D-Day here for NFL hopefuls (Football)

David Morrison

Northwestern had a strong showing in the 2005 NFL Draft.

Defensive tackle Luis Castillo was taken in the first round by the San Diego Chargers, the first NU player to go in the opening round since 2002. He played in all 16 games for the Chargers and recorded 3.5 sacks.

Offensive tackle Trai Essex was taken in the third round by the Pittsburgh Steelers and all he has is a Super Bowl ring to show for it.

This year, several Wildcats hope to get the call.

Barry Cofield

defensive tackle, 6’4″, 305 lbs.

2005 stats: 63 tackles (6.5 tackles for loss), 2 sacks

Cofield was the anchor of the Cats’ line in 2005.

He has visited the Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys.

“I’ve had interest from a few teams. I’m happy about that,” he said. “I’m not going to have high expectations or be disappointed wherever I go.”

The Sporting News predicts Cofield to be the first Cats player drafted: with the 94th pick in the third round.

The Cleveland native said he’s going to spend draft day with his family.

“I’ll try to have a normal Saturday, ” he said. “Whenever I get my name called, I’ll be pretty excited.”

Zach Strief

Offensive tackle, 6’7″, 335 lbs.

Strief said he plans to keep himself as far away from a TV as he can this weekend.

“I’m going golfing on draft day, ” he said. “We’re going to take our time, see how long we can stay out there and hopefully get a phone call while we’re on the course.”

The Sporting News predicts Strief to go in the fifth round, joining former teammate Essex on the Steelers.

Strief said the nerves he’s felt over the last three weeks have been replaced by excitement as the day approaches.

“I’ve nerved myself out,” he said. “I’m ready too get the whole process over and get into the actual football part, which is where I feel most comfortable anyway.”

Brett Basanez

Quarterback, 6’2″, 215 lbs.

2005 stats: 4045 all-purpose yards, 28 total touchdowns

NU’s starting quarterback for the last four years closed his college career with his best year, leading his team to the Sun Bowl and throwing 21 touchdowns to only eight interceptions.

Basanez leaves NU with 30 school records and is 13th on the all-time NCAA list for total yardage.

And he hasn’t stopped moving since the NFL Scouting Combine.

Aside from throwing four times a week to stay in shape, Basanez is finishing graduate school.

“I’m in classes right now, I’ve got to turn in papers and stuff,” he said. “It’s been a busy month.”

Basanez, who The Sporting News predicts to go in the seventh round, said he’s going to a friend’s house in Lake Geneva on draft day.

“I’m going to enjoy the weather, hopefully just try and get away from everything,” he said.

Tim McGarigle

Inside linebacker, 6’1″, 235 lbs.

2005 stats: 156 tackles (7 TFL), 2 sacks

McGarigle left NU as the NCAA’s all-time leading tackler, with 545 stops.

While he’s shown his nose for the ball, some scouts are worried about his lack of size. The Sporting News predicts McGarigle will go in the seventh round, the last round of the draft.

Since the NFL Combine, McGarigle has been keeping in shape with defensive tackle Cofield at NU.

McGarigle said that he doesn’t care which team drafts him.

“Whoever wants you, that’s who you want to play for,” he said. “That’s the most important thing: a good fit instead of just going somewhere because you like a team.”

Herschel Henderson

Safety, 6’3″, 195 lbs.

2005 stats: 62 tackles (3.5 TFL), 3 interceptions

The three-year starter has immersed himself in football since the end of the season, working as an intern and recruiting assistant for NU.

Henderson said he plans to go home to Houston and watch the draft with his family.

“This tends to be a stressful time of the year,” he said. “I’m just trying to forget about it and let whatever happens happen.”

Mark Philmore

Wide receiver, 5’10”, 185 lbs.

2005 stats: 55 receptions, 662 yards, 6 touchdowns

Basanez’s most consistent target over the last four years said he doesn’t worry about much, and the draft is no exception.

Especially since he’s occupied with his daughter.

“I’ve been doing the whole daddy thing everyday, ” he said. “She’s just starting to eat solid foods. That keeps me busy: trying to take care of her.”

Philmore said his mother and sister were coming up from Ohio to spend the day with him.

“(My sister’s) probably going to braid my hair,” he said. “I’ll probably be calling Brett, Barry and everybody just to see what they’re thinking about the draft.”

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