Tiffin University football coach Dave Walkosky has business cards displayed on the desk in his office. The cards are from scouts of nine NFL teams.
The scouts came to visit about running back Chris Ivory, who will enter the NFL Draft next month. He has an opportunity to be the program's first player to be selected in the draft.
Walkosky said representatives from other teams have come to talk about the 5-11, 225-pound running back, who came to the Dragons last August after three seasons at Division I Washington State. In 2007, he worked with Walkosky, who was Washington State's special teams coordinator and cornerbacks coach.
"I wasn't the running back coach, I had nothing to do with that," Walkosky said. "But if I was gonna be in charge of helping out with kickoff returns, and being in charge of special teams, I was gonna have the best guys out there, and he was, no doubt, the best guy to carry the football on kick returns.
"You could see that he was special."
Two years later, Walkosky learned Ivory was looking for a new school.
"When I had a chance to get him here, it was a no-brainer that I'll do anything I can to get him on our team," the coach said.
Ivory arrived in Tiffin about a week before the team's season-opener at Ferris State. After the first two games, Ivory was disappointed in how he was playing and approached Walkosky.
Walkosky said Ivory even offered to change positions to help the team.
"He said I was doing nothing wrong," Ivory said. "Just keep playing hard and everything will speak for itself."
As it turned out, Ivory played in only four games in 2010, but he ran for 227 yards on 39 carries, an average of 5.7 yards a carry. He ended the season as TU's second-leading rusher.
But his season was derailed Sept. 19 against Ashland. Ivory was having his best game of the season, and had a 43-yard run in the game. But he went down with a season-ending knee injury.
"That was tough; I just knew it was over for the rest of that year," Ivory said. "I knew after that I'd have to reconstruct my knee and rehab to get it back to normal, which would take a while."
Walkosky tried to get Ivory a medical redshirt, but it didn't work out. But despite the injury, the scouts kept coming.
Ivory went to work rehabbing. Tiffin went winless in '09.
"I still had thoughts in my head, I didn't know if I was gonna heal fast enough for me to prepare like I needed to," Ivory said. "Through the blessings of God everything came into place."
That happened Tuesday, when Ivory traveled to Toledo for a pro day.
Ivory ran a 4.47 in the 40-yard dash, the fastest time among the players at the event - which included University of Toledo players Barry Church and Stephen Williams, as well as Dragons receiver Greg Raspberry.
Walkosky said the injury made some wonder about Ivory's quickness.
"Well, 4.47 is unbelievably fast enough [for the NFL]," Walkosky said. "It's top five in the country of running backs who were at the combine. And he's bigger than all the guys, except for one guy, the kid from Fresno [Ryan Mathews]."
Ivory also had a vertical jump of 35 inches.
"I knew I had to perform, but it was never really heavy on my mind," Ivory said. "I just went out and did what I do best. Like I said, I've been doing it for a long time. I've trained for it for a couple of months."
While the performance certainly improves the chances of Ivory being drafted, Walkosky is sure of one thing.
"He's gonna be in the camp," he said. "Six weeks from now he's going to have an NFL helmet on."
Ivory said he thinks his name will be called in New York next month.
"I feel like I'll be drafted," Ivory said. "I'm just gonna keep my faith. I'm gonna stay humble. As of right now, I feel like everything will go well."
Ivory has a chance to join Nate Washington, another former Dragon, in the pros. Washington, a receiver who won two Super Bowl rings with the Pittsburgh Steelers before joining the Tennessee Titans last season, was an undrafted free agent out of college.
"I think that's huge. I think that's unbelievable, an unbelievable stepping stone to continue what Nate Washington's done," Walkosky said. "To have two guys in the NFL, from Tiffin, that's awesome."
Ivory is aware that he could be the first drafted Dragon.
"I would take pride in it," he said.
RASPBERRY JAMS: Raspberry, a 6-foot-3, 205-pounder, also performed at Tuesday's pro day.
"Steve Williams was at the combine and Greg fit right in with him - the Toledo receiver," Walkosky said. "Shoot, there's times Greg looked better than him."
Raspberry had 39 catches for 470 yards and six TDs for the Dragons last season.
YOU SAID IT: "It's been something I've wanted to do since I was a little kid, it's always been my passion. I started playing football when I was eight. I started playing when I was in second grade and I've been playing ever since. From that point there, I said I wanted to be a professional athlete after watching it on TV. Seeing Emmitt Smith and all these other great athletes, I thought it was cool, something I was good at." - Ivory, about playing in the NFL