football Edit

Combine results reflect positively, yet unsurprisingly, on Dwight Galt

When the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine came to a close Monday, Penn State had become the talk of Indianapolis. No team’s contingent posted a better collective performance than the Nittany Lions’ eight.

Penn State's assistant director for performance enhancement Dwight Galt III.

It was Penn State that produced, unsurprisingly, the best all-around running back, but also the most athletic tight end and some of the fastest, most explosive defensive backs at the Combine. In total, a PSU representative finished atop his position group at nine different events. That is more than any other school in 2018.

The biggest winner, however, is assistant director for performance enhancement Dwight Galt III and his team of strength assistants back home in the weight room of the Lasch Building. That’s where it all began and it’s also where many are set return now after the Combine to train for the on-campus pro day that is upcoming later this month.

Speaking to reporters in the days preceding the Combine, the sense of confidence radiating from Galt about his pupils who were set to partake in the next chapter of the path to the draft was almost palpable.

RB Saquon Barkley had been the poster boy ahead of the Combine, not just for PSU but for the NFL. Videos of sprints, power cleans and squats had already filtered out through social media over the course of his collegiate career, advertising Barkley's capabilities. Lesser known, at least on a national stage, were the gifts and abilities of the other seven who were about to unleash their skills.

“The whole country is kind of talking about Saquon, but for everybody here who has been watching, including you guys, it's kind of old hat for us,” Galt said last week. “We've already seen it. We're all excited. We're excited for him. We actually have eight guys in the combine, so we're actually real excited for all eight of those guys.”

As he should have been. While the general public had become familiar with Barkley, lesser known were his teammates – or at least their productivity in the weight room. Not to Galt, however.

When it was all finished, Penn State had been awarded 13 de facto medals, meaning a Nittany Lion football player finished in first-, second- or third-place at their respective position in any event. The next nearest teams (N.C. State, Oklahoma and UCLA) finished with just six total medals. It was the largest margin of victory at the Combine the past three years. Florida State came closest to matching the gold medal count with a total of four, compared to PSU’s nine.

Penn State at 2018 NFL Combine
40-yard dash 20-yard shuttle Vertical Broad Bench Press

RB S. Barkley

4.40 (2)

4.24 (8)

41" (1)


29 (T-1)

TE M. Gesicki

4.54 (T-1)

4.1 (1)

41.5" (1)

10'-9" (1)

22 (2)

WR D. Hamilton


4.15 (5)

34.5" (T-14)


3-cone drill

6.84 (7)

S M. Allen


4.32 (9)

37" (7)

10'-7" (7)

15 (T-15)

S T. Apke

4.34 (1)

4.03 (1)

41" (3)

10'-11" (4)

16 (T-11)

CB G. Haley

4.44 (T-9)

3.94 (T-1)


3-cone drill

6.51 (2)

15 (T-12)

CB C. Campbell






LB J. Cabinda





19 (T-14)

(#) = ranking among position group

While the result of Penn State’s eight participants might have caught some by surprise, those who have followed Galt’s work throughout the years, or have trained underneath him, find it more as an expectation.

"When we come in and get to perform and put our bodies to the test, we perform well,” said Jason Cabinda, who did not participate in drills due to an unspecified medical exemption. “Being from Penn State, Coach Galt does such a good job of pushing us to our limits."

Other former players weighed in via Twitter about Galt’s presence. Philadelphia Eagles receiver Torrey Smith played at Maryland in 2007-10 when head coach James Franklin was an assistant there. Likewise, Galt was the Terrapin’s strength and conditioning coach.

“Seeing these Penn (State) dudes shine is pretty cool, not because they are blessed but they are coached by a legend,” Smith wrote. “Diege Galt…the secret.”

During his time in Maryland, Galt helped groom a couple other Combine warriors in Vernon Davis and Darius Heyward-Bey. As a TE, Davis ran the 40-yard dash in 4.38 seconds and leaped a vertical jump of 42.0 inches. Heyward-Bey, a WR, ran the 40 in 4.30 seconds, the best at the combine that year, and the 20-yard shuttle in 4.18.

According to NFL Research, Barkley joined Davis as the only two players in the Combine since 2003 who weighed in at 230 pounds or more, ran the 40 in 4.40 seconds or faster and jumped at least 40 inches in the vertical.

During the broadcast on the NFL Network, analyst Mike Mayock reminded viewers of those predecessors.

“Penn State has lit this Combine up, from Saquon Barkley on forward,” he said. “I got a couple couple texts saying don’t forget when (Galt) was at Maryland, he had Vernon Davis and Darius Heyward-Bey, so apparently speed follows him around.”

And Galt, who focuses winter training 50 percent based on strength and explosivness the other 50 percent on speed and agility, will welcome some of his Nittany Lions back to campus this week as they train for the program’s NFL Pro Day on March 20 in Holuba Hall.

“We’re going to have 21 guys at our Pro Day and it should be a really, really good Pro Day,” Galt said.

Who’s to doubt him.