BOZEMAN – For five former Montana State Bobcats, Tuesday marked one of the biggest days of their football careers, because it gave them a chance to chase their ultimate goal.
Graduating seniors Bryson McCabe, Mac Bignell, Bryce Alley, Nick LaSane and Brandon Hayashi took part in the Bobcats’ NFL Pro Day Tuesday morning.
“It’s just a dream come true and it was just an awesome day to be out in Bobcat Stadium one last time and compete with these guys. It was a blast,” said McCabe, who was a team captain and played safety for the Cats.
“It’s kind of what you’ve been working for your whole life, and it was good to have a day to get out and show what I can do,” said Bignell, a linebacker and former Bobcat fan-favorite.
NFL scouts on hand for MSU’s Pro Day included members of the New York Jets, Seattle Seahawks, Detroit Lions, Cleveland Browns and the Jacksonville Jaguars. These five men jumped at the opportunity to get in front of NFL scouts, because they know the Treasure State doesn’t always get the most looks.
“Especially coming from Hall, Montana, you don’t really think you can get their attention,” Bignell said. “You just take it one step at a time and then you get one day to show them everything that you have to offer.”
Leading up to this day has been hours and hours of hard work, balancing school with NFL training.
“I student-teach during the day, then at night I drive about 45 minutes to an hour each way and then I’d train with Dane (Fletcher) from about 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.,” smiled McCabe. “Then I write my lesson plan and go to bed.”
These Bobcats have been trained by one of the best: former Bobcat and New England Patriot linebacker Dane Fletcher.
“That’s the best training facility around. You have former guys in there, you’ve got JP Flynn who’s with the 49ers, you’ve got Brock Coyle with the 49ers, Tom Brady coming in (during) the summer. It’s literally the top,” McCabe said of Fletcher’s training facility, The Pitt.
And the results are clearly visible, not just on the times from a stopwatch. The training transformed Bignell, who put on 30 pounds in the offseason, weighing in at 232 pounds at the pro day.
“To show that I could have an NFL-size of a body for linebacker,” Bignell explained. “They were talking about moving me to safety. I just know the linebacker (position) so well, it’s more natural for me and I know if I want to play it in the NFL, I’ve got to bulk up.”
That weight gain also allowed Bignell to excel in the weight room, where he put up 26 reps in the bench press.
And each Bobcat left the field hoping one thing: that they did enough to earn themselves a spot in the big league.
“I came out here and showed them that I’ll be able to play on all four special teams, be a good free safety, strong safety or a nickel so I can play all seven positions,” McCabe said.
“It doesn’t matter to me,” Bignell said. “I just want to get on a team and hope for the best.”