Stanley Arukwe played just one year of college football, but his blazing speed caught the eye of NFL personnel.
Arukwe, who played receiver for Troy University last year, had calls after the NFL Draft from the Philadelphia Eagles, Tennessee Titans and Arizona Cardinals. One call stood out, though, and it was the one with Arizona. It eventually led to Arukwe signing a free agent deal with the Cardinals.
“I was happy my name was in the conversation with teams,” Arukwe said.
“Arizona’s wide receivers coach (Frank Reich) called me and said they really wanted me out there to come and compete for a spot. He said they think I have a lot of upside and so much potential and they need some more speed on their team.
“This wasn’t a scout or someone in the administration calling me, this was an actual coach. I took joy to that and had a gut feeling that Arizona was the place to go.”
Arukwe, listed at 6-foot and 184 pounds, has been training out in California. He is from Tracy, Calif., and spent two years running track at Modesto Junior College in Modesto, Calif., before transferring to Troy for track.
He ran track for two years, earning medals in the 2010 Sun Belt Championships in the 100-meters, 200-meters and 4X100-meter relay.
Arukwe is fast, running anywhere from a 4.19 to 4.29 (seconds), depending on the stopwatch, in his first run of the 40-yard dash at Troy’s Pro Day.
That run was with the wind, but it still caught the eye of scouts in attendance, many of whom were already familiar with Arukwe’s speed.
Strength and conditioning coach Richard Shaughnessy, who aids Troy players in trying to reach their professional goals, said 13 scouts timed his run.
“Thirteen stopwatches aren’t lying,” Shaughnessy said. “He's worked out for three or four teams and I’ve talked to at least 10 more about him. He’ll be in a camp for sure because of his speed.”
Arukwe didn’t even start practicing with the football team until last August. He earned a spot in the rotation, catching 12 passes for 231 yards. He caught four passes for 84 yards at Arkansas and four passes for 51 yards against UAB. His 51-yard reception set up a touchdown at FIU.
“I really never thought I’d have this opportunity,” Arukwe said. “I’m just thankful for the Troy coaches giving me a chance. I’m always striving to get better in everything I do and always trying to compete. I’m really, really happy to get this opportunity.”
Arukwe said his agent had sent in the paperwork for his contract. He said his next step with the franchise is likely to be at a May 10-12 minicamp.
Arukwe is the third Trojan from the 2011 team to be linked with an NFL team. Defensive end Jonathan Massaquoi was drafted in the fifth round by the Atlanta Falcons and offensive tackle James Brown was announced as a free agent signee by the Chicago Bears.