Cunningham, Nichol make plays in all-star games

After impressing through their respective all-star game practices, former Michigan State wide receivers B.J. Cunningham and Keith Nichol got the chance to get on the field and show scouts what they can do.

B.J Cunningham heads into the end zone on a 17-yard touchdown reception. (AP Photo)

One of the starting wide receivers for the East team in the East-West Shrine Game, Cunningham made two catches for 26 yards — including a 17-yard touchdown.

On the opening drive, Cunningham caught a pass from former Chattanooga quarterback B.J. Coleman for nine yards on a short out route for a first down.

The first catch prompted the announcers to say, “He had a big week.”

On the East’s second drive, Cunningham took a quick pass on a curl route from Coleman, turned it outside and broke a tackle from Rodney McLeod of Virginia on his way to the end zone.

The commentators praised Cunningham for his strength after the catch on his touchdown, noting his many accomplishments at Michigan State.

“Give B.J. Cunningham credit, we saw him do that all season long in the Big Ten,” one of the announcers said.

Nichol made one catch for 37 yards in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl.

Competing for the American team, Nichol made a fantastic catch, falling backwards and tumbling over as he hauled in a deep pass after quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell (I kid you not) escaped pressure.

Following the reception — during which a sideline reporter was interviewing former Wisconsin wideout Nick Toon — these replays provided a better look at the acrobatic catch by Nichol.

The announcers spent time after these replays talking on Nichol’s strengths.

“A lot of times you look at these young men and you wonder what are they going to look like when they get in an NFL weight room, and I don’t have to worry about that with Keith Nichol. He’s already been there. Wow”

“When you look at not only the fact that he has those weight room numbers. 38-inch veritcal. Ran in the 4.4-range at Michigan State. A lot of poeple don’t realize that he will have good indiviudal workouts.”

They also praised his willingness to play on special teams and that being key for him making an NFL roster.

Nichol was thrown to three times and all were downfield, including one deep pass early in the game.

The NFLPA bowl likely served as Nichol’s best chance to impress NFL scouts — apart from MSU’s pro day — as he did not receive an invitation to the NFL Combine to date. Cunningham will be participating in the Combine, which opens a month from today.

Nichol now will return to his training program at Bommarito Performance Systems in Miami, Fla., while Cunningham will head back to Phoenix, where he has been training at Fischer Sports.

Leading up to both games, msuspartans.com did a Q&A with each player about their experiences in practices. Read Nichol’s here, and Cunningham’s here.

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Posted on January 22, 2012, in Football and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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