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Pro Day provides ones last chance for Arizona standouts to perform at home

arizona-wildcats-football-nfl-pro-day-berryhill-mccauley-mason-jedd-fisch-2022 Photo by Christopher Hook/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Tuesday saw about a dozen recently departed UA football players working out inside Arizona Stadium for NFL scouts, a morning that was highlighted by fullback Clay Markoff effortlessly ripping off 38 reps on the bench press, Lucas Havrisik nailing a 66-yard field goal and Stanley Berryhill III running the 40-yard dash in 4.45 seconds.

Will any of that be enough for a pro team to take a flyer on one or more of the top contributors from a UA team that went 1-11 in 2021? All they’re looking for is a chance.

“I hope to get a shot,” center Josh McCauley said. “I mean, I was a walk-on here and I know that all you need is a shot. It’s kind of just ingrained in me now that an opportunity goes such a long way, that it’s whatever you make of it and I’m fine with that.”

Berryhill, probably the highest-profile of Arizona’s prospective draftees—he was the only one to earn an invite to an all-star game, playing in the East-West Shrine Bowl—is in the same boat as McCauley. As a former walk-on, he’s been an underdog on multiple occasions during his career.

It’s gonna be the same mentality your whole life,” he said. “To get overlooked, and you know that you’re gonna have a chip on your shoulder for the rest of your life. Just continue to prove doubters wrong. Josh knows just as well as I do that, when you get opportunity, you can’t let it get away.”

One of Arizona’s most productive defensive players last season, Trevon Mason, is also facing an uphill battle to make the NFL. Not because of his skills, though, but because of his dimensions.

“They don’t like my body type,” Mason said of scouts, who cited his thin frame and lack of backside. “I can’t help that. I want to change it, I want to change my body type. I ain’t got no booty.”

UA coach Jedd Fisch said this year’s crop of UA draft hopefuls will pale in comparison to the ones the program produces for the 2023 draft and beyond.

“I would assume, safely, that next year’s Pro Day, we’ll have more draft picks,” he said. “And then the following years would continue that more and more. There’s a big group that I think will be involved in Pro Day and involved in the draft. We want to have as many guys at the Combine as we possibly can, we want as many guys get drafted as we possibly can. We’re trying to build a program where the NFL comes here to get players. That’s the ultimate goal. The more players you get that are NFL-caliber players, the more probably wins you get.”