By Dave Ruthenberg, Sports Editor
Enid News & Eagle
Enid football has sent 10 former Plainsmen on to the NFL, but only three (John Holt, Lydell Carr and Shawn Mills) since 1989.
NFL hopeful Trent Dupy would like to end that dry spell.
“I didn’t realize it’s been that long,” Dupy said. “I definitely would like to change that streak and become one of those role models for future guys.”
Dupy, a 2009 Enid High School graduate who just finished up a stellar collegiate career at the University of Tulsa, also gets a chuckle when recalling a particular memory regarding the “Plainsmen in the Pros” sign that sits behind one of the end zones at D. Bruce Selby Stadium and bears the names of former Plainsmen who played professionally.
“I remember coach Dudley Darrow would, whenever he got irritated with someone, he would make them run and touch that sign,” Dupy recalled with a laugh, although he denies personally ever having to perform such punishment duty himself.
“That would be so cool to have my name on that sign,” Dupy said. “I wouldn’t trade my experience at Enid for anything. Whenever I get back to Enid I try to mingle with the coaches who are still there from my days, guys like (former head coach and current EHS vice-principal) Tommy Parker and Darrow really helped my career.”
Dupy was named second-team All-Conference USA at center following his senior campaign this past season and then was invited to play in the Raycom Classic all-star football game in January in Montgomery, Ala.
“That was a great experience,” Dupy recalled about the Raycom game. “The practices were bigger than the game. The NFL scouts really watched you in practice.”
The scouts also were out in force Thursday as the University of Tulsa hosted pro day with 16 NFL scouts, including representatives from the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens as well as the New York Jets, Kansas City Chiefs and Indianapolis Colts, among several others.
Pro day is an opportunity for NFL prospects to demonstrate their wares in a controlled setting. Dupy was among several players to participate.
And how did he do?
“I performed at peak in everything, I did really well,” Dupy said. “I really owe a lot to my trainer.” Dupy’s trainer is former Tulsa fullback Michael Britton.
While most of the official numbers weren’t yet available, Dupy said he was able to bench 29 reps and had a vertical of 28 inches. He also measured out at 6-feet, 282 pounds, which is slightly undersized for an NFL center.
“I’m not the cookie-cutter, 6-foot-4, 300-pound center, but there are guys in the NFL with similar size like Jeff Saturday (a 14-year veteran).”
Dupy is realistic about his NFL prospects. While not expecting to be drafted in April, he does believe there is a team for him.
“I’m going be an after-draft guy,” Dupy said. “I expect I will be an undrafted free agent who hopefully will get a phone call after the draft and get invited to camp.” Even if drafted, centers usually are late-round picks.
He said he has personally spoken to scouts from the Eagles, Ravens and Cowboys who like his ability and work ethic.
“I love the game and will do anything it takes to win,” he said in describing what would make him attractive to a team. “I’m a blue-collar guy that works hard.”
He also said a lot will depend on finding a team that plays a scheme that supports his strengths and he is looking for a little love too. “I’m looking for a team that will fall in love with me.”
Dupy also doesn’t see having played at Tulsa as opposed to playing for a school that plays in one of the so-called Big Six conferences as a detriment to getting noticed.
“Tulsa has produced a few NFL players, plus if you are NFL-caliber, the NFL is going to find you,” Dupy said.
If Dupy needs an example of perseverance he has one in his workout partner, former Golden Hurricane quarterback GJ Kinne.
“He (Kinne) just signed a two-year deal with the Eagles after being released by the Jets,” Dupy said. “He told me don’t get discouraged if your phone doesn’t ring right away.”
Dupy — who is represented by agent Patrick Cobbs out of Dallas, a Shawnee native who was all-state at Tecumseh, set the all-time rushing mark at North Texas and spent six years in the NFL after being an undrafted free agent —said he is prepared if his NFL dream doesn’t come to fruition.
“Making it in the NFL would be a huge deal for me and my family,” Dupy said. “But if I don’t make it, I will be all right.”
Dupy is one class short of his degree, which he currently is completing. He has a double-major in sports science and education and plans to enter graduate school. He also is doing some student teaching and said he would, if the NFL doesn’t pan out, love to stay at Tulsa and become a graduate assistant.
“I definitely would like to coach some day,” he said.
“Whatever I wind up doing, playing in the NFL, coaching or going into business, I am going to approach it all with the same passion and hard work. That’s the only way I know how to do things.”Ù