Sonora High School graduate Kahale Warring earned top marks in the NFL Scouting Combine over the weekend, scoring in the top three of all tight ends for the 60-yard shuttle, broad jump and vertical jump.
Warring, 21, said he was happy with his performance leading into the much-anticipated NFL Draft, which begins on April 25.
“I feel good, but only time will tell,” Warring said.
The 2019 NFL Scouting Combine, held at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis Feb. 28 through March 3, gives prospects the opportunity to compete in a variety of speed and strength drills.
Among 21 tight ends participating in the combine, Warring said his scores — just below the top performers, but in competitive range to be drafted — did not surprise him.
“It was really eye-opening being on that big stage,” he said. “It was just fun being with all the top guys in college football, getting to know a lot of them and just enjoy the process.”
In the marquee workout of the combine, the 40-yard dash, Warring placed sixth with a score of 4.67 seconds.
One of the drills not included on the NFL combine website with an official score is the “gauntlet.” Receivers perform two static catches from front to back along the sideline before racing horizontally across the field, securing, then intentionally dropping four 10-yard passes (two over each shoulder. On the fifth pass, the receiver will burst on a 15-yard run upfield.
Kahale said he was confident in most of the combine workout, but believed he showed himself as an elite performer in gauntlet.
An NFL online video shows Kahale completing all five of the catches with commendable form: arms away from his body and securing the football with his outstretched hands. Though a commentator appears to chastise him for decelerating his momentum along the route, another on-field voice praised Warring for a “good finish.”
“I was right around where I needed to be,” Warring said.
Warring’s mother, Nichole Longeway, of Sonora, said she watched her son’s performance via a live video call to her cell phone because she was in a hotel without access to the NFL Network showing the combine.
“It was a little nerve racking, but I knew he would do well at the combine. I knew physically he would do well,” she said. “I think he was happy to get through it. It’s the hardest job interview you ever have in your life. I think he’s pretty proud of how he did.”
The combine also included psychological evaluations, media interviews and contacts with representatives of NFL teams. Longeway said Warring had at least 19 interviews with representatives of different teams. There are 32 teams in the NFL.
“It was super stressful, it was fun, but it was very stressful,” Warring said.
Warring declined to say what teams he talked with, but said he was looking next toward the pro-day at his college, San Diego State University. Warring is back in Irvine, training with his athletic representation group “Rep 1,” for the SDSU Pro Day on March 22. Following the pro day, Warring said he planned to visit the facilities of different teams before the draft.
“Anything goes at the draft. Anything can happen, so we are just hoping for the best. I think the combine was good for him, and he got an opportunity to really show he should be in the mix,” Longeway said. “I think he could be in with one of the top guys.”
Warring began his football career as a senior at Sonora High School, where he joined the team on a run to the 2014 CIF Sac-Joaquin section finals.
Warring was awarded a scholarship at SDSU before the 2017 season after redshirting with the team. SDSU is a NCAA Division 1 school in the Mountain West Conference.
According to the NFL combine website, Warring was named honorable mention All-Mountain West for his 31 receptions (a total of 372 yards and two touchdowns).
Contact Giuseppe Ricapito at (209) 588-4526 or firstname.lastname@example.org . Follow him on Twitter @gsepinsonora.