Because of a balky hamstring, he couldn’t blaze the 40-yard dash.
Even so, Blaise Fountain had a day to remember — and, perhaps, has a pro football future.
Thursday, 18 former New Mexico Lobos performed under the watchful eyes of scouts from five NFL teams (Titans, Cardinals, Browns, Jaguars, Raiders) at UNM’s annual Pro Day.
Fountain, the New Mexico Lobos’ starting center the past two years, was a standout on the bench press. The 2017 team captain lifted 225 pounds 34 times in succession. That was not only the best performance of the day but would have ranked Fountain second among the offensive lineman who participated in the recent NFL Combine.
Fountain skipped the 40-yard dash in order to nurse that hamstring through the rest of the events: the standing vertical leap, the standing broad jump, the 20- and 60-yard shuttles and the 3-cone drill. All of his marks, except for the broad jump, would have been competitive at the Combine.
His bench press was eight repetitions better than the next-best performer, linebacker Austin Ocasio, on Thursday.
“I had higher expectations, but I’m still happy with it,” Fountain said. “It’s in the realm of what I was trying to get.”
Of his performance in the other events, he said, “I felt like they went decent, considering (the hamstring).”
Fountain, a native of Maize, Kan., a Wichita suburb — yes, he’s Blaise from Maize — had no Division I offers out of high school. He came to UNM after two years at Butler County (Kan.) Community College. He was a Mountain West Conference honorable-mention all-league selection as a senior.
An excellent student (a 3.50 grade-point average last fall), Fountain has career options that don’t involve football. But he’s eager to get his shot.
“I’m gonna bust my butt and try to get something (in the NFL),” he said. “I’ve always been overlooked.
“… I’m gonna make plans to have something (other than football) set up, so I’m not NFL or broke. But, I’m definitely, seriously working towards it.”
Elsewhere, UNM’s Jordans — Avery and Lamar — put up some interesting numbers.
Lamar Jordan, no relation to Avery, played quarterback at UNM but is hoping to get into an NFL camp as a wide receiver. He ran the 40 in a time of 4.46 seconds that would have ranked 10th among 37 wide receivers at the Combine. It was the fastest 40 clocking of the day.
His 60-yard shuttle time of 11.25 seconds would have ranked second at the Combine.
“I feel like I had a good day,” he said. “… Just keep my head down, keep praying and hopefully I get a call from somebody that will allow me to go visit, do a private workout, whatever I can.”
Avery Jordan, a starting offensive tackle the past two years, was clocked at 4.84 seconds in the 40. That would have ranked him second among offensive linemen at the Combine.
But Jordan, light for an NFL O-lineman at 268 pounds, listed himself for Pro Day purposes as a tight end. His 40 clocking would have ranked him 11th among 13 tight ends at the Combine.
None of his marks on Thursday would have placed him among the Combine leaders at tight end.
Nonetheless, he was happy with his day.
“I felt good,” he said. “… Today was the day to just come out and put everything to the test and show what I had, just leave it all on the field and in the weight room.”
Among the days better performances were:
Ocasio’s 26 reps in the bench, which would have ranked him second among linebackers at the Combine.
A 38-inch vertical leap by cornerback Isaiah “I.B.” Brown, a 2016 UNM senior. Brown would have ranked No. 2 among defensive backs at the Combine.