LINCOLN — Rex Burkhead's checklist for the NFL Combine is rather lengthy.
It won't be enough for the former Nebraska I-back to just log the right times in his runs, his best heights and distances in the jumps and the most possible reps in the bench press.
It won't be enough for him to show he can do anything the other backs can do in position drills.
And it won't be enough to just say all the right things and make the best impressions in interviews with NFL teams.
As with everything he strived to do at Nebraska, Burkhead wants to be complete. He wants to do it all.
“I just want to have a solid performance,” Burkhead said. “I'm very confident right now in my abilities with all those things.”
Burkhead might have some ground to make up on other backs as he heads to Indianapolis after missing about half of his senior season with a knee injury. He is ranked No. 19 among running backs by Scott Wright of NFL Draft Countdown and No. 20 by NFLDraftScout.com.
But the 5-foot-11 210-pounder from Plano, Texas, believes he might already have done some of that the past six weeks in Davie, Fla.
Burkhead reported to Bommarito Performance Systems shortly after the Capital One Bowl and hunkered down with a singular purpose for the NFL Combine. He said owner Pete Bommarito's reputation with running backs in past years — among them Frank Gore, LeSean McCoy and Maurice Jones-Drew — led him to South Florida.
His strides, he said, have been significant ever since.
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“There are so many different things,” Burkhead said. “With my speed, I definitely feel good running, feel quick and fast. And I feel my body changing just because of all the meals provided.”
Burkhead said his diet has been completely organic with each meal measured down to the calorie. From pre- to post-workout shakes, everything has been scientifically manufactured by Bommarito.
Following the overall plan down to every last detail, Burkhead said, will help him look back without a single regret as he boards his flight Thursday.
“This facility, they prepared me in every single way, from massage to physical therapy to chiropractic care,” he said. “I had everything I needed to get my body in the best possible condition. I'm feeling good and just ready to roll.”
That confidence also extends to his left knee, which Burkhead injured in the Huskers' opening game last season. The MCL sprain caused him to miss all of six games and parts of three others, limiting him to 98 carries and 675 rushing yards — a significant dropoff from running for 1,406 yards as a junior.
The nature of business at the NFL Combine is that even the most healthy are closely examined, so Burkhead knows his knee will get more than just a once-over before he takes to workouts.
“I've heard things at the Combine where if you had something in the past, they're going to check it out as much as possible,” he said. “I'm sure I'll get an MRI and all that stuff. But I'm not too worried about it. It feels good. It feels as good as the other knee.”
Burkhead will go through the physical exams and interviews with NFL personnel on Friday and Saturday. The backs then take to the Lucas Oil Stadium turf on Sunday.
Burkhead knows one of the questions on him might be his athleticism, but said: “I really think I can probably surprise some people there.”
That goes back to being the total package. Running and jumping well. Catching the football and displaying his footwork in drills.
“Just (show) that I can do multiple things,” he said.
After the NFL Combine, Burkhead plans to return to Lincoln and train at NU, with his next target being the Huskers' pro day on March 7. Eventually he might take a closer look at NFL teams and think about which ones might be the best fit.
“But I watch NFL football and I do know some systems that would be wonderful to play for, especially with the coaches and staffs and running games that they have,” Burkhead said. “But I'd really love to play for whatever team will have me.”
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