Notebook: Former Notre Dame LB Drue Tranquill embracing wild upcoming months

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

Drue Tranquill has plenty of uncertainty to deal with in the coming months.

In which round of the NFL Draft will the former Notre Dame linebacker be selected? Which team will take him? When will his wife give birth to their baby boy?

Tranquill at least has a rough timeline in front of him. After competing at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis the last few days, Tranquill returned to South Bend to be with his wife. That’s where he’ll stay leading up to Notre Dame’s Pro Day on March 20.

Then the NFL Draft is scheduled for April 25-27, and the baby is due in June. Seems pretty hectic, right?

“We have to figure out insurance,” Tranquill said. “We have to figure out where she’s going to be. It’s stressful. I could be in OTAs and then the baby’s on the way. It’s like, ‘Oh, man.’ We’re just going to have to trust the Lord on it.”

But the 6-foot-2, 234-pound Tranquill knows how to manage his time. A year ago, he was preparing for his final season at Notre Dame while also helping plan a wedding. He has a lot left to learn.

“That wedding planning was unreal,” Tranquill said. “You throw the baby in there, it kind of changes things. We have no idea what we’re doing. We’re excited nonetheless.”

Tranquill had much more certainty when it came time for his medical testing at the NFL Combine. After tearing the ACL in each of his knees in 2014 (left) and 2015 (right), Tranquill recovered to play in 38 consecutive games in his final three seasons for the Irish.

Tranquill played through a broken left hand and high ankle sprain last season, but his medical tests, which included MRIs on both of his knees, went smoothly.

“I didn’t have any nerves because I knew how good I felt,” Tranquill said. “I was like, there can’t be anything wrong.”

The injury history hasn’t been a topic in his meetings with teams, Tranquill said. They’re more interested in finding linebackers for the modern game. Tranquill knows his past experiences as a safety and his athleticism should allow him to find a role.

The demands of pass coverage shouldn’t be a question mark for Tranquill.

“That’s what makes me so complete as a football player is my understanding of that and the versatility I bring to the pass game,” Tranquill said. “It’s developing into a pass league … Your linebackers have to run.”

Tranquill showed he could do that on Sunday with a 40-yard dash of 4.57 seconds and a 20-yard shuttle of 4.14 seconds. Both times put him among the top third of linebackers at the combine.

Tranquill took a big step towards fulfilling the dream of playing in the NFL. It could have felt far away after his second knee injury in 2015, but he never lost sight of it.

“I knew I had to believe in myself and certainly that wasn’t all on my own,” Tranquill said. “I had a great family and my now-wife and great teammates and coaches to thank for that. It was always in the lens.”

Delay for Coney

Te’von Coney wasn’t quite ready to face the scrutiny of a clock and tape measure.

The former Notre Dame linebacker chose to skip the testing portion of the NFL Combine and only performed linebacker drills during the workout Sunday. Coney said he simply didn’t have enough time to prepare.

“I kind of started my process a little bit late due to the college playoff,” Coney said. “I made sure during college I only focused on being the best college player I can be. My process of looking for agents and where I was going to train at started later than most guys.”

The 6-foot-1, 234-pound Coney eventually found his way to Phoenix where he’s been training with EXOS. He’ll return there to get ready for Notre Dame’s Pro Day and finally put his testing numbers on paper.

“I only have one shot at this,” Coney said, “and I want to make sure when I go out on the field and I do anything, I want to give it my best shot. I want to make sure I’m 100 percent ready to do every event I do.”

Coney insisted that his health wasn’t an issue. But there’s no doubt that his testing numbers will be important. In the leadup to the NFL Draft, Coney needs to prove that he’s more than a run-stuffing linebacker.

That’s certainly what he does best, and there’s not much about the NFL Combine that allowed him to show that. It’s hard to replicate instincts in that setting, and Coney admits he’s an instinctual player.

“I understand the offense. I understand how linemen want to defeat you and where they’re going to be at,” Coney said. “Over a period of time being able to play, I have a really good feel of the game and where I need to be at to make a play.”

Coney’s film can only do so much talking for him. Come Pro Day, the spotlight will be on him.

“I’m going to go out there and show scouts that I have all it takes to be the best linebacker in this class,” Coney said. “I have all the necessary tools to play at the next level.”

Testing results

Former Notre Dame cornerback Julian Love didn’t flash in the 40-yard dash. His time of 4.54 seconds placed him 24th among the 32 participating cornerbacks at the NFL Combine.

That means his straight-line speed will continue to be a bit of a concern. But Love’s ability to change directions quickly was on display with good times in the three-cone drill and the 20-yard shuttle. Here’s how Love (5-11, 195) stacked up against the other prospects at his position.

• Three-cone drill: 6.72 seconds (3rd of 19 cornerbacks)

• 20-yard shuttle: 4.1 seconds (T-6th of 20)

• Bench: 14 reps (T-13th of 30)

• Vertical jump: 36 inches (T-21st of 27)

• Broad jump: 121 inches (T-19th of 28)

Former Notre Dame linebacker Drue Tranquill is preparing for the NFL Draft while also preparing to be a father.
Former Notre Dame linebacker Te’von Coney, right, runs a drill at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis, Sunday.

“That wedding planning was unreal. You throw the baby in there, it kind of changes things. We have no idea what we're doing. We're excited nonetheless."

Former Notre Dame linebacker Drue Tranquill