Senior A.J. Scola Performs Well at UMass Pro Day
Senior A.J. Scola was one of the most impressive players at the UMass
Pro Day last week, and has seen interest from a few NFL teams.
Scola finished his stellar collegiate career with a banner season this fall, leading Amherst in solo tackles on the year with 28, and finishing fifth on the team in total tackles with 40 out of the defensive back position. Scola broke up four passes this season, and also finished his career with eight interceptions.
On the heels of his senior year, Scola was named All-NESCAC First Team, and was also selected to the D3Football.com All-East Region Third Team. While few Division III football players take the field after graduating, Scola saw a pair of Amherst teammates go on to play in Europe during his time with the Lord Jeffs. Both Mike Salerno ’07 and Brendan McKee ’07 played for top European teams based in Vienna, Austria after graduation.
Scola initially looked towards Europe, and has received offers from both Italian and German sides. The Catania Elephants of the Italian Football League (IFL) offered Scola a roster spot, but the political science and Spanish double-major turned down the offer, because it would require him to leave campus prior to graduation. Scola also has an offer to play cornerback and return kicks for the Magdeburg Virgin Guards of the German Football League this summer, which he will most likely accept should the NFL not work out.
Head coach E.J. Mills shares that the coaching staff is “very excited for A.J. He has worked so hard since the season ended to physically put himself in the best position to play at the next level.” Mills adds that he “couldn’t be more proud of the way A.J. has approached getting ready for the game after college, and his mental attitude towards this whole process has just been great.”
Scola was as impressive as any of the Division I players at UMass last week, putting up some of the best numbers of the day. He bench-pressed 225 pounds an amazing 18 times, which is above the standard of 15 expected from cornerbacks and safeties. Scola put forth the best mark of the day in the vertical jump (36 inches), the three-cone drill (6.71 sec.) and the pro-agility test (4.18 sec.). His 40-yard dash time of 4.49 was also the second best at UMass to a 4.47.
The next step for the Lord Jeff senior is to wait and see if any of the interest a few NFL teams have shown him will pan out. The NFL Scouting Bureau has requested his statistics and films in preparation for the NFL Draft on April 25-26, 2009. Should Scola be drafted or invited to a mini-camp, he will have the chance to become the newest Amherst graduate to play in the NFL.