant at Rutgers Pro Day as he was still healing from a re-aggravated right ankle injury that he suffered in late January at a Senior Bowl practice.
He originally sustained the injury against Indiana Oct. 17, and, after only making it through the first half against Ohio State the following week, he missed out on the following two games.
The same injury that hindered his senior season on the Banks also held the wide receiver out of the Senior Bowl, prevented him from running routes at the NFL Combine Feb. 24-27 and caused him to just be an observer at Rutgers’ Pro Day.
“Sometimes, it gets frustrating because I wish I could just bang out pro day today, but I can’t,” Carroo said on dealing with an injury during the NFL process. “It’s just something that you gotta wait and just attack the moment when it comes.”
It's been a long wait, but the Edison, New Jersey, native will finally be able to attack that moment Thursday afternoon when he holds his own workout in front of scouts at the Bubble.
With scouts from about 15 NFL teams expected to be in attendance, according to NJ Advanced Media's Dan Duggan, Carroo will run routes for the first time in the draft process since suffering his injury at the Senior Bowl.
Fullback Sam Bergen will also participate, but offensive lineman Keith Lumpkin, who said at Rutgers' Pro Day that he was probably going to run his 40-yard dash at Carroo’s Pro Day, has "decided not to participate," according to NJ.com’s Dan Duggan.
“I’m really looking forward to (my personal Pro Day),” Carroo said at Rutgers' Pro Day. “Especially being that I wasn’t able to run routes at the (NFL) Combine and, you know, really showcase my true talents all the way at the Senior Bowl and also here on Pro Day. I'm very excited about the 31st.”
While he didn’t run routes at the NFL Combine, Carroo tested well relative to the other wide receivers he competed with in Indianapolis.
His 4.50 40-yard dash time was tied for 11th fastest among the 37 wide outs that ran it. In the vertical jump, his leap of 35.5 inches finished 12th out of 30 and his 120-inch broad jump was 24th out of 40.
Although he has missed out on a few important events in the pre-draft process, Carroo's main focus has been on being healthy for when Organized Team Activities (OTAs) and rookie mini-camps roll around.
At Rutgers' Pro Day, he said he expected to be completely healthy when he runs routes at his personal Pro Day, which will be a refreshing site to scouts who haven't seen him perform at 100 percent health since the middle of October.
“Being that a lot of scouts haven’t seen me run a route yet since pretty much the Senior Bowl. I’m pretty sure they want to see me run routes healthy and be 100 percent," Carroo said. "Scouts pretty much haven’t seen me healthy since Michigan State (on Oct. 10). So they’re really excited to see what I can do."
Carroo originally trained for the draft in Florida, but said he was invited by the new football coaching staff to use the facilities at Rutgers leading up to the draft on April 28-30.
He took them up on the offer and has remained in Piscataway to train with other Scarlet Knights and alumni entering the draft, most notably quarterback Gary Nova.
Nova, who was teammates with Carroo for three years at Don Bosco Prep High School and for three more at Rutgers, will be throwing to Carroo at his workout on Thursday.
The Elmwood Park, New Jersey, native went undrafted last season on the heels of being a four-year starter under center for Rutgers.
He received interest from the New York Giants and was invited to their rookie mini-camp, but didn't receive a contract after the team decided to only hold on to three quarterbacks.
Despite not latching on with a team, the 22-year-old is going to continue to chase his dream of playing in the NFL, saying he'd "come to Pro Day the next two years if I gotta."
Carroo's workout is a great opportunity to get him exposure to scouts, Nova said. But he also emphasized that the day is all about his former No. 1 target.
After connecting for 19 touchdowns at Rutgers, and 14 more in their high school days, Thursday could be the last time the two get to perform together with the lights on.
“It’s gonna feel great," Nova said. "Who knows? (This) could be the last time we ever do it when it actually matters for something. So it’ll be cool to do it. I’m really happy that he asked me to stay. You know, he could’ve flew somebody in or something like that. It means a lot, and he’s going to do great.”
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