Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Tom Santi shines at UVA Pro Day

By Jay Jenkins

March 19, 2008

The other former Cavaliers that took part in the drills, which included the bench press, jumping drills and the 40-yard dash, were thankful that Long was in attendance.

“I was happy that Chris came out and worked out,” said former Virginia kicker and punter Chris Gould. “He gave us an opportunity to perform in front of those scouts and, hopefully, those scouts maybe took notice of some people that would not have been looked at normally.”

Nate Lyles and Tom Santi may have been the biggest beneficiaries.

Lyles, a safety, sparkled in the vertical leap (36 inches), the bench press (22 reps with 225 pounds) and the 40-yard dash (4.48 and 4.42).

“I’m glad that [Lyles] got to show his stuff,” Long said. “As good as he might work out, he is a better teammate and a tough kid.”

Lyles’ stock for the NFL Draft remains uncertain, but Santi, who joined offensive lineman Branden Albert and Long at the combine, helped his draft stock further, which was needed with a talented pool of tight ends available this year.

“I did my 40 and my bench again and I did a lot better,” Santi said. “I ran better. I ran a 4.57. At the combine, my best was 4.76.”

Santi said he also had 18 reps with the bench press - four more than he did at the combine.

“You just kind of hit a wall late and you have to grind through it,” he said, “but that’s part of the test I guess.”

Santi was pleased with his lifting since Virginia’s coaching staff does not put a strong importance during strength training on the bench press.

“Other places put a huge emphasis on it and you will see guys doing 30, 35 reps … 35 is an elite number,” Santi added. “That’s not something we do here.”

What all of the recorded numbers mean, Santi said, are different in the eyes of the beholder.

“Different organizations put more emphasis on certain stuff,” he added, “but the way I look at it, if it is a test, I want to be as good as I can. I was happy to do that today.”

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