My boy from Penn State will be the next Sean Morey, but better... if you want one. I have known about Ethan Kilmer's story for years and I know he is a pitbull on kick coverage, but after PSU's pro-day he is getting some serious recognition.
Penn State just held it's pro-day on Thursday, and Bill Cowher was among the well known faces in attendance. Once again Penn State is protecting their players, and the numbers form their disappointing workout are not being released to the public as of yet. It is being said that nearly every big name from PSU flopped. In the end... walk-on Ethan Kilmer stole the show.
Hopefully noone takes him, and we can bring him in as an undrafted free-agent...
Kilmer began to get noticed when he uncorked 19 reps of 225, a terrific number for a wideout. By comparison, defensive end Matthew Rice did 19 and Tamba Hali did 18.
The afternoon session was closed to all media. But Kilmer once again stole the show, uncorking a 4.35-second 40-yard dash, a 41-inch vertical leap and 10-foot, 10-inch broad jump. One scout pulled Kilmer aside to talk after his performance in the bench press. By the time he was finished in the afternoon, Kilmer was the talk of the event.
One NFC scout said Kilmer caught the ball well and was impressed with his athletic ability. He added that it wouldn't surprise him either way if Kilmer was drafted or not.
Said a source close to the program: "Three scouts were huddled up comparing notes and one said, ‘Seriously, this guy was a walk-on?' - he really impressed a lot of people."
Kilmer had a key touchdown catch in the Orange Bowl win over Florida State and finished the 2005 season with 15 grabs for 236 yards and three scores. He was also a special-teams cover ace, making 25 tackles.
Who was the best special teams coverage player in America in 2005?
Without a doubt, and we've been saying since October of 2005, it's former Penn State walk-on Ethan Kilmer. We reported Kilmer's story a long time ago -- and reported he was an absolute physical freak. Kilmer, who has very little football experience, is a fascinating story.
Penn State senior wide receiver Ethan Kilmer, who had 6 huge receptions for 81 yards and 1 touchdown in the Orange Bowl, isn't your typical former walk-on. No, not by a long shot. Few walk-ons possess 4.4 40 speed and a Michael Jordan like vertical leap of over 40 inches, which is what Lions QB Michael Robinson claims the "freak of nature" Kilmer can do.
Watching Kilmer, who's been a backup at safety and wide receiver for the Lions, in limited chances this season, we are absolutely fascinated with his potential. He only had 15 receptions in 2005, but gained 238 yards (16 yard average) and 3 touchdowns on those plays. When Kilmer, who's solidly built at a bit over 5' 11" and 205 pounds, gets by defensive backs, it's "light's out", because few players in college football will catch him from behind. Also, perhaps more importantly, Kilmer is an absolute special teams demon.
So, why was a player with his unique set of athletic skills a walk-on?
Well, much of that has to do with the fact that Kilmer had almost no football experience (played briefly as a freshman) in high school, instead opting to play basketball and run track (high jump). Also, he refused to play any sports at the start of his college career at tiny Shippensburg University, because he wanted to focus on academics. Eventually friends told Kilmer he was wasting his natural ability by not playing sports and he transferred to Penn State and tried out for Joe Paterno's team, which he had little problem making (played in 2004 and 2005 only).
If his raw numbers are anywhere close to what the folks at Penn State believe, expect NFL teams to get an eyeful. Also, as we mentioned, he may be the best special teams coverage player in the nation, which is very significant.
As NFL legend Bill Parcells has stated, you draft for potential and look for players with either size or speed (or both). Kilmer seems to have the elite speed and athletic ability NFL teams look for, which may help make up for his lack of football experience. One NFL scout told a Pennsylvania paper Kilmer reminded him of Don Beebe, who was an obscure, small school star in the latter part of 1980's. Beebe literally came out of nowhere to have long and productive NFL career as special teamer and speed receiver.