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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, February 25, 2008

Grice-Mullins catching up fast

By Stephen Tsai
HawaiiWarriorBeat.com Editor

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Former Arkansas standout Darren McFadden runs through a drill at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. McFadden is expected to be one of the first, if not the first, running backs selected in the April NFL draft.

MICHAEL CONROY | Associated Press

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Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Ryan Grice-Mullins

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April 26-27, New York, N.Y.

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INDIANAPOLIS The last Hawai'i football player to apply for the National Football League draft slotback Ryan Grice-Mullins made a lasting impression with a solid performance at the Scouting Combine.

Grice-Mullins, who opted to relinquish his senior season, displayed speed and strength during the workouts in front of 700 general managers, player-personnel directors, coaches and scouts.

Yesterday, he was told he ran 40 yards in 4.46 seconds. Although that time would have qualified as one of the 10 fastest among wideouts, it was not posted on the NFL's Web site.

Still, Grice-Mullins said, "it wasn't my best time. I can do better. I wish I had timed better. You know how I am. I'm always trying to do the best."

He ran the 20-yard shuttle in 4.16 seconds, fourth-best among the wideouts. On Saturday, he bench pressed 225 pounds 17 times.

He was particularly sharp in the field drills yesterday, catching seven of the eight passes thrown in his direction.

"I dropped one, but that was a little out of my reach," he said.

Most impressive, he caught all of the passes with his hands.

"Not with the body," Grice-Mullins said. "Coach taught us from day one to catch everything with our hands. That helped a lot."

Mike Mayock, a television football analyst, said: "Grice-Mullins is a good player."

Slotback Davone Bess, who also decided not to return to UH for his senior season, did well in the pass-catching drills. In the "gauntlet" drill, Bess had to sprint between two rows of quarterbacks. On his first attempt, he caught all seven 10-yard passes, earning loud applause from the players.

"That was fun," Bess said.

He also made two over-the-shoulder catches on long passes.

But Bess ran a disappointing time in the 40-yard dash. He was electronically timed at 4.62 seconds, and hand-timed at 4.57 seconds.

"Bess didn't run very well," Mayock said. "I thought he'd be more explosive."

Bess said: "My 40 killed me. I've never been the type who can just run and go. I'll have to work on it some more."

Wideout Jason Rivers said he "wasn't happy" with his time in the 40-yard dash. He ran his first sprint in 4.55 seconds; the second attempt was slower.

"I felt slow for some reason," Rivers said.

During team testing at UH last spring, Rivers ran the 40 in 4.45 seconds. He consistently ran under 4.5 seconds while training in Colorado the past month. He had hoped to run in the low 4.4s, which likely would have elevated him into a second-round prospect.

Now Rivers, like Bess and Grice-Mullins, will focus on the April 1 Pro Day in Carson, Calif.

Each college team is allowed to have its version of a combine for former players. Because of the distance from the Mainland, UH receives permission to stage the combine on the West Coast. UH's Pro Day is a day earlier than USC's combine, which is expected to draw dozens of NFL scouts.

"I'm going back to California, train and get ready to run again," Grice-Mullins said.

Reach Stephen Tsai at stsai@honoluluadvertiser.com.