NFL combine reveals most prospects shorter than listed by schools
College football programs often make their players seem larger than life. One of the ways they do that—aside from selling their jerseys in stores or plastering giant posters of them around the stadium—is by literally making them bigger on the roster.
The NFL Scouting Combine reveals a lot about NFL prospects, including the fact that many of them are not as tall or large as their colleges would have us believe. SI.com went through all 332 players participating in the combine and found that a majority were found to be shorter—usually by one inch—at the combine than their college roster measurements indicate.
We counted 28 players that were two inches shorter (and one that was surprisingly two inches taller) than their listed heights. Here are some of the notable players with at least a two-inch discrepancy between their college listings and combine measurements.
Eric Murray (CB, Minnesota)
The defensive back from Minnesota is listed at 6'0'', but when he measured in at the combine, he was only 5'10''. For a player in the secondary, that's a pretty big difference. He finished his 2015 campaign with one interception, a team-high three forced fumbles and 66 total tackles.
NFL size comparisons: Josh Norman (6'0''); Adam Jones (5'10'')
Jeremy Cash (S, Duke)
There's no question that Cash was a dominant safety while playing at Duke, but he wasn't quite the 6'2'' that the Blue Devils made him out to be. At the combine, he stood just 6'0". The consensus All-America safety had a standout senior season, totaling 101 tackles, 2.5 sacks, eight quarterback pressures and three forced fumbles.
NFL size comparisons: Harrison Smith (6'2''); Kenny Vaccaro (6'0'')
Shawn Oakman (DE, Baylor)
Rey Del Rio/Getty Images
Oakman made national headlines after appearing for the coin toss in the 2015 Cotton Bowl against Michigan State. His rolled up jersey exposed cut abs, and he towered over everyone else on the field. Even opposing coaches are scared of him. But while Baylor listed Oakman at 6'9,'' 275 pounds, he "only" stood 6'7'' and 269 pounds at the NFL Scouting Combine.
NFL size comparisons: Ed "Too Tall" Jones (6'9''); Ted Henricks (6'7'')
Trevone Boykin (QB, TCU)
The quarterback from TCU was one of the most dynamic in the country, able to move the ball with his legs and his arm. According to the TCU roster, he's 6'2''. But at the NFL combine he stood 6'0''. Either way, he was one of the best quarterbacks in college football over the last two seasons.
NFL size comparisons: Tony Romo (6'2''); Drew Brees (6'0'')
Ronald Blair (DE, Appalachian State)
Several smaller schools overestimated their athletes, but none did so more than Appalachian State with Ronald Blair. Of all the players participating in the combine, he was the only one a full three inches shorter than his height listing on the team roster. He was listed at 6'4" on the team roster, but measured in at 6'1'' at the combine.
Blair had a team-high 19.5 tackles for loss, including 7.5 sacks and one interception during his senior campaign.
NFL size comparisons: DeMarcus Ware (6'4''); Dwight Freeney (6'1'')
KeiVarae Russell (CB, Notre Dame)
One thing we learned from combing through this data is that Notre Dame is by far the most honest school when it comes to measuring their players. The program is the only one to measure down to the nearest quarter-inch, and the Fighting Irish are generally accurate in their measurements.
KeiVarae Russell is an unusual case, because he was actually measured taller at the combine than on Notre Dame's roster. Maybe the cornerback grew two inches during his senior year of college, or maybe Notre Dame was trying to trick its opponents into thinking he was smaller than he really is, but either way, he stood at 6'1'' at the combine, a full two inches taller than his listed height on Notre Dame's roster. The corner finished the 2015 season with two interceptions.
NFL size comparisons: Patrick Peterson (6'1''); Leon Hall (5'11'')