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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Baxter battles injury

Baxter battles injury

Brooks Reed played in the heralded Senior Bowl, Ricky Elmore and Adam Grant stood out in the East-West Shrine Game and even Nic Grigsby found his way to the Eastham Energy All-Star Game.

On top of that, Reed, Elmore, Grant and D’Aundre Reed all received NFL Combine invites. Between the all-star games and the NFL Combine, those former Arizona standouts and current draft prospects are poised to gain the necessary exposure to make their NFL dreams come true on April 28.

Former Wildcats’ center and ironman Colin Baxter, however, hasn’t been so lucky.

Baxter underwent knee surgery in early December to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee and will have to rely on strictly game film and Pro Day to entice NFL teams. Luckily for Baxter, he has 48 consecutive starts worth of film to make up for his lack of visibility, but he said he still thinks his draft stock may take a hit.

“”I’ll probably go a little bit later (in the draft) because of the knee,”” said the 6-foot-4, 310-pound center in a phone interview with the Daily Wildcat. “”I got a lot of film over the past four years and you know teams can look at that and pretty much know what they’re getting. Hopefully, it doesn’t hurt me too bad.””

Although he was considered to be one of the Pacific 10 Conference’s best centers and arguably the greatest in Arizona football history, Baxter’s bum knee has his draft stock falling. ESPN ranked him as the 16th-best center in the draft, and he’s been tabbed undersized by some analysts.

Baxter, however, scoffs. He said he believes he’s far better, and bigger, than the analysts think.

“”I think I’m one of the best centers in the draft this year so hopefully I’ll go high,”” he said. “”Maybe I won’t go so high and some team will get a good deal on me, who knows. I think I’m right up there with all the other centers. Some people have a perception that I’m small, but I’m 310 right now.””

Baxter said that his agent — Rob Slavin — has been talking to teams for him and “”getting some good feedback,”” and he has no preference in terms of where he wants to play.

“”I want to go wherever wants me because that’s where I’m going to get the best shot and get to show them what I can do,”” Baxter said.

Although the NFL Draft is the ultimate goal, Baxter’s health is priority No. 1. He’s  been in rehab for months and says he’s about “”80 percent”” healthy, but should be around 100 percent in a month — just in time for his March 12 Pro Day.

He’s been training at Rehab Plus and Fischer Sports in Phoenix, focusing on mostly strength and range of motion exercises. But the 23-year-old Baxter just recently started running again and is on track to return to football soon enough to finally show NFL teams what he can do.

“”It set me back a little bit but I’m not too worried about it because I can’t do anything about that,”” Baxter said of the injury. “”I’m just worried about getting ready for my pro day and showing up there and doing everything I can to get back to full speed.””

 

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