Former Indian shines with combine-best 40-yard dash for defensive backs
Former Itawamba Community College football star Darius Slay caught the nation by surprise when he turned in the top performance in the 40-yard dash for defensive backs with an official 4.36 time on Tuesday at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
"The rest of the country is buzzing about Darius' performance at the combine, but we knew from the first day he stepped on campus that he possessed the talent, the desire and dedication that it takes to be one of the nation's elite players," said ICC head football coach Jon Williams. "We are extremely proud of Darius and his performance at the combine, but we are even more proud to be able to call him a part of the ICC Family."
His 14 reps on the 225-pound bench press ranked 12th amongst defensive backs while his 35.5-inch vertical jump was 15th, 124.0-inch broad jump was 14th, 6.90-second 3 cone drill time was 14th and his 4.21-second 20-yard shuttle was 16th.
As a freshman at ICC, Slay earned first-team Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) All-State and National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) All-Region 23 honors after recording 41 total tackles, 3 tackles for loss, one sack and forced two fumbles after only playing five games for the Indians.
After his stellar freshman season, the Brunswick, GA native earned JC Gridwire Pre-Season Second-Team All-American honors heading into his sophomore season.
"Darius had that ability that you can't coach players to have," said ICC defensive back coach Tyrone Fox. "He has a nose for the football with a mentality that anytime the ball is in the air it's his football and he's going to go get it... it all came natural to him, but he still had a drive to get better and was always going the extra mile to keep improving."
During his final season in Fulton, Slay recorded 32 total tackles, one tackle for loss, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery while hauling in three catches for 63 yards and a touchdown along with returning eight punts for 99 yards and a touchdown to earn MACJC first-team All-State honors on defense and special teams after playing in all nine games for the Indians.
Slay, who originally committed to Mississippi State out of high school, honored his original commitment by signing with the Bulldogs after getting offers from Kentucky, Georgia and Oklahoma State.
As a junior, he saw action in all 12 games and the Music City Bowl on special teams and in a reserve role as a defensive back for the Bulldogs. He had 23 total tackles, four pass breakups and returned an interception for a touchdown.
As a senior, he started at defensive back in all 13 games and recorded 40 total tackles, six pass breakups and five interceptions with one returned for a touchdown to be selected to the Coaches All-SEC second-team.
Slay was thought to be a mid-round pick, but after his speedy performance in Indianapolis experts are predicting him to move up the boards with the 2013 NFL Draft less that two months away.