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Cousins, Spartans impress Wednesday at MSU Pro Day

March 14, 2012

If there’s one thing about Kirk Cousins that stands out above all the rest, it’s the way he leads his team.

So then it should come as no surprise that during MSU’s Pro Day at Duffy Daugherty Football Building on Wednesday, the former Spartan quarterback found a way to showcase his leadership before representatives from 32 NFL teams.

As Cousins lined up to throw to his receivers for position drills, he took charge, calling out routes and complimenting his teammates after each catch.

As far as skill is concerned, Cousins’ passes mostly were on the money, and his footwork was solid, but the winningest quarterback in MSU history wasn’t completely satisfied with his performance.

“It wasn’t perfect, and I’m the kind of guy who likes things to be perfect,” he said. “There are a few throws I would like back, but at the end of the day, the point of this is just a way to show your base skill set.”

Since his final game in a Spartan uniform more than three months ago — a 33-30 overtime victory over Georgia in the Outback Bowl — Cousins has spent time working out in preparation for the NFL draft in April.

“Sometimes I go back and watch the Michigan State games from this past fall, and I feel at times like I’m already a different player,” Cousins said. “I think there has been a great deal of improvement just in these past few months, but at the same time, I am who I am, and I throw the ball how I throw the ball, and that’s not really going to change — but I think it’s going to be good enough to play in the NFL.”

Cousins was one of many former Spartans who participated in MSU’s Pro Day and certainly not the only one to impress.

Alongside Cousins were the expected players — defensive tackle Jerel Worthy, wide receivers B.J. Cunningham and Keshawn Martin and running back Edwin Baker, all of whom were invited to the NFL Combine in February. But several Spartans who did not make that trip to Indianapolis used the event to improve their own stock.

Early in the day, wide receiver and quarterback prospect Keith Nichol launched 39.5 inches into the air from a standing position during the vertical jump measurements, to a round of cheers from those in the room.

“I didn’t expect them to react like that,” he said. “Everyone sort of stood up and went, ‘Ohh.’ I mean, they’ve seen thousands of athletes, so it’s great to see a reaction like that.”

Fullback Todd Anderson saw a similar reaction when he bench-pressed 35 reps of 225 pounds, which would have placed him in the top spot among running backs at the Combine.

Worthy said he was asked about Anderson by several scouts who had noticed the 267-pound fullback when reviewing Worthy’s game film.

“A lot of people wanted to know who 42 was,” Worthy said, referring to Anderson’s uniform number. “Todd’s a hard worker. I’m sure if he has an opportunity at the next level, he’s going to take advantage of it and make the best of it.”

Although the players are leaving MSU, head coach Mark Dantonio is happy to see his players take steps toward the next part of their careers.

“It’s a journey,” he said. “It’s a long journey, but now they’re coming to that point where they’re seeing the results of their work.”

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