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Chance to Impress: Serpa, Beamish see Pro Day as opportunity to showcase skills for NFL scouts

Out of thousands of college hopefuls, only a select few players get a chance to play for in the National Football League.

And for several of Central Michigan football players, that dream of playing on Sunday’s came one step closer on Thursday.

The Chippewas hosted their annual Pro Day, allowing NFL scouts to come in and evaluate a crop of CMU players hoping to get drafted or sign as a rookie free agent by an NFL franchise.

For seniors Nick Beamish and Blake Serpa, having an opportunity to showcase their skills in front of scouts from 29 NFL teams is something they don’t take for granted.

“It’s a good feeling,” Serpa said. “In college, the days go by slow, but the years go by pretty fast. So just being able to get out here and compete in front of these scouts is a humbling experience.”

Neither Serpa nor Beamish were invited to the NFL combine in February, making CMU’s pro day all the more important.

Although Beamish was named to the All-Mid-American Conference first team as a center last season, he used not being able to participate at the combine as motivation for the pro day.

“I wasn’t expecting an invite (to the combine),” Beamish said. “This was my time to prove (my potential), and I think I did that. It’s great to have the opportunity to show out in front of these (scouts) and just be here at CMU.”

Last season, Serpa earned All-MAC second team honors for playing defensive end and recording 37 tackles. When he was passed on for a spot at the combine, it didn’t sit well with him.

“I wasn’t happy with it,” Serpa said. “There’s not much I could do about it, so I just prepared (for the pro day) and I felt pretty good.”

The 6-foot-3 Serpa has prepared himself to play the outside linebacker position, at the recommendation of people close to the NFL. He dropped 20 pounds this offseason and participated in drills for defensive ends and linebackers.

He finished third among the 12 Chippewas working out on Thursday in the 40-yard dash, with a 4.84. He was fourth in the long jump at 9'2'' while Serpa and Beamish tied for third in 225-pound bench press repetitions with 25.

Beamish is the third-highest rated CMU prospect according to CBS, behind safety Kavon Frazier and tight end Ben McCord. He sits 570th overall and 20th among centers. Serpa was not one of the four Chippewas to make the list of the top 1,000 prospects.

Neither player has received much attention from scouts, although Serpa worked out for New Orleans last week.

Serpa said being able to play on an NFL team would be an unbelievable opportunity.

“It would mean the world,” he said. “I’ve been out here for five years and that’s always been the dream, aside from team success, so that would be awesome.”

CMU Head Football Coach John Bonamego, who coached in the NFL for 16 years, gave his player’s advice heading into pro day.

“It’s the same advice we give them every day, which is work as hard as you can and be engaged,” Bonamego said. “If you live your life that way and approach the game that way, you ultimately have no regrets.”

Beamish said there was no room for nervousness as it was finally time for him to show the scouts his talents.

“We’ve spent the last two months preparing for pro day and I was confident that I put the work in,” he said. “There wasn’t anything else I could do to prepare, and I was ready.”

Looking back, Beamish said being a month away from having a shot at the NFL is hard to believe.

“I definitely dreamed about it,” he said. “I didn’t necessarily see myself where I am now, but being here is kind of the step into a dream come true.”

Beamish said getting that call from an NFL team would validate the work he’s put in.

“That’s a whole lifetime of work piling up into one moment,” he said. “I don’t know what that moment is going to be like.”

Both Serpa and Beamish plan to continue to work out and train at CMU with the hopes of becoming rookies for an NFL squad.