NFL scouts flock to see Wesley’s Gono

 

Wesley College football player Matt Gono runs the 40-yard dash for a group of about 20 NFL scouts on Friday at the Kent County Sports Complex.
(Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

DOVER — Wesley College is hardly a major stop on the NFL scouting circuit.

But pro football’s talent evaluators know about the Wolverines’ Matt Gono.

That’s why 17 NFL scouts plus a position coach came to Dover on Friday to get a closer look at the 6-foot-4, 316-pound offensive lineman.

Gono’s mix of size and athleticism have made the Division III All-American a potential draft pick in this year’s NFL Draft, which starts on April 26.

And while the Wolverines have had a few players make it into pro camps, Friday’s NFL scout turnout had to be a record.

“If we get one (scout) we’re excited,” said Wesley’s veteran offensive coordinator, Chip Knapp. “It’s exciting for the program. From the beginnings of our Wesley program, to see something like this, it’s pretty satisfying.”

“You see all those teams here — Jaguars, Bears, Lions — and I’m excited for him, I’m excited for our program,” said head coach Mike Drass. “Our whole team was out here watching everything. That’s a lot of fun.”

A small crowd of people watched Gono and former Wolverines James Okike and Jamar Baynard tested by the NFL scouts.

Wesley College football player Matt Gono broad jumps for the NFL scouts on hand Friday at the Kent County Sports Complex.
(Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

Various football players, Wesley coaches and even Gono’s family were on hand to watch the three players measured in things like the bench press, 40-yard dash and vertical leap.

Even Gono’s family came out to watch the proceedings, which started on Wesley’s campus and finished at the Kent County Sports Complex field. A native of Liberia, Gono moved to the U.S. when he was about five years old.

“It was really different out here,” Gono admitted. “I’ve never had all my family here watching me do a workout before. It was a little more pressure than usual.”

“He’s a very disciplined kid,” said Gono’s father, Jeremy. “All of the instructions that we’ve been giving him — what we infused in him — from the get-go, as a child, he is now proving us right. I’m profoundly proud of Matt.

“I’m an optimistic person. The dream is never (too) big if you have the commitment and focus to make sure the dream comes to realization. I believe that Matt is going to make it in the NFL.”

Gono put up solid testing numbers across the board. But probably his best one was the nine foot, 10-inch leap he had in the broad jump.

The session finished with Gono going through a number of line drills with Baltimore Ravens assistant offensive line coach Richard Angulo.

Gono’s agent, Jim Ulrich, said he heard lots of positive feedback from the scouts.

“I’m fortunate that I don’t really have to ‘sell’ him,” said Ulrich. “He measures at 6-4, 316 pounds and you just saw the footwork he had in that workout. Hey, he sells himself,

“But I think the thing that teams are starting to see now, especially with these workouts, is how coachable he is. That’s very important when you have a smaller-school guy who hasn’t seen the upper level of competition on a consistent basis.”

Of course, Gono won’t know what the NFL scouts really think of him until draft day. Until then, he’ll just try to take every opportunity he has to prove that he belongs at that level.

“I could tell they were definitely trying to work me out and push me — see what my conditioning is,” said Gono. “It was a real hard workout but I think I did well. I tried to treat it like just another workout — try my best and do everything I can do.

“There were nerves last night. I was excited — had a lot of adrenaline. I had a little trouble getting to sleep. But I just got out here and did my thing.”

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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