‘I want to show scouts that I can play with anybody’: Former UC star Ivan Pace Jr. impresses during pro day

CINCINNATI — Former University of Cincinnati star receivers Tyler Scott and Tre Tucker were clocked with unofficial times as fast as 4.32 for the 40-yard dash while linebacker Ivan Pace Jr. continued to impress during the Bearcats’ annual NFL Pro Day on Thursday.

The pro day was held at the Bengals’ Kettering Health Performance Center at Paycor Stadium and the IEL Indoor Facility.

Fifteen former Bearcats competed at the pro day in front of representatives from every NFL team and more than 50 scouts. Bengals coach Zac Taylor and Titans coach Mike Vrabel were among the several NFL head coaches in attendance.

Drills included the 40-yard dash, broad jump, vertical jump and position-specific workouts.

UC rising sixth-year senior quarterback Ben Bryant served as the quarterback during a scripted pass-catching session at the end of the event for Scott, Tucker, tight end Josh Whyle and running back Charles McClelland.

In addition to the lightning-fast 40 times from Scott and Tucker, other highlights included:

  • Offensive lineman Lorenz Metz repping 225 pounds 26 times on the bench press.
  • Pace leaping 35 inches on the vertical jump and repping 225 pounds 22 times.
  • Linebacker Ty Van Fossen jumping 35.5 inches for the vertical jump.

Pace, UC’s first-ever unanimous All-American and a 2019 Colerain High School graduate, performed well in each drill after not doing all of the tests at the NFL Combine last month.He played three years at Miami University before coming to UC for 2022 and having one of the greatest defensive seasons ever by a Bearcat, tallying 137 tackles, 21.5 tackles for loss and 10 sacks en route to AAC Defensive Player of the Year and All-American honors.

“I felt like I already had that game in me,” Pace said. “I have also had that mentality that I am good enough to play anywhere. That is why the main reason I transferred to come to Cincinnati and my brother (Deshawn) was here too. I could have went somewhere else, to a bigger Power Five program, and played there, but I came here to show those things and ball out with him.”

“I want to show (scouts) that I can play with anybody and that the size does not matter to me.”

Pace, Tucker and Whyle all competed in the Senior Bowl and are projected by most NFL Draft insiders and scouts to be selected in next month’s draft as is Scott, a game-breaking wide receiver who declared for the draft early following his junior year.

Defensive backs Arquon Bush and Ja’Von Hicks also showed out during testing and defensive back drills. Bush did not run the 40 after recording a solid 4.54 time at the NFL Combine.

“It is still crazy to think that three months ago or four months ago I was preparing to play my last game at Cincinnati,” said Tucker. “Time flies by, but it goes also slow at times starting off with the Senior Bowl. I think once that kicked in that things started to be fast. I got back from the Senior Bowl and I couldn’t take time off because I had the NFL Combine in a few weeks and after the combine, you go to Pro Day. It is a grind, but I have really enjoyed it.”

WCPO is a content partner with Cox First Media.

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