Oberlin feature by Hal Sundt
|Danny Enright's senior season
started with a bout of mono but ended with him signing with an
agent and giving up playing basketball for
Oberlin athletics photo by Frank Wiewandt
At this point, Danny Enright's success is determined in large
part by pounds and feet and seconds. His height, weight and 40-yard
dash time quantify his athletic value. This is the life of someone
preparing to play in the National Football League.
Last March a scout from the New York Jets eyed Enright as a potential long-snapper. This past September the Jacksonville Jaguars visited, and during the season a St. Louis Rams scout came to watch Enright practice.
"Once those guys showed up I thought it was really a legitimate thing in terms of me being able to play after college," Enright says.
Enright started off his senior season with a nasty bout of mono that caused him to drop 20 pounds, but he recovered to earn First-Team All-NCAC honors as a tight end. With an eye on playing after college, Enright maintained a strict lifting regimen during basketball season, where he was the team's starting center, working out before practices and even games in order to make sure he continued building muscle and putting back on the weight he had lost.
Over Winter Term, Enright signed with an agent at HOF Player Representatives in Canton, Ohio. His agent, Michael Puterbaugh, is the father of recent Oberlin graduate and former Yeomen baseball player Ben Puterbaugh. Unfortunately, in signing with an agent, Enright had to relinquish his amateur status and no longer play college basketball.
"At the time it was a real tough decision because I'm not one of those guys that is going to quit something. ... But looking back on it now I think it was definitely the right decision, just running the risk of getting hurt and seeing where I am now, I thought I definitely made the right choice."
HOF Player Representatives agreed to pay for Enright's training and in February he traveled back and forth from Oberlin to Wixom, Michigan. There he trained with other Division I and Division II athletes at Total Performance Training Center under the direction of Jim Kielbaso, who trained many Detroit Lions players during the NFL lockout.
"Being able to work out with some Division I and Division II guys, and they are some serious athletes up there, and having the opportunity to work out with them and see what it takes and having to compete with them every day in the weight room, on the field, running, I thought that it really made me a better athlete."
When Enright finished up his month of training in Michigan, he moved his workouts to the Track Performance Institute in nearby Avon so that he could maintain his schoolwork during his preparation.
"Monday and Friday I have to work out in the morning because I have to work around [my] class schedule too. A lot of guys, they're not in school right now, they're just working out. That's their job. I still need to work around my schoolwork and all my classes and things like that."
So on Mondays and Fridays, Enright lifts from 8 a.m. until 10 a.m. before scrambling home to make his 11 a.m. Politics class "Democracy and the Welfare State." On Tuesday's and Thursdays he finishes class in the morning and works out from 3:30-7:00 p.m. These workouts consist of a variety of sprints, agility exercises and lifts to prepare him for his workouts. But they can leave him drained when he returns to school.
"My arms are jello. I have trouble taking notes sometimes in class afterwards."
On March 15 Enright participated in his first pro day, where NFL teams watched him complete a set of lifts and agility drills to evaluate his athleticism. The pro day was held on familiar turf for Enright, in Wixom at Total Performance Training Center. That day he showed off his stuff alongside 16 other pro prospects. Enright was the only Division III athlete in attendance.
Among the teams represented that day were the Detroit Lions, Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots, Tennessee Titans, Cincinnati Bengals, San Francisco 49ers and Buffalo Bills.
Enright measured out at 6-foot-6-and-3/8 inches tall and weighed in at 255 pounds. His hands were measured to be nine and half inches long and his wingspan stretched out to 6-foot-7-and-1/2 inches. He bench pressed 225 pounds 22 times, which places him right in the middle of the pack with the tight end prospects who competed at the official NFL Combine. His other scores, such as 9-5 broad jump, 4.41 second Pro Agility run and 7.11 second L Drill, which are two different cone drills that test speed and agility, are both on par with NFL-ready tight ends. His vertical jump was measured to be 29.5 inches, which he estimates is nearly seven inches higher than it was in the fall. The one score Enright would like to improve upon is his 40-yard dash time. He was clocked at running a 4.99 second 40-yard dash. His goal is to run somewhere around 4.8 seconds, which he believes will open up more opportunities for himself as a pro.
"I think a faster 40 will give me a more legitimate shot and have scouts view me as a more of a tight-end prospect as well. I'm looking to get my foot in the door as a long-snapper, maybe play a little back-up tight end to start off, have them develop me. But the better I can show that I'm just as good at tight end as I am at long-snapper I think will just better my chances of a team saying, 'Hey let's bring this guy in and see what he's got.'"
All in all, Enright believes his performance was enough to solidify his standing as a pro prospect.
"Being a Division III guy I think I proved it was legitimate in me being there."
Enright credits much of his success to Oberlin's coaching staff and his teammates for helping him become the player he is today.
"The guys up there, they work really hard and the guys on the team really push each other in the weight room. And I think it's paying off on the football field in terms of performance."
Following his pro day Enright was called by the same Rams scout who visited in the fall. He set up an individual workout in which he primarily long-snapped and he received positive reviews from the scout. On April 18 he will travel back to Michigan for another workout with the Lions where he will also get to show some on-field skills such as running routes and catching passes.
"Now that I have one under my belt I think I'm going to be a lot more comfortable and a lot more confident going into this workout."
The 2012 NFL Draft will be from Thursday, April 26 through Saturday, April 28. If a player goes undrafted, it is common procedure for him to receive a call in the days following the draft to invite him to a team's minicamp. Whether Enright gets drafted, or called, or if phone stays on the hook, he will have plenty of other career options.
"If you get a phone call then you get a phone call and it would be awesome and I would be the happiest kid around," Enright says. "And if you don't then I'm going to graduate in May with a great degree from Oberlin and I'll just go from there."
"This has been a great experience so far just having the opportunity of what I've done so far and just being able to say that 'You got looked at.' "