This Tuesday, March 5 at 11 am the Buffalo Bills Fieldhouse UB will hold it's annual pro day, this year there are three seniors of note who perhaps have a chance to end up trying out for a professional team if they have a solid day. Over the Next Three Days Bull Run will cover those three players.
Day 1 - The Wizard of Oz!
Gokhan "Gio" Ozkan has one of the more interesting backgrounds you're going to find. Born in Turkey Gio came to America when he was 6 years old. He grew up in Brooklyn, NY and went to Bishop Ford HS in Brooklyn, his father paid the bills with one of the most thankless jobs in the world, a New York Taxi driver. Should Gio makes it through to the NFL roster he will be the 2nd NFL player of Turkish descent to ever play in the NFL.
Gio is 6'6-1/2", 320 lbs with an athletic build and tremendous football acumen. He is an outstanding football player who finished his degree in Finance early and graduated in December 2012. Athlon Sports nominated Gio for the 2012 All-MAC Team - Second Team Offense.
In a lot of ways Gio is similar to Jamie Richard. He was a force on the line who played for UB during a set of years when wins were hard to come by and as a result accolades could be fleeting.
Richard was named to The NFL Draft Report's 2007 Super Sleeper Team, adding second-team All-Mid American Conference honors
Hmm draft sleeper, second team all conference lineman? That was enough to land Richard a spot with the Colts and kick off a six year NFL career which just ended.
This past season, more than others, Ozkan helped prove the worth of a solid lineman. Injuries plagued the UB backfield but no matter who the Bulls had in the backfield the UB running game got the job done. It was Oliver, then Devon Campbell, then Brandon Murie. Heck the UB offensive line made backup full backs turn into effective runners.
Ozkan has started the last 24 UB games, two season when UB has had an exceptional running game.
So what does Gio have to say?
1) What kind of interest have you been getting from professional teams.
At the moment I am on the radar of a few NFL teams. I hope to have more interest after my pro day and regional combines. If I can perform like I know I can then more opportunities will open up. Right now it's about raising my profile to make sure all the necessary scouts are aware of me.
2) What do you think you need to prove at UB's pro day to get over the top. What areas of your game are you really looking to show off.
I'm very excited to showcase my abilities at UB's pro day, it'll be a great opportunity for me to show teams that I move well and that I have the athleticism that they require in an offensive linemen. More specifically, I am excited to go through all of the offensive line drills to show that I can translate my good measurables onto the field.
3) What components of the pro day will be the biggest challenge
I think the initial excitement of the day will be my only challenge, I am overall just very anxious to perform in front of one of my potential teams. Other than the excitement of Pro day I feel as though I have prepared well mentally and physically for this day.
4) Besides the NFL are you considering any other professional leagues
As every college football player, I would love to play in the NFL first and foremost, but I would never turn down an opportunity with the CFL because that is also another very respectable and competitive league.
26 Minutes of Gio's Biggest hits...