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Arizona State Sun Devil hopefuls do well at school’s pro day

TEMPE, Ariz. — How fast can you run, how high can you jump, how far can you leap, how much can you bench press.

Oh, and can you throw, catch and move your feet well.

About a dozen Sun Devil players plus a few former ones were put through the paces during Arizona State’s annual football pro day on Friday.

All 32 NFL teams were represented.

“This can make or break you right here. It’s the biggest job interview of my life,” receiver Jaelen Strong said.

Of course, Strong is the exception rather than the norm. He knows his name will be called during the draft, likely on day one.

Strong, who announced in December his plans to forgo his senior season and enter the 2015 NFL Draft, was a Biletnikoff Award semi-finalist and First-Team All-Pac-12 honoree after leading ASU in catches (75), receiving yards (1,062) and receiving touchdowns (10).

“To be drafted, period, is a blessing,” he said. “I remember when I was that kid watching Vince Young go, watching Reggie Bush go, I remember all that. It’s a big, big thing for me. To actually hear my name called and see my name pop up on the screen, I might shed a tear.”

Others may have to wait some before a team calls, though safety Damarious Randall — thanks to a 4.4 40 at the combine — believes a day two draft selection is possible.

“I’m hearing rumors that I’m the number-two safety, that a team could possible jump and end up taking me in the late first round,” he said. “But I don’t think I’m going to have nothing on the first day. I’m probably going to be playing FIFA or something and just kind of watching the draft on the side.”

Offensive lineman Jamil Douglas and defensive lineman Marcus Hardison are both expected to be drafted as well.

Douglas tipped the scales at 309 pounds. He played at around 300.

“Up-tempo offense,” he said, “you can’t really get too heavy in Coach (Todd) Graham’s offense. I’m definitely looking to put on weight.

Douglas added he has visits scheduled with five teams, including the Arizona Cardinals, and hoped he had shown his versatility and athleticism during pro day.

“That’s important in the NFL,” he said. “They want a guy that’s versatile, so me being able to play both positions is only going to help me out even more.”

Hardison, after electing not to run at the combine, clocked an unofficial 4.8 40.

“I don’t really pay attention to it, to be honest with you,” he said of his draft projections. “It only takes one team to like you. I’ll be honored if I get drafted.”

For others, pro day — and its weight room and field testing — provided perhaps one last opportunity to catch a scout’s eye.

Quarterback Taylor Kelly, following his sub-4.6 40 time, threw football after football to Strong and other teammates, showing off increased arm strength, something he credited to better mechanics.

“I was really just lifting the football (before) and now I’m really dropping (the arm) and making that circle and having more velocity on the football,” he said.

The greater zip on the ball coming out of his hand, especially on the short and intermediate passes, has earned him at least one pre-draft team visit, with the Cardinals next Monday.

“Hopefully when a team calls me and I get picked up, I’m going to go there and embrace it and just go after it; just like I did here,” Kelly said. “It’s a new story, and I can’t wait for it.”