It’s the most exciting three days in the NFL’s offseason, and it begins Thursday evening at 8:00 p.m., as the 2016 NFL Draft officially kicks off. The three-day event broadcast live on national television stations the NFL Network, and ESPN, will have a lot of extra viewers in Scioto County, as former Portsmouth West Senator, and Michigan State Spartan, Trevon Pendleton could very well have his name called during the three-day event.
The NFL Draft will begin Thursday with the round one selections, followed by rounds two and three on Friday, and rounds four through seven on Saturday.
The former Senator and Spartan impressed many of the scouts at the Michigan State Pro Day on March 16th. One of the several highlights from the annual event at Michigan State was Pendleton’s performance when being timed for the 40-yard dash.
Several scouts had him clocked with a 4.58 second 40-yard dash, which was faster than any other 40-yard dash for available fullbacks at the NFL Combine. The time would also be the quickest for a fullback since 2005.
Pendleton’s speed wasn’t all that pleased the scouts at the Michigan State Pro Day. The fullback also had a great receiving performance for the scouts, as he showed his exceptional ability to be a receiving threat for whatever team may select him.
Others were amazed by Pendleton’s athletic abilities, as he leaped to a recorded 34-inch vertical, and showed his power bench pressing 225 lbs for 24 reps.
After the Pro Day at Michigan State, Pendleton met privately with six different NFL teams, who each showed an interest in the Scioto County native.
Former Portsmouth West football coach Merill Triplett believes Pendleton has every ability needed to not only be drafted into the NFL, but also to have a great impact for whatever team that picks him.
“Trevon has always been super-focused on football,” Triplett said. “He was one of the hardest working kids you could ever imagine in practice, and in game time. He was always ready to play.”
Aside from his incredible work ethic during his time at Portsmouth West, Pendleton was also a great, “student of the game”, according to Triplett.
“I always thought he would be a college coach, and one day, I still think that’s where he’ll end up as a college coach, probably in (NCAA) Division I,” Triplett said.
While Triplett believes Pendleton will one day end up coaching the game, he also whole-heartedly believes Pendleton will play in the NFL.
“I believe he will go pro, because he is such a driven kid,” Triplett said. “He has so many physical advantages over most kids. He’s a 245 lbs player, but he runs a 4.6 second 40-yard dash, and he also has incredible strength with it.”
It’s not all about speed and power with Pendleton though, as the area native is unusually agile for a player of his position and size.
“He’s a skilled kid, and can catch anything,” Triplett said. “He’s a big, strong kid, but he’s very skilled, and he’s very smart. He’s going to try to figure out how to beat you.”
With his size, strength, intelligence, and skill set, Pendleton is a complete package as a football player.
“He’s good at these little slip screens, and he sells them well,” Triplett said. “If you watched him in college, you could tell he was selling what he was supposed to be doing, and would then slip out there and make a great play for his team. So, he’ll do the same thing in the pros if they give him the chance.”
His ability as a fullback is not all Pendleton can offer a potential NFL suitor, as his skills would make him a great asset on any special teams unit in the NFL.
“There’s just so many ways he can help a team, not just because he is a physical specimen, but because he is such a student of the ballgame,” Triplett said. “He’ll figure out how to be successful if they give him a chance. There’s so many different places he can play. He was a first team all-state linebacker, he could easily be on the kickoff team. He’s going to tackle you.”
Triplett thinks Pendleton could also be put on the receiving team on a kickoff.
“He can catch anything,” Triplett said. “You put him back there, short and in the middle, where they put a lot of fullbacks, and a little short kick comes through, and he’s going to bust up through there.”
Tackling Pendleton will be a chore for any defensive or special teams player.
“You’ve got to get him on the ground, and that’s not an easy task,” Triplett said. “Division I teams had a hard time tackling him, and the pros will too.”
Triplett remembers thinking a day like one that could happen by the end of Saturday, with Pendleton being drafted into the NFL wasn’t out of the realm of possibility, back when he was first timing Pendleton in the 40-yard dash in West Portsmouth.
“I coached football for 32 years, and I thought wow, if I step out and get in front of that, I’m dead,” Triplett said, recalling Pendleton’s speed as a young high school player. “When he went by you, he was flying and he’s just a chunk.
“What do you do with him? He’s flying and you’ve got to reach, he’s 245 (lbs), and he’s not very tall, and with a ball under his arm, you know he’s a physical runner. So, yeah, I see it happening for him.”
Triplett added that if Pendleton is just given the opportunity, he will find a way to make himself valuable to his team.
“I’ve always thought he could do just about anything in football,” Triplett said. “He’s so driven.”
Pendleton’s character will be an asset to any team, as well. In days where top prospects waste away their potential, Pendleton’s conduct wouldn’t be a worry to NFL teams.
“He’s nice, he was always nice to the kids on the team, and he was a good leader,” Triplett said. “He led by example. He worked hard in practice, and if somebody needed to work a little harder, he’d ask them to stay after practice and run some extra sprints. He’s a genuine nice kid, and has a big heart.
“This kid is never going to be a kid that’s going to go out and get in trouble as a pro, and a lot of them do. It’s not going to be Trevon. It’s going to be like having a coach.”
Another asset for Pendleton is his composure in big games, and in big-game situations.
“This kid has produced when he needed to,” Triplett said. “He just received last week an honor from the Michigan State coaching staff, the Unsung Hero Award, which fits him well. After talking to him and seeing him in those big-game situations, they know he’s never going to choke. He’s just going to do what is needed to benefit his football team.”
In all, Pendleton would be a good player for any team to have on their roster.
“He’ll find a way to help his team,” Triplett said. “Remember, he can catch, remember, he can run, remember, he can block, and remember he is also an outstanding defensive player, one of the best our state had that year he was a senior. He’s going to find a place for himself to help a football team. I don’t know where it will be, but he can play all aspects of the game, special teams, offense, and defense. He’s a good guy to have on your roster.”
As a West Senator, Pendleton was an all-state football player at linebacker and running back, and was ranked No. 3 in the nation for fullbacks by Rivals.com. He was redshirted during the 2011 season by Michigan State, and would later go on and start for three seasons for the Spartans.
Pendleton appeared in 49 games during his collegiate career with Michigan State, starting in 28 of those games. Several of his highlights include a two-yard touchdown catch from Connor Cook in the 100th Rose Bowl against Stanford, a 74-yard run against Michigan which was initially ruled a touchdown but was later called back, and a 12-yard touchdown reception from Tyler O’Connor in the second quarter of Michigan State’s 17-14 win over then #2 ranked Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio.
Reach Michael Hamilton at 740-353-3101, ext 1931, or on Twitter @MikeHamilton82.