FAU's Frantz Joseph pulls in NFL scouts for his pro timing day

Special to The Palm Beach Post

Thursday, February 26, 2009

BOCA RATON Florida Atlantic holds a pro timing day every season so its seniors can try to impress NFL scouts, but the Owls have never had one like Thursday's.

Thanks to FAU senior linebacker Frantz Joseph, who has the best chance of any FAU player in school history to be drafted, there were 19 scouts from 16 teams in attendance, more than in year's past.

And eyes - including the lenses of a crew from ESPN's Outside the Lines, which is planning a feature on Joseph - were trained on the 6-foot-1, 242-pound linebacker who had 154 tackles last season - second most in the nation.

It was an important day for Joseph because he was not invited to the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis.

"At first, I looked as it as a snub," Joseph said. "I felt like with the body of work I've done I should get the chance to come to the combine and show what I've got. But I look at it where I come from and who I am. I play at FAU, and we don't have the best facilities. I mean, we play in a high school stadium. For me, I'm just taking the back way in. I don't need the highway."

Joseph finally got some attention Thursday, but treated it like any other workout day.

"I had a lot of fun," Joseph said. "I just try not to overdo it or be over excited. ... Guys that come out and try to do something spectacular or amazing tend to come out and not have a very good day."

Joseph performed well under the scrutiny, even though he said drills and workouts are not his strong suit.

"I don't think I can't be measured in 40-yard dashes and shuttle runs," Joseph said. "I'm more of a guy that wants to put on the gear and let's go. Just put a running back in front of me."

Before the pro day, where Joseph ran the 40 in 4.83 seconds and bench-pressed 225 pounds 19 times, some draft experts had Joseph being picked as high as the fifth round. By comparison, the top 10 linebackers run sub-4.7s and complete 25 lifts.

Joseph said he's just hoping to get a shot.

"That's the million-dollar question," Joseph said. "If I get drafted it would be a blessing, but I always look at things from the worst-case scenario. If I can get inside someone's camp, I'll be able to show the other linebackers what I can do."

Joseph was named defensive MVP in the Texas vs. Nation All-Star Game this month after he returned an interception 26 yards and a fumble 32 yards to set up scores.

FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger said he thinks Joseph has the chance to get the shot that has eluded every other FAU player.

"With the way he played and practiced, he really helped his position," said Schnellenberger, who coached the Nation team. "In practice, he hit them hard - maybe even harder than he should have hit them."

Since FAU's victory in the Motor City Bowl in December, Joseph has been working out with trainer Brian Martin at the TEST Sports Club in Martinsville, N.J.

It didn't take long for Joseph to show the effects or working at TEST, where another player from a small school - Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, who worked out last season after graduating from Delaware - was drafted.

"I don't just think he'll be drafted, but could be a Pro Bowl guy," said Martin, who observed the four-hour session Thursday.

"He's just coming on, but he's on the way to be a three-down linebacker. ... Today he showed his leadership and his personality and what he can do."