Andre Carter may have been the star who attracted a legion of NFL pro scouts to West Point Thursday afternoon, but five of his football teammates could be the big beneficiaries of the attention placed on Army’s standout linebacker just over a month before the NFL draft in late April.
Carter’s abilities, not to mention his growing reputation as one of the nation’s best linebackers, drew 30 scouts from 27 of the 32 pro football teams to the Army practice facilities in and around Michie Stadium for the team’s Pro Day.
One of those teammates was Kwabena Bonsu. The defensive lineman caught the eye of scouts.
“The attention on Andre really gave the rest of us a chance to get noticed by these scouts today,” said Bonsu, a fifth-year senior who often played on the opposite side from Carter. “Playing at a service academy, there is not a lot of glitz and glamour.
“With Andre having a great season two years ago and following it up this past season, it drew a lot of these scouts to West Point. A lot of our guys play under the radar and to have those scouts here today gives the players and our school some really great exposure.”
Bonsu credited defensive coordinator Nate Woody and defensive line coach Sean Cronin for helping him grow during his years at West Point. He recorded career highs in tackles (47), tackles for loss (4.5) and sacks (2.5) last fall.
“Just being here today shows that all the training and all the extra hours working hard count for something,” Bonsu said. “Coaches Woody and Cronin really worked with me and helped me grow and
they are behind me trying to take my talents to the next level.”
About 15 graduating football players from Army and several other area colleges were invited to
participate in a number of activities to show their football and athletic abilities. Those events included running the 40-yard dash, a 20-yard shuttle, the long jump and a 3-cone drill inside the Foley Athletic Center and benching 225 pounds and testing their vertical jump in Army’s weight room.
To be sure, Carter was the main attraction. The 6-foot, 7-inch senior has been in various NFL team’s sights for several years now and Carter, according to several of the scouts present, did not disappoint in terms of his athletic ability. “He is just a tremendous presence,” noted a scout for an NFC team.
“I am very happy with how I did today,” said Carter. “It was really good to get out here and show these people my skills and abilities. I was really looking forward to it.”
It was hard to miss how Carter’s star status helped his supporting cast at Army gets some looks by the scouts this year. By comparison, in 2018, 12 NFL teams sent scouts to watch offensive lineman Brett Toth’s Pro Day.
Carter and Bonsu were joined by safety Marquel Broughton, running backs Braheam Murphy and Maurice Bellan and cornerback Isaiah Morris also competed at the mini combine.
Broughton, a two-year captain who was voted the Army’s MVP for the 2022 season, felt the same way.
“I am thankful to Andre for helping to bring the scouts here to give me and the other guys an opportunity to display our talents,” Broughton said, adding that several pro teams have already talked to him about his professional football future. “The NFL has been my dream forever and I remember my dad bragging before he passed away in 2006 that I was going to be playing in the NFL one day.”
Taking in much of the activities during the day, Army coach Jeff Monken was pleased to see so many of his departing seniors get attention from NFL teams. He noted that five Black Knights reached some sort of NFL training camp before last season and four ex-Black Knights played in the league last year.
“I am thrilled for Andre and I hope he goes first in the draft,” Monken said. “This attention is a testament to his personal commitment to succeed. In fact, I hope all of these guys get drafted and have a chance to play at the next level. And, I hope that more of our players down the road have similar opportunities to advance.”
Broughton, though, was able to keep everything in perspective.
“No matter what happens here, it is great for me,” he said. “If I am lucky enough to make the NFL that would be great. If not, I start my career in the U.S. Army and get the chance to serve my country.”
March 22, 2023 at 12:42 PM
Great civerage Seth.