Of all the adjectives used to describe Chris Brown throughout his impressive college football career at Cal Poly, versatility seemed to be the most fitting term Monday morning.
The dual-threat quarterback who etched his named deep into the Mustang record books last fall was one of four Cal Poly standouts who performed in front of a handful of NFL scouts during the school’s Pro Day at the Upper Sports Complex.
The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Brown passed and rushed for more than 3,000 yards in his career, becoming the only quarterback in program history to surpass the 1,000-yard rushing mark. He owns the school record with 38 rushing touchdowns, and scouts appeared interested to see how that athleticism could transfer to the next level.
Brown, linebacker Burton De Koning and wide receiver Jordan Hines were tested in the 40-yard dash, pro shuttle, three-cone drill, long shuttle, vertical jump, broad jump and bench press with scouts representing the San Francisco 49ers, the San Diego Chargers, the Kansas City Chiefs and the Dallas Cowboys in attendance.
Each player went through position-specific drills as well, with Brown being asked to work out as a quarterback, wide receiver and defensive back.
“I came in with the attitude of whatever happened today was going to happen today,” said Brown, a Compton native. “I wanted to get a chance just to prove myself on the field, that I was going to be able to be adaptive to anything that they made me do.”
As the leader of Cal Poly’s triple-option offense, Brown helped the Mustangs rank as the No. 1 rushing team in the FCS each of the past three seasons. A two-time all-Big Sky Conference performer, Brown’s statistical résumé seems to warrant interest from the next level, NFL or otherwise.
Having already earned his degree in communication studies, Brown said he plans to return home to visit family for a few days before returning to San Luis Obispo. The NFL Draft is scheduled for April 28-30 at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago, and the undrafted free-agent signing period begins shortly after.
“This next month is pretty much a waiting process and seeing what happens,” Brown said. “I also got a couple job interviews set up as well, just as a backup plan. A Cal Poly education is really helping me, so I’m ready for anything at this point.”
The same can be said for De Koning, who might have been the most physically impressive of the three ex-Mustangs competing Monday. A nagging hamstring injury prevented former wide receiver Willie Tucker from performing drills on the field, though he was available for the weight room portion of the testing.
The 6-1, 236-pound De Koning said he put on 17 pounds since football season ended in late November and recorded 28 repetitions of 225 pounds in the bench press testing.
Cal Poly’s defensive player of the year made a team-high 82 tackles last fall, including a 17-tackle performance against conference champion Southern Utah.
De Koning worked through a 21-credit winter quarter to complete his degree in communication studies and turned in a lively performance in front of friends, family and former teammates.
“It’s just all kind of coming to a head right now and it’s nice because I’m really excited about the numbers I put up today,” said De Koning, a Folsom native. “Even though everything didn’t go as planned, I think I really just showed that I can move well for my size and I’m an athlete.”
If a professional football career doesn’t come to fruition, De Koning said he would consider pursuing baseball long term. He played for the San Luis Obispo Blues in the California Collegiate League last year and hit over .300 on a team filled with Division I standouts.
For now, De Koning’s immediate focus remains on preparing for the draft and working with his agent, Chris Martin, on getting to an NFL training camp.
“The work’s put in,” De Koning said. “Now it’s kind of time to obviously talk to teams and let them know how I did. It’s really time for my agent to go to work.”
Hines might not own the typically gaudy statistics that accompany NFL prospects, but the 6-foot, 204-pound wide receiver displayed the athleticism Monday that made him a two-time Legion Award winner at Cal Poly.
Hines said he was pleased with his performance in the weight room: 18 repetitions at 225 pounds in the bench press; a 33-inch vertical jump; and a 10-2 measurement in the broad jump.
Scouts asked Hines to run the 40-yard dash three times — the others ran it twice — because there was a large discrepancy between the first two times. He said the third one was his fastest mark, 4.57 seconds, and Hines was consistent during the route-running portion of the testing.
“I know I wasn’t, like, on the top of everybody’s boards seeing as I had nine catches last year playing in the triple option,” said Hines, a Chula Vista native who earned his degree in kinesiology. “But I still just wanted to come out here, put on a show, show them that I can play at the next level, show them what I have.
“Hopefully, I left them here, you know, going back saying they’re willing to take a chance on me.”