Combine close-up awaits former Ducks LB Lokombo

By Ryan Thorburn / The (Eugene) Register-Guard

Published Feb 19, 2014 at 12:01AM

At the combine

Three Oregon State players and six Oregon players will be participating in the NFL Combine this week.

OREGON

Taylor Hart DE

Josh Huff WR

Boseko Lokombo LB

Colt Lyerla TE

Terrance Mitchell CB

De’Anthony Thomas RB

OREGON STATE

Brandin Cooks WR

Scott Crichton DE

Rashaad Reynolds CB

The NFL Scouting Combine was made for guys like Boseko Lokombo. The former University of Oregon linebacker, who is a chiseled 6 feet 3 inches tall and 233 pounds, is looking to turn some heads during the annual pre-draft showcase in Indianapolis beginning later this week.

Lokombo is confident he will measure up well against other prospects in the physical feats — including the 40-yard dash, bench press, vertical jump and broad jump — at Lucas Oil Stadium.

“No question,” Lokombo said. “I feel like the combine is all about showcasing yourself and showing off, whether that’s your speed or your strength or whatever the case may be. It’s a time for me to show I belong at the next level.

“Personally, I have some goals I’ve been working on and want to accomplish. I’m just looking forward to that opportunity.”

Since making six tackles in the Ducks’ 30-7 victory over Texas in the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 30, Lokombo has been splitting his time between finishing up his Oregon coursework in Eugene and training at California Strength in the Bay Area.

Lokombo’s overall production in 2013 was not all that eye-catching — the fifth-year senior finished seventh on the Ducks with 63 tackles — but the athleticism certainly flashed at times. He produced a team-high seven quarterback hurries, seven tackles for loss, three sacks, a fumble recovery and an interception at outside linebacker.

The wild success of former Oregon teammate Kiko Alonso, second in the NFL’s 2013 defensive rookie-of-the-year voting with the Buffalo Bills, is inspiring to Lokombo entering the draft process.

“Kiko (almost) being the rookie of the year really helps Oregon nationally,” Lokombo said. “And I’m the next one up, so I’m excited.”

Lokombo also has a unique story.

He was born in the Congo, moved to Abbotsford, British Columbia, in 1996 and dominated high school football on both sides of the ball for one season at South Eugene High.

Last spring, the B.C. Lions selected Lokombo in the third round of the Canadian Football League draft.

“I feel like that’s awesome,” Lokombo said of already being coveted by one professional league before auditioning for the NFL. “I’m definitely a unique individual as far as being Canadian and being drafted already. But my goal is to play at the highest level.”

Lokombo said he has improved his diet and core strength over the last couple of months. He hopes to run a sub-4.6-second 40-yard dash when the linebackers take the field.

Other ex-Ducks invited to this year’s combine are defensive lineman Taylor Hart, wide receiver Josh Huff, tight end Colt Lyerla, cornerback Terrance Mitchell and running back De’Anthony Thomas. Three Oregon State players — wide receiver Brandin Cooks, defensive end Scott Crichton and cornerback Rashaad Reynolds — will join them in Indianapolis.

Lokombo’s current draft status is not particularly high — he is projected as a seventh-round pick or to be an undrafted free agent — but athletically he is a talent.

“I’m going to try and just to have fun with it. It’s a long process. It’s stressful, but it’s fun,” Lokombo said. “As long as I can show them that I’m healthy and having fun out there, that’s my goal. I’m not really worrying about making a squad or a depth chart right now.

“I feel like I’m going to turn some heads.”