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Liggins, Boschee represent small-school athletes at NDSU Pro Day

FARGO -- Alongside 20 NCAA athletes and a fellow NAIA athlete, two Dickinson State football players took part at NDSU Pro Day, proving their worth to 22 scouts from the NFL and CFL.

Dickinson State senior cornerback Jay Liggins competes at the NDSU Pro Day at the Dacotah Field bubble in Fargo, on Thursday, March 28. David Samson / Forum News Service
Dickinson State senior cornerback Jay Liggins competes at the NDSU Pro Day at the Dacotah Field bubble in Fargo, on Thursday, March 28. David Samson / Forum News Service

FARGO - Alongside 20 NCAA athletes and a fellow NAIA athlete, two Dickinson State football players took part at NDSU Pro Day, proving their worth to 22 scouts from the NFL and CFL.

Senior safety Cain Boschee and senior cornerback Jay Liggins had the opportunity to prove themselves on Thursday, March 28, at the Dacotah Field Bubble, but Boschee said it went beyond just him and his former teammate.

"Small town or small school kids can compete and put up the same numbers as big school kids," Boschee said.

The two were accompanied by Dickinson State head coach Pete Stanton, who said a Blue Hawk hasn't been to a Pro Day since at least the 1990s.

"It was a great atmosphere," Stanton said. "There was a lot of people around and obviously a lot of scouts. ... The guys performed really well. They were certainly not out of place by any means."

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With the guidance of the scouts who ran the drills, both Liggins and Boschee launched 10 feet, 4 inches in the broad jump. Compared to the defensive backs and safeties at the 2019 NFL Combine, the two would be tied for 23rd.

Liggins recorded a 34-inch vertical, which would put him towards the bottom of the pack among combine participants in his position. Boschee earned a 33-inch vertical and benched 225 pounds 11 times. Liggins benched the same weight 12 times. Fourteen of 51 defensive backs and safeties at the combine had equal or fewer reps.

Their results for the shuttle drills and 40-yard sprint were not available, as the scouts keep the official times to themselves. Considering both are All-American defensive backs and Boschee recently competed in the 60-yard dash at the NAIA indoor track and field championships, it's not unwise to say they probably fared pretty well.

Through the indoor season and the start of the outdoor track season, Boschee has been training with head coach Shayne Wittkopp.

"He helped me with all my lifting," Boschee said. "And then with some of the technique of all the different drills, making sure you can get every (tenth) of a second back in each drill."

Liggins has spent the last few months in Mesquite, Texas, with The Raw Power Team, training for Pro Day six days a week for six hours at a time. He said they focused on lifting, speed work, explosiveness and getting comfortable with specific drills.

Even after all that preparation, Liggins said he could have done more on Thursday.

"I think my jumps could have gone better, as well as my 40," the Bismarck High product said. "But I was pretty happy with how I did in everything else. I think my (defensive back) work looked really good. The scouts liked what they saw. I spoke with a few of them afterward, so that's always good."

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A story by Sports Illustrated's The MMQB mentioned that in addition to speaking with a dozen NFL teams, Liggins was given a playbook from one team. While he said the 49ers offered him a playbook, he has yet to receive it but has been in contact with the team's scout and plans to follow up about getting the book.

Thursday's Pro Day started with taking down height and weight measurements, followed by the bench press, vertical jump, broad jump, 40-meter dash and drills. Through all that, Boschee admitted that the hardest part of the whole morning was what happened between the action.

"Just all the waiting around," he said. "We were there for almost five hours. It was just a lot of waiting to get through all the drills."

What's next, unfortunately, includes more waiting. The two are simply waiting for someone to reach out. Until then, Boschee will continue to run track, with Liggins tagging along in track and football workouts to stay in shape.

Liggins, who is originally from Tennessee, says he has no plans to attend the draft in Nashville on April 25-27, or at least, not yet.

"That would be ideal, but as of now I just want to get to the door," Liggins said. "I feel like I did pretty well, so (I'd like to) carry that into a mini-camp, or a private workout."

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