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March 13, 2012

Pro Day: Brantley hopes he impressed


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MORE FLORIDA FOOTBALL: Rainey improves on forty time | New offensive coordinator Pease fitting in fine | Pre-spring depth chart released | Three projected starters sitting out the spring

John Brantley needed to make a lasting impression.

He hopes he did.

The much-maligned ex-Gators quarterback headlined Florida's Pro Day on Tuesday as the former signal-caller worked out in front of scouts, coaches and fans for nearly two hours.

After a frustrating 2011-12 season and a disastrous East/West Shrine performance in late January - where he was 1-of-6 for 21 yards before being pulled - Brantley was not invited to the 2012 NFL Combine.

With no prearranged private workouts to date, Tuesday was Brantley's last chance to impress NFL people.

Loose and confident, Brantley flashed what teammates, coaches and friends have said for years, he kills it in practice.

"He looked great," agent Joel Segal said. "Brantley's got some arm, and I think everybody out here saw good footwork, good arm -- he's a competitor. I thought it was a great display."

Brantley looked smooth throwing the ball, dazzling scouts with his size, frame, re-tooled footwork and delivery.

For the past six weeks, Brantley trained at Tom Shaw's at ESPN World Wide of Sports in Orlando, opting to forgo a potential workout opportunity in California.

Concentrating on his agility and footwork, Brantley said the experience was definitely worthwhile.

"I learned a lot, and I definitely got a lot better. I worked a lot on my footwork and my feet. I did a lot of throwing and everything, but mainly just getting my feet quicker and getting faster."

The former Ocala Trinity Catholic star specifically trained with ex-NFL quarterback Charlie Frye, who sought him out to help clean up his delivery. Frye - who also has tutored Max Hall with the Arizona Cardinals and Greg McElroy from Alabama, among others - said Brantley has made great strides in fixing an issue that could help raise his late-round grade.

"He's been busting his but for the last two months but the biggest thing he's been working on is his delivery and quickening his feet," Frye said. "The NFL game, a lot of the snap in college are shotgun, now he's going to be under center a little bit more. His feet are moving a lot faster, which has quickened his delivery up and that's what everyone is saying out there. He should be proud today, he did a really good job."

Segal, president of Lagardere Unlimited Football and agent to multiple former Gators including the Pouncey brothers (Mike and Maurkice), Percy Harvin, Riley Cooper and Channing Crowder, also emphasized Brantley's ever-improving draft status.

Segal: "He's a guy that's going to move up the draft board. He looked outstanding today. He showed the power of his arm, he showed great determination, good footwork and ready to move up the draft board."

Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Mike Mularkey seconded that emotion, saying, "he'll definitely be in a camp this year."

In a surprise to media, scouts and even Brantley, the lanky quarterback ran a sub-5.0 40-yard dash.

"I broke 5.0 and I was definitely happy. Definitely better than I thought."

In his throwing session, Brantley was scheduled to throw 52 balls, but the drill was cut short due to time constraints.

Still, he looked solid.

Throwing a variety of routes to Deonte Thompson, Chris Rainey and several others, Brantley was whipping balls around the field in perfect weather conditions.

Brantley appeared sharp throwing quick outs - whether dropping back or in a play action scenario - but his few [I counted four] misthrows were all on longer plays.

Twice he misconnected with Rainey, once on an under thrown corner route and the other on a post sailing high and behind Rainey. But, both times Brantley shook it off and made the next throw, including his best of the day when he drilled Thompson in stride on a deep fade.

"I want to get my foot in the door," Brantley said. "I just want to get a chance. As long as I get a chance, I'll be happy. It would be cool to get drafted. It would be really cool just to say that."


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