Rome Odunze details his combine goals, including 40-yard dash time

Feb 22, 2024, 3:02 PM

The first UW Husky to get drafted this year will very likely be All-American wide receiver Rome Odunze.

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Odunze was a star at UW, especially over the last two seasons when he caught 167 passes for 2,785 yards and 20 touchdowns along with two rushing scores in 17 games. Odunze was a key part of Washington’s title run in 2023 when he led the nation in receiving yards.

Odunze joined Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk on Thursday to discuss going pro and a key part of the draft cycle – the NFL Scouting Combine.

“Just enjoying the process,” Odunze said of the best advice he’s received this offseason. “I hear a lot of people saying this transition from college football to the NFL with the combine, pro days and all the different camps that you have to go through as a rookie, it’s a lot and it takes a lot of mental toll and everything. So I think the best advice I’ve gotten is just take a second, take a deep breath and realize hey, this is your dream coming true here. Let’s be grateful, let’s be appreciative of the time that we’re in. So that’s exactly what I’m doing.”

The combine begins next Monday, and that’s a key time for prospects as they will be measured as well as partake in various drills to determine different types of athleticism.

One of the most-hyped segments of the combine is the 40-yard dash. Odunze said he plans to run in that drill, and he has a lofty goal for his time.

“I’d like to run sub-4.4. That’s my goal,” he said. “That’s what I’m shooting for. We’ll see how it goes and see what I end up running.”

The 40-yard dash gets a lot of attention and is regularly looked at to determine a player’s speed. Odunze is training hard for it, but he’s also acknowledging that there’s far more to football than this one drill.

“For me it’s not that big of a deal. It’s 40 yards, four seconds of my life that I’m training tremendously for along with all the other events,” he said. “You can count so many great players who ran the 40 fast, who didn’t run the 40 fast, didn’t run it at all. I don’t know if I believe in any of the translation it has to the game of football in a sense and that way, but it is fun to run, fun to see. And I understand why scouts and people use it as a way to to evaluate players and stuff. So it’s exciting. But for me, I don’t care about it except for my future and football career, obviously.”

Odunze also told Brock and Salk that as far as measurables should weigh in at 215 pounds and be 6 foot 3.

“I’m gonna be 6-3 and have my afro out when I get my height (measured) so I can get a couple more inches,” Odunze joked. “Nah, I’m playing.”

He also expects to jump between 37 and 40 inches in the vertical leap drill.

Another key component of the NFL Scouting Combine is what fans and media members don’t see, which is the interviews that players do with teams.

“For me, it’s about just going into it and being myself and making sure I’m not trying to go in there and answer questions like a robot or give the perfect answer or something like that,” he said.

One thing Odunze doesn’t have to stress about is character concerns or “red flags” with off-field issues.

“Going in there and not having anything crazy on your record – if any kids are out there listening, be good and stay in school and don’t do any of that – that helps you out,” Odunze said. “But I think just (not having any issues like that), you’re not going to get any like crazy questions. They might try and trick you on football or some sort of different thing, but just keeping your composure and being like ‘OK, these guys are trying to challenge me,’ and that’s OK. That’s what the sport does in general. So I’m just going in there, being myself and let letting it rock.”

Listen to the full conversation with Rome Odunze at this link or in the video player at the top of this story.

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