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UNM football: Pressley’s bench press impressive

You probably knew Jhurell Pressley was fast.

You probably didn’t know how strong he was.

Pressley, the New Mexico Lobos’ leading rusher the past two seasons, bench-pressed 225 pounds 25 times in succession Thursday at UNM’s annual football Pro Day. His bench-press performance would have tied him for the best total among running backs at the recent NFL Combine in Indianapolis, to which he wasn’t invited.

“I was looking for 26, but the monkey was on my back,” Pressley said in a phone interview.

Pressley had a strong total performance at Pro Day. According to information provided by UNM, he had a 4.38-second clocking in the 40-yard dash, a 33.5-inch vertical leap, a standing broad jump of 9 feet, 9 inches, and times of 6.92 seconds in the “L-Drill” and 4.06 seconds in the 5-10-5 shuttle drill.

He was most happy, however, with how he caught passes later in the day with NFL scouts on hand.

“I needed to show them I had the hands and could run routes,” he said. “… The field drills were definitely good for me.”

Pressley wasn’t the only departing Lobo senior to have a strong showing.

Wide receiver Carlos Wiggins had the day’s fastest 40, with a time of 4.36. Cornerback Cranston Jones was a tick behind at 4.37. Linebacker Ryan Langford ran a startling time of 4.44, which would have ranked him No. 1 at the NFL Combine at his position.

Wiggins’ 4.36 time in the 40 would have ranked him second at the combine among wide receivers. His vertical leap of 38.5 would have tied him for fourth.

Langford’s time of 4 seconds flat in the 5-10-5 shuttle would have tied him for first at the combine among linebackers.

For his 25 reps in the bench press, Pressley credited both departed strength-and-conditioning coach Ben Hilgart, now at Virginia Tech, and Kyle Kudrna, Hilgart’s UNM assistant.

“Coach Hilgart was a big part of my workout thing. He got me big and stuff,” he said. “… But Kyle, he helped me out there, too. He just picked up where Hilgart left off.”