5 takeaways from App State Pro Day


Courtesy of Cade Bettinger, App State Athletics

Quarterback Chase Brice fakes the handoff to running back Cam Peoples during App State’s Pro Day March 30, 2023.

Chance Chamberlain, Associate Sports Editor

1. Limited participation

App State’s highest-ranked draft prospect, according to Pro Football Focus, linebacker Nick Hampton only participated in measurements and positional drills. 

“Still working on the bench press and just the things we just did, at Pro Day, staying in shape,” Hampton said. “Also doing position drills, just refining everything. Make sure we don’t lose any of our touch.”

Hampton took part in the Feb. 27 NFL Scouting Combine, where he participated in the 40-yard dash, vertical jump and broad jump. In the linebacker drills at Pro Day, Hampton showed his quick footwork and change of direction, rare traits for an edge linebacker. 

“Just a lot with feet and hips,” Hampton said. “Just making sure I can change direction and still move around. I can be more than just a pass rusher.”

Hampton is projected to be drafted in the NFL’s sixth round, according to NFL Draft Buzz

2. More than a power-down running back

Running back Cam Peoples also participated in the NFL Scouting Combine. At Pro Day, Peoples ran a 4.56 shuttle with 19 reps on the bench press. Peoples, who caught 11 passes as a Mountaineer, displayed improved pass-catching during the passing drills led by quarterback Chase Brice. 

“It’s not something I can’t do; I haven’t had the chance to do it much,” Peoples said. “And I feel like I showed off with the combine and today.”

Peoples has been a power-down running back throughout his collegiate career and has worked on becoming a better pass catcher and blocker to become a versatile running back for the NFL. 

“I can catch that ball, and you put me in the backfield, we going to do something with it,” Peoples said. 

3. Leadership shows

With 27 NFL team scouts watching on, Brice showed his leadership and composure during the passing drills.

“I just wanted to show that I’m a football player first, but I’m a quarterback at the end of the day and wanted to make different throws and get the ball out there in space,” Brice said.

 During his six-year collegiate career, Brice learned to adapt, transferring twice before landing at App State. 

“From being a red shirt to a fourth string to a backup to a starter, Clemson, Duke and now finishing up at App State, it’s been a rollercoaster,” Brice said. “I’ve had a lot of highs and a lot of lows. That has helped me with adversity, battling adversity, being at the lowest of lows in 2020, and then kind of spiking back up here at App and regaining confidence, regaining that ability I know I can play the game.”

Brice led the drills as he called the receivers’ routes. His throws consisted of short and medium route concepts, as Brice threw the ball deep a few times but showed accuracy in all route concepts. 

“I thought I was pretty solid,” Brice said. “I thought I showed arm strength; I showed command, I showed accuracy, movement in the pocket and some deep balls.”

Brice already has a professional football opportunity in the USFL with the Houston Gamblers after being drafted third overall. 

4. Unexpected speed

Offensive lineman Anderson Hardy surprised scouts with a 4.96 second 40-yard dash time in a 6’5” and 301-pound frame. 

“I wouldn’t say I surprised some teammates,” Hardy said. “Many teammates know I’m fast, but I guess I would say I surprised some scouts and opened some eyes.”

Hardy played at 290 pounds in 2022 as a Mountaineer and has worked to put on more weight.

“I played last year at 290-295, so I put on a couple of pounds for Pro Day, and I think I showed that I can move it, that weight, and continue to put on more weight,” Hardy said.

Hardy participated in the Hula Bowl alongside Brice and was drafted in the USFL 12th overall by the Philadelphia Stars. Hardy and Brice were side by side in 2022 as Hardy protected Brice on the field and they were roommates off the field. 

“I had been roommates with Cooper Hodges and Logan Dublin and Chase Brice this past year,” Hardy said. “So it was nice to make good memories with them and just finish off with some, some great wins.”

5. Final Farewell

Pro Day marked the last visit for players as they look to further their careers professionally as the April 27 NFL Draft looms. 

“It’s been one hell of a ride. I love App,” Peoples said. “Just thinking back on my career and my time here, it’s amazing to see where I’ve come from and what you can do when you put your mind to it. I always dreamed of going to the NFL, and then, even in my time off, downs and injuries, I never looked at anything different.”

Each player is expected to go in a different direction as they become former Mountaineers. 

“Just knowing all the work they put in as well with me just being on the field together and just all us trying to chase the dream, just get to the next level,” Hampton said. “Just a great feeling.”

These players will always remember the memories they shared in Boone amongst one another.

“College GameDay, Texas A&M, and then, just one last time at The Rock here with everyone, was awesome,” Hardy said. “So this is a day I’ll never forget, not just for the test scores, but just doing it with all my buddies.”