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Pasquarelli: Big impression

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Wednesday, March 13, 2002
Stallworth: 'I surprised even myself'
By Len Pasquarelli

For a guy who entered the draft as an underclassman, changed his mind, then went back into the NFL lottery again when the NCAA denied him the opportunity to return to school, former University of Tennessee wide receiver Donte Stallworth demonstrated no such hesitation on Wednesday.

Working out for league scouts in Knoxville, Tenn., the junior receiver put on a display that one veteran talent evaluator termed "one of the greatest shows" he had seen in 20-plus seasons of handling pre-draft auditions. Stallworth established himself not only as a certain-first round pick, but also as the likely No. 1 prospect in a deep wide receiver talent pool.

"I surprised even myself on a few things," said Stallworth. "But I knew that I could have this kind of a day if I was 'on,' believe me. I feel pretty good about things now."

And he should.

I actually looked at my (stop)watch twice, just to make sure it wasn't broken.
Vinny Cerrato, Redskins personnel director on Stallworth's 40 times

Stallworth, who did not work out at the recent combine sessions in Indianapolis, checked in at 6 feet and 198 pounds. Running with a sprained ankle he suffered last Friday, he was clocked at between 4.23 and 4.26 seconds in the 40-yard sprint by four scouts surveyed by The scout for one club had him at a mind-boggling 4.18 seconds running on the Pro Turf surface.

None of the other wide receiver prospects have been close to those times. Ashley Lelie of the University of Hawaii is said to have run in the 4.2s during training sessions in Atlanta, but has not yet run for NFL scouts. Stallworth has certainly set a standard that will be difficult to match.

"I actually looked at my (stop)watch twice, just to make sure it wasn't broken," said Washington Redskins personnel director Vinny Cerrato of Stallworth's blistering 40-yard times.

In addition to his impressive speed, Stallworth had a 39-inch vertical jump and a long jump of 10 feet, 9 inches. He did 17 "repetitions" in the bench press at the standard 225-pound weight. That was as many "reps" as Vols defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth did on Wednesday afternoon.

Although the ankle injury hampered Stallworth a bit in the position drills, he caught the ball well and showed enough explosiveness in and out of his cuts to thoroughly impress the scouts.

Len Pasquarelli is an senior writer.