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Penn State Football: Ficken And Smith Accept NFL Combine Invites

by on January 28, 2015 6:00 AM

From miss after miss against Virginia two years ago, to being regarded as one of the best kickers in the nation, Sam Ficken's journey continues on an upward trajectory.

On Tuesday the Penn State placekicker announced he's on his way to the NFL Combine. Ficken won't be the only Penn State player headed to the combine though as offensive tackle Donovan Smith announced late Tuesday night that he too had accepted an invitation.

"Blessed to say I have accepted an invitation to the NFL Combine! Thanks to so many that have helped me get to this point!" Ficken tweeted.

"Blessings keep raining down on me. Excited to say I just got invited to 2015 NFL Combine." Smith tweeted as well.

The NFL Combine, an invitation only event held from February 17 through the 23rd, is a chance for NFL hopefuls and sure draft picks to show off their strength, agility and flexibility in front of NFL scouts and coaches. 

Having declared for the NFL draft prior to the completion of his college eligibility, Smith will have plenty to prove to scouts as he sits rated in the middle of the pack of offensive line candidates in this year's draft. Smith recently participated in the Senior Bowl, a game that pits some of the nation's top talent against each other. 

While Ficken may not need to impress with his 40-yard dash and ability to bench press, the invitation will likely raise his stock with NFL teams. ESPN recently rated Ficken as the top kicking prospect in this year's draft. Teams don't need many kickers on a roster, but a shaky season or injury can put any position at risk and open for new talent.

This won't be the only time Ficken will get to show off his leg. This Friday, ESPNU will air the All Star Football Challenge that was previously recorded showcasing different skills at different positions. The show will be broadcast at 6 p.m.

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Ficken was named to the Associated Press and All-Bowl Teams earlier this offseason and is the Penn State season record holder with 24 field goals in 2014. He was also a 2014 Lou GRoza Award finalist. That award goes out each year to the nation's top placekicker.

Smith started 31 games on the offensive line over the last three seasons protecting the blindside of quarterbacks Matt McGloin and Christian Hackenberg.

Ficken and Smith are the first Nittany Lions to reveal plans to attend this year's NFL Combine. Three Penn State players participated in the combine last season.


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Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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