NAIA’s best hoping for pro look

Many will play final game Saturday at Memorial Stadium

NAIA’s best hoping for pro look
The best players from the NAIA will have one final shot to show off for pro scouts Saturday in Savannah. (Source: WTOC)

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The odds for any college football player finding a career in the pros are pretty long in general.

But they’re especially overwhelming for those in the NAIA. Yet this weekend, several of the NAIA’s best will take the field in Savanna just hoping to get a look.

Friday morning didn’t provide the best weather for a practice at Memorial Stadium, but the West team was out there for a few minutes anyway. As one of the coaches said, sometimes you just have to embrace the suck.

The players are also embracing their underdog roles, and Saturday’s inaugural Senior Classic will give them a chance to show off their skills for pro scouts.

They say they’re blessed to have this opportunity. Now they hope to take advantage of it.

“We’re the guys who still feel like we have a shot. We never feel like we’re out of it from the Division I players or the Division II players. We feel like we’re on the same level as them," says West team defensive back Brandon Bell from Webber International. "Everybody wants an opportunity. Everybody wants to keep going. So we just came here to have fun and just show what we got.”

“You never know who is watching," says West team head coach Chris Stutzriem. "It’s about just giving them the opportunity one more time."

Stutzriem would know. Currently the head coach at Rocky Mountain College in Billings, Montana. Formerly, he coached Damon “Snacks” Harrison at William Penn University. Harrison was an undrafted free agent signed by the Jets in 2012, and signed a five-year, $46 million contract with the Giants before being traded to the Lions.

Players say they plan to have fun and leave everything they have on the field in what could be the final game of their career.
Players say they plan to have fun and leave everything they have on the field in what could be the final game of their career. (Source: WTOC)

Stutzriem knows just how much it would mean to each of these players to get a look from a professional football team.

But he knows the chances are slim.

So Stutzriem is making the message simple: have fun and play like there’s no games left.

“If the NFL is not the next thing, it’s one more time they get to come out here and play football,” Stutzriem says. “Have fun, but we’re going to try to get a win. That’s why we’re here. No one likes to lose. We want to win. P{lay smart, but also just go have fun and lay it all out on the line.”

The NAIA Senior Football Showcase kicks off at 5:00 p.m. Saturday from Memorial Stadium.

Copyright 2019 WTOC. All rights reserved.