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After majoring in chemistry at UR, pro-day testing may send Tafon Mainsah to another field

March 12, 2018 GMT

Tafon Mainsah majored in chemistry, and minored in mathematics, at the University of Richmond. Finding a job as a forensic chemist, a path he views as intriguing, would probably not be a problem for Mainsah. He graduated in December with a 3.01 grade-point average.

First, there is some dream-chasing to be done.

Mainsah, a four-year regular as a Spiders’ cornerback and a team captain last season, will report to Robins Stadium Tuesday morning for UR’s pro day, his opportunity to earn an invitation to an NFL training camp later this year.

Most Division I programs have pro days, during which outgoing seniors with pro potential perform a combine-like battery of tests before a band of NFL scouts that travels from campus to campus.

“You’re only young once,” said Mainsah, whose first name is propounded tuh-FON. “The (non-football) job is always going to be there. There’s always going to be someone looking for a new employee. But this window of playing football, it’s only here for a little bit.

“And when it’s gone, it’s gone.”

Since his senior football season ended, Mainsah has been training for this pro day. He worked out with professional supervision in Charlotte, his hometown, and at UR. Mainsah also has kept a part-time job on campus.

Included in Richmond’s group Tuesday will be quarterback Kyle Lauletta, named most outstanding player at the Senior Bowl. Lauletta, who participated in the NFL Combine, is projected as middle-round selection in April’s NFL Draft.

Other players expected to be involved in Tuesday’s pro day at UR are much longer-shots than Lauletta. Mainsah will be joined by former Spiders teammates Garrett Hudson (tight end), Lemond Johnson (defensive back), Graham Latham (long-snapper, Monacan High), and Alex Light (offensive lineman).

Also taking part will be Richmond seniors from two seasons ago, linebacker Omar Howard (Midlothian High), offensive lineman Thomas Evans, and linebacker Selton Hodge.

“We’re lucky to have Kyle. He’s going to be bringing in a lot of (scouts),” said Mainsah. “I’m hoping that I can have one guy be impressed with what I put up. That’s all I need.”

Players will run the 40-yard dash and perform the 20-yard shuttle, the broad jump, the three-cone drill and bench press, and go through other drills. Lauletta will throw to familiar receivers.

Mainsah, who observed UR’s 2016 and 2017 pro days, acknowledged Monday that he is nervous, “but we’ve run 40s, we’ve done the bench-press at Richmond. This is the kind of stuff I excel at,” he said. “I’m hoping that God’s gifts just kick in.”

Even before Mainsah goes through Tuesday drills, scouts who have done film and background homework on this 5-foot-11 197-pounder will arrive at UR impressed. NFL defensive schemes will not be too difficult for Mainsah to rapidly absorb. “Quantitative methods of chemical analysis” was one of the courses he took as part of his chemistry track at UR.

“That’s a pretty strenuous major because not only do you have the in-class work, but those labs are about three hours apiece,” said Mainsah. “And then with the (football) practice and film watching …

“I’m good with time-management. I’m not scared of hard work.”