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Drake Football is potentially fostering an NFL player

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BY MATTHEW GOGERTY

This summer has been one of excitement for Drake Football. Between accolades for players and one individual being scouted for the NFL, it’s been quite the sight for the coaching staff and the team as a whole.

Just about 20 NFL teams have been to Drake Stadium over the course of the last month to take a look at fifth-year senior Eric Saubert.

“It’s pretty surreal,” Saubert said. “I’m just excited and blessed.”

Saubert is a tight end for the Bulldogs. He is 6-foot-5 and weighs in at right around 250 pounds, a player of exceptional ability, whose 40-yard dash is under the 4.85-second average. He meets all of the requirements to be a player that the NFL will consider looking at.

It didn’t come as a surprise to Head Coach Rick Fox when the recruiters came knocking.

“Every college football player in America, who is in their fourth or fifth year, is in a database for the NFL,” Fox said. “So every year they say, these are the guys on our roster who are seniors, we confirm that roster in January. Then they ask who we think has potential for the NFL, so we give them a couple names each year.”

According to Fox, after the NFL scouts do the research on their list of players, they decide who piques their interest. Then they have them all come out for what is called  “Junior Day,” which took place at Iowa State University last April, which Saubert attended.

There he was measured in almost everything imaginable including height, weight, hand size, arm length and in his 40-yard dash. On Junior Day the NFL determines who, at least by their measurement, is a possibility for drafting.

“We got his numbers back, and I knew it was going to be good,” Fox said.

When the day finally came that Saubert would indeed be getting some looks, Fox forewarned player’s about what it was going to be like, including Saubert.

“It’s exciting for our guys,” Fox said. “18 or 19 practices there has been a NFL scout at the end of the field. Everybody is aware of it, I coach a little different. Who are we kidding? Everyone sees it and notices it. But, I don’t think its distracted us.”

Saubert has had dreams of being in the NFL his entire life and is willing to take the opportunity if presented.

“I might as well go for it,” Saubert said. “I have the rest of my life to work, may as well follow my dream.”

Saubert has been a player at Drake since he was redshirted in 2012. He started seeing action on the field in 2013 and has maintained an upward trajectory ever since.

This summer, he was picked for the FCS ADA All-American Team, received All-PFL First Team honors and he led the Bulldogs with 48 receptions. He received similar honors and accolades in 2014 as well, but to him, it’s just the level of play he expects out of himself.

“I don’t read too much into that stuff,” Saubert said. “If I play how I play then the accolades will come.”

Quarterback Cody Thibault has been with Saubert during his entire time on the team, having a first-hand look at the growth in Saubert, from red-shirt to NFL potential.

“I wasn’t surprised at all,” Thibault said about the news. “He’s got the frame, size and, ever since he’s been here, he’s been a workhorse.”

Thibault maintains that Saubert is as hardworking off the field as he is on.

Of the 20 teams that have come to see Saubert so far, the Chicago Bears would be his main choice.

“I’m from Chicago, so the Bears would be a dream come true,” Saubert said.

So far this season Saubert has seen action in both the season opener against Quincy and the game on Sept. 10 against South Dakota State. He had a team-best seven receptions for 95 yards against Quincy and six receptions for 53 yards last Saturday against South Dakota State. With one touchdown in each game.

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