Former Notre Dame DB Matthias Farley looks to make Pro Day statement

Mike Vorel
South Bend Tribune

On Thursday, the circus descends on South Bend. It comes complete with 16 meticulously scrutinized participants, with scouts from 32 professional football teams, with draft analysts and prognosticators and reporters crammed along the sidelines. It comes with media intrigue, a veritable sea of stopwatches and even a splash of Everett Golson, a ghost of Irish past.

Notre Dame’s Pro Day comes with questions, too.

What will Jaylon Smith do and say? Will KeiVarae Russell’s performance match his promises? Will Will Fuller and C.J. Prosise improve upon their impressive 40-yard dash times at the NFL Combine? What about Ronnie Stanley, Nick Martin and Sheldon Day?

It’s a day stock-full of storylines.

Matthias Farley wants to be one of them.

“I’m just trying to put myself in a good position to be in the conversation,” the former Notre Dame safety said with a chuckle. “I’ve been working really hard these last few months, so it’s an exciting time to show the world all the hard work I’ve been putting in. I just want to do my absolute best and let the pieces crumble where they may.”

Amidst the murky standing of Smith’s left knee, Stanley and Fuller’s first round prospects and Golson’s unexpected homecoming, it’d be easy for Farley to get lost in the shuffle. After all, the 5-foot-11, 210-pound defensive back started just three games in his fifth and final season in South Bend. He was a Notre Dame nomad, transitioning from safety to nickelback and back in his five-year career. He was not invited to the NFL Combine in Indianapolis last month, nor did he expect to be.

Notre Dame was represented by 10 players, but Farley wasn’t among them.

“I wasn’t really surprised,” he said of the combine snub. “If anything, it added a little more focus to what I was doing.”

While his teammates performed in Indianapolis, Farley remained at the same place he had been ever since Notre Dame fell to Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl on New Year’s Day — EFT Sports Performance in the shadows of Chicago. His goal there, more than anything, was to improve his speed — to prove to scouts on Pro Day that he can run with NFL receivers.

“(The workouts) are a lot harder than things I’ve been doing for the last five years, because you take a person like myself that’s been playing football for five years and you try to turn them into a track athlete in three months,” Farley said. “There’s a lot of workouts we’ve done to target different muscle groups to strengthen them. That in itself is difficult. I think everyone has really bought into it and gotten a lot out of the training we’ve put in.”

That training has been spearheaded by Kerry Neal, a former Notre Dame linebacker who serves as a trainer at EFT. He sees not only the work Farley has done in the last several months, but also the body of work he produced in the last several years. He points out that, regardless of position or playing time, Farley nabbed eight interceptions in his Notre Dame career. He was named a team captain prior to the 2015 season and the Special Teams Player of the Year at the end of it.

He was never flashy but always productive. Never a star, but always steady.

“Matthias is probably the most underrated player to ever come through Notre Dame,” Neal said. “People don’t give him enough credit for what he’s done for the university, for the team.

“Matthias, he’s going to shock a lot of people. He’s going to turn a lot of heads.”

If he does, Farley hopes to receive an invitation to an NFL camp this offseason — an opportunity to make a team and continue producing with subtle consistency.

He’ll compete in every drill, run his 40-yard dash, scratch and claw to become part of the conversation. He’ll showcase the transformation he’s made in three months and five years.

“I got to Notre Dame as a bright-eyed little guy who was kind of unsure of himself,” Farley said. “I didn’t really know how to navigate college football, let alone college football on a stage like the one Notre Dame plays on.

“I think I left a man and someone who’s confident in his abilities. I’m able to take whatever life throws at me and move forward.”

#Repost @progenex ・・・ We brought a few members of #teamPRGNX to @eftchicago to train with some of the best in the professional sports world! @mfarley41 is one of the top prospects for the 2016 @nfl draft, pictured here with the worlds fittest man @bsmit13. #progenex #progenexMOVE #EFTchicago

A photo posted by EFT Sports Performance (@eftchicago) on Feb 9, 2016 at 12:48pm PST

@k_neal56 Had our guys taking advantage of the nice weather before the snow today. Chicago- #Repost @mfarley41・・・ Working hard but having fun @chuck_reg @believe_41 @eftchicago #EFT #thatprogenexhattho @progenex

A video posted by EFT Sports Performance (@eftchicago) on Feb 24, 2016 at 5:19am PST


Twitter: @mikevorel

Notre Dame’s Matthias Farley (41) leaps in an attempt to block a pass by Stanford’s Kevin Hogan (8) during the second half of Notre Dame-Stanford NCAA football game on Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015, in Palo Alto, Calif. SBT Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN