Jeremiah George improves numbers from NFL combine

Senior linebacker Jeremiah George runs drills during 2014 Pro Day on March 25 in the Bergstrom Football Complex.

Maddy Arnold

It was 2:53 a.m. March 25 when Jeremiah George woke up.

George laid awake in his bed unable to fall asleep. Later that morning, he would work out in front of NFL scouts at Iowa State’s Pro Day. It would be his last chance to convince NFL teams to sign him.

“I laid there and then I laid there and I laid there. I couldn’t get back to sleep, but eventually I got back to sleep,” George said. “I took a shower in the morning. I was ready to go, man. I was excited.”

Seven hours after he laid awake in the middle of the night, George was in the Bergstrom Football Complex with all eyes on him. The All-Big 12 First Team linebacker stepped up to the goal line with a row of NFL scouts 40 yards away waiting with stopwatches in hand.

It took George 4.66 seconds to reach the scouts at the other end. His new 40-yard dash time was a drastic improvement over his performance at the NFL Combine in February where he ran a 4.91.

Last season, George led the Big 12 in tackles per game [11.1] and led Iowa State in forced fumbles [3], sacks [3.5] and interceptions [2]. Pro Day was not only George’s chance to build on his senior season in front of scouts, but also make up for a less than perfect showing at the NFL combine last month.

“I wanted to come out and show that the numbers I did at the combine weren’t how my athletic ability portrays on the field,” George said. “I didn’t feel like Jeremiah George when I ran at the combine. I didn’t feel good at all.”

The 40-yard dash was not the only event in which George improved on since the combine. His vertical jump went from just 33 inches last month to 38.5 inches in front of the scouts March 25.

George’s broad jump also improved. He went from jumping 116 inches last month to 129 inches. Finally, George racked up 30 reps on the bench press compared to 28 at the combine.

“The combine is a stressful deal. It’s a tough situation. They put them under a lot of duress when they’re in [Indianapolis]. He had a little bit of a hamstring tweak when he was there,” said ISU director of strength and conditioning Yancy McKnight. “I thought he definitely helped himself today.”

The next step for George will be preparing for the NFL Draft on May 8-10. He said he will take a few days off at home before working out with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on April 11.

George said he will also train more at Iowa State and hopefully spend some time working with ISU defensive coordinator Wally Burnham before traveling home again to spend the draft with his family.

“I saw a commercial for a movie called ‘Draft Day.’ I want to go to it on the first day of the draft because I know I’m not going to be picked on day one,” George said. “I’m realistic about that, but then sitting around on day two and day three. I can just enjoy it with my family.”