Wheeling, W.Va. — On Wednesday, some of the top players from FBS, NCAA Division II and NCAA Division III make their way to Westfield, Indiana for the start of the 2023 National Scouting Combine. The Wheeling University football team is well represented on the first day of the event, with four players getting the chance to show off their skills in front of professional scouts. Wide receiver Lowell PatronRunning back Sy Alli, wide receiver/return specialist Chris Canadayand defender Brandon Muñoz are all taking part as they continue their journey towards a professional football career.
The National Scouting Combine is a four-day event in Westfield, Indiana, where potential candidates for the 2023 NFL draft have the opportunity to show off their skills in front of professional scouts from the XFL, NFL, CFL and other professional football leagues. The athletes checked in on Tuesday, where they had measurements taken and were introduced to the media and some of the scouts in attendance. Tests begin on Wednesday with combined exercises including 40-yard dash, 3-cone drill, vertical board and other disciplines. On Thursday drills will be more position specific and will include 1 on 1 padded drills for the players. The event concludes on Friday with the Collegiate Showcase, where athletes participate in a series of “mini-games” before exiting the event.
Lowell Patron is no stranger to the postseason bowl circuit and is competing in his third different bowl event. His run began back in December with the FCS Bowl in Daytona Beach, where he saw his first action in front of pro scouts. His next postseason event was the Podyum All-Star Bowl in Orlando, Florida. It was here that he posted his first postseason stats, catching for 10 yards and setting up a touchdown drive for the North team. Patron earned his first All-MEC honor of the season, was named to the second team, and holds the Wheeling program’s record for yards gained in a game (177) and yards gained in a single season (726) .
Another veteran of the postseason bowl circuit is defensive lineman Brandon Muñoz, who will also compete in his third postseason bowl event of the season. Like Patron, he competed in the FCS National Dowl and had a great game defensively. He finished the game with two tackles, a solo and an assist while also picking up 0.5 tackles for the loss in the game. He then moved to the Dream Bowl last weekend, where he had another chance to play with some of college football’s best. Like Patron, Muñoz has held several school records since the program began, including career sack record and career tackle-for-loss record.
SyAlli IV is competing in his second postseason bowl event of the year after joining Patron at the Podyum All Star Bowl. Alli was the leader of the Cardinal’s Ground Game in his five seasons in a Cardinals uniform and was the first player in program history to surpass the 3,000-yard rushing mark for his collegiate career. He also showed his strong running ability in the Podyum All Star Bowl by carrying the ball 40 yards to the ground seven times. He had two 10+ yard carries in the game and another 20 yard carry in the game as he showed both consistency and the ability to rip off a big play when his team needs it.
The last participant of this year’s event is Chris Canaday, who will compete in his first postseason bowl event of the season. Canaday has done everything for the Cardinals throughout his career, starting as a defensive back before moving to wide receiver while also handling return duties for the past two seasons. 2022 was Canada’s greatest season as a wide receiver as he clinched 32 catches for 523 yards and six touchdowns and set career highs in every category. In the second leg, Canaday averaged 25.74 yards per return on kickoffs, with his longest being a 94-yard return. He added an 8.78 return average on punts to round out a year in which he was named Second Team All-MEC.
The National Scouting Combine is now being held in Westfield, Indiana with combine events beginning Wednesday. Good luck to all Wheeling participants.