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NFL Draft hopefuls LaDarius Hamilton, Mason Fine seek to take the next step in their careers

NFL Draft hopefuls LaDarius Hamilton, Mason Fine seek to take the next step in their careers

NFL Draft hopefuls LaDarius Hamilton, Mason Fine seek to take the next step in their careers
April 23
19:55 2020

With the 2020 NFL Draft kicking off on Thursday evening, former North Texas quarterback Mason Fine and defensive end LaDarius Hamilton have their eyes set on getting selected to play for an NFL franchise. The last North Texas alumnus to be drafted was Cody Spencer, a linebacker, who was taken in the sixth round with the 182 overall pick by the Oakland Raiders in 2004.

However, due to the social distancing protocols that have been implemented to fight the coronavirus pandemic, the NFL will hold its first-ever virtual draft. Several NFL draft prospects were also denied their pro days after the NFL canceled the events in response to the pandemic. With so many adjustments happening in response to COVID-19 it is unknown whether or not the lack of attention from NFL scouts could hurt Hamilton and Fine’s chances at getting drafted.

“It’s hard to say,” head coach Seth Littrell said. “Obviously, I wish [Hamilton and Fine] could have had the opportunities to go through with their pro days and getting around some different guys, teams and some interviews. So, that obviously couldn’t have hurt them but we’ll see how it affects them. To be honest with you I don’t know, I’ve never coached the NFL, I’ve never evaluated for an NFL team, so I don’t really know all their protocols.”

For the 5-foot-11-inch signal-caller, coaches and football scouts have overlooked him due to his height since his high school days. Despite this notion, Fine still managed to create a college career that lasted four seasons with him taking over as a starter as a true freshman. It ended with him throwing for 12,505 yards, 93 touchdowns, 34 interceptions while completing 62.1 percent of his passes.

Fine was recently spotted working out with New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees — who stands one inch taller than Fine — on April 13 according to a tweet from Tom Pelissero, a reporter for NFL Network.

“I heard Brees worked out with Mason…. but Sean (Payton) rarely tips his hand on prospects,” Mike Detillier, draft analyst for WWL radio and ESPN said in an interview with Sports Illustrated. “He did with me on Stephone Anthony (2015) and Alvin Kamara. And he spoke highly about Evan Engram but he’s good keeping things secret. Mason is a gunslinger. A groove type passer, gets hot, gets cold — but he can sling it. He’s just 5-11 — and played in an offense where they wing it out. I’ve watched him play a lot at North Texas. Late round prospect.”

Now for a much taller NFL prospect, LaDarius Hamilton. The 6-foot-2-inch edge rusher was the only North Texas athlete to receive an invite to this year’s NFL Scouting Combine. His results featured him posting a time of 4.89 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 27 reps for the bench press and 30 inches for the broad jump. The 4-3 base end was given an overall combine grade of a 5.40.

For the Corrigan, Texas native his four-year career with North Texas saw him garner a Conference USA All-freshman team selection after tallying nine total tackles and a sack. In 2018, he posted one of his best seasons in terms of statistics after registering 7.5 sacks in 13 games (11 starts), 33 tackles (16 solo) and 11 tackles for loss. Hamilton earned his second C-USA award that season after being named to the First Team All-Conference-USA selection.

The first round of the NFL Draft is slated to begin at 7 p.m. CT on Thursday, April 23 with rounds 2-3 on Friday (6 p.m. CT) and rounds 4-7 on Saturday (11 p.m. CT).

“Hopefully it’ll work out for the best and both of those guys can play,” Littrell said. “They get an opportunity and get a chance to get with the right team, they’re going to be successful.”

Featured Image: Senior defensive end Ladarius Hamilton yells after completing a sack at the game against Texas-El Paso on Nov. 2, 2019. Image by Jordan Collard

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Matt Suarez

Matt Suarez

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