NFL teams show interest in ex-Wildcat star

Dalton Botts will graduate from the University of Miami on May 10 with a bachelor’s degree in criminology.

But before that day arrives, he’s hoping he’ll already have his dream job – in the National Football League.

The 2009 Taft High grad, who guided the Wildcats to a Valley championship his senior season, attracted the interest of a handful of NFL teams during a “Pro Day” event at the Miami campus in Coral Gables, Fla.

Scouts representing 30 of the 32 NFL teams and two Canadian teams watched 19 athletes, including 12 Hurricane seniors, showcase their skills.

Botts was pleased with his audition.

“I thought it went really well,” he said Tuesday morning tossing a football around as he hung out at his family’s gym (Samson’s) in Taft during spring break.

In addition to punting, he took part in some of the other drills the pro scouts put the hopefuls through.

“I did well in the vertical jump, ran the 40 and did the bench press,” he said.  “I wanted to show them I could do more than just punt – that I’m an athlete.”

After doing those things, he rested a bit while other position athletes performed, then returned to the field with a bag of footballs to see if anyone was interested in his punting.

They were.

One of the Pro Day leaders told him: “You get five punts.  Give me your best five punts.”

The pressure was on.

“I did really well,” Botts said.  “I felt really good.  I was on that day.”

That caught the attention of others.

“Then some of the other scouts came over and asked me to punt.”

A dialog began.

“They asked me to do things like directional punting, kicking to the sideline, things like that,” he said.  “I actually kicked quite a lot for them.  In fact, I had a sore hamstring the next day.”

Teams that expressed an interest include the San Francisco 49ers, St. Louis Rams, Denver Broncos, Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs.

Botts had previously heard from the Miami Dolphins.

“I’ve been invited to work out with the Dolphins,” he said.  

That will take place April 4 at the team’s training camp not too far from the UM campus and a place the Hurricanes once practiced.

“We actually went there to practice once when we had thunder and lightning on campus,” Botts said, because the Dolphins training facility includes an indoor practice field.

After that he’ll have to wait to see if his name comes up in the NFL draft April 25-27, which will be televised live on the NFL Network.
In the meantime, Botts will keep in touch with his agent – Alex Gavilla of the Epic Agency.

The NFL hopeful did a recent photo shoot and an autograph event for Total Nutrition, a New York-based vitamin supplement and health food company.

“That was pretty cool,” Botts said.

So would a call from the NFL.