Hayden Bauserman’s attempt at a professional football career hit a snag earlier this week when his anticipated participation at Shepherd University’s pro day fell through at the last minute. But the former Shenandoah University quarterback and Woodstock native has two more chances to showcase himself in front of professional scouts.
Bauserman confirmed on Wednesday that he’ll participate in the pro day at the University of Richmond on Tuesday and in the University of Virginia’s pro day Thursday, the latest steps in the dream-chasing process for one of Division III’s most prolific passers.
The 2014 Central High School grad said he’d planned on taking part in Shepherd’s pro day on Tuesday but found out on Monday night he was ineligible to participate because the Baltimore Ravens, the NFL team that Bauserman said was conducting the pro day, couldn’t work him out outside the state of Virginia.
“Coming from a small school, it’ll be tough regardless of what opportunity I get, but I’m just grateful to have been able to go through this experience, and it’s an experience that I’ll remember forever,” Bauserman said in a phone interview of the two upcoming pro days left on his calendar. “... Just going into pro day, obviously it’s a nerve-wracking thing. It’s a big deal. It’s like a job interview. Just kind of going in and having fun and enjoying it because after these two pro days I’ll never go to a pro day again. You get one shot at it and you just gotta enjoy the moment and go out and do the best you can.”
Bauserman, the 2018 Old Dominion Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year, plans to get the full pro-day experience at Richmond, where he said he’ll do testing in the vertical jump, broad jump, 40-yard dash, 20-yard shuttle and L-drill in addition to throwing exercises. At Virginia, he only plans to throw.
To prepare for his time in front of scouts, Bauserman spent six weeks between January and February training at Grossetti Performance in New Castle, Pennsylvania, a facility that offers a pre-draft workout program for NFL hopefuls.
“This is probably the best my body’s ever felt,” said Bauserman, who added that Grossetti Performance owner Terry Grossetti sent him home with a training schedule that he’s maintained after leaving the facility on Feb. 22.
A pair of before-and-after photos that Bauserman posted on social media last month show a more-toned version of the 6-foot-3, 220-pound QB.
“The physique change kind of helps with your confidence too,” Bauserman said. “A big thing with NFL scouts is just how you look. You’ve gotta look the part, especially at pro days. You’re not in pads or anything like that, so physically you gotta look like you’re in shape and you’ve been working hard.”
Landing a spot on a professional roster is about more than simply looking the part, however, and Bauserman said he’s lowered his testing times and is physically stronger after his six weeks at Grossetti, where he said he trained alongside former Virginia receiver Olamide Zaccheaus – who helped get Bauserman into U.Va.’s pro day, the QB said – and other Division I players from schools such as Florida State and Mississippi State.
“It was just a great experience for me overall to just go up there, get experience with really good receivers and get to train with trainers who are kind of the best in the business and trained a lot of NFL talent,” said Bauserman, adding that Grossetti Performance also provided athletes with a chef who prepared all of their meals.
“In college it’s tough, especially for a Division III strength program,” he added of the different level of training he received at Grossetti. “There are 21 teams (at Shenandoah) and we have one strength coach who’s gotta get all those people through there, so in college there’d be lifting groups with 40 or 50 guys. … But at Grossetti there’s three or four trainers and there’s only eight guys working out, so you get a lot of individual personalized attention. It’s not really focused, especially at this level, on a lot of weight and how much you can move. It’s kind of just perfect form and just really getting guys ready and get them more explosive.”
As a senior in 2018, Bauserman completed 355 of 555 passes for 3,832 yards and 43 touchdowns for Shenandoah, breaking the ODAC’s single-season records in all four categories. The latter two marks led Division III at the end of the regular season. He’s also the conference’s record holder in career touchdown passes (132), a mark that led all active college football players at any level last season, according to a December news release from Shenandoah University.
Bauserman won the Lanier Award in December as the best Division II/III/NAIA college football player in Virginia, and he was one of four finalists for the Gagliardi Trophy awarded to the best player in Division III football.
Bauserman graduated in December after throwing for 12,475 yards in four seasons with Shenandoah. He signed with agent Brian Brundage of Worldwide Career Management, who is also an agent for former Shenandoah defensive end Jake Payne. Payne played two seasons in the Arena Football League and is now in the Alliance of American Football, an eight-team professional league in its first season.
During the 2018 season, Bauserman met with and threw in front of scouts for the Washington Redskins and the Ravens, and had “eight or nine” NFL teams request film of the Shenandoah QB, he said in November. Should Bauserman’s NFL dreams fail to materialize – 12 Division III players, all non-quarterbacks, made a 53-man roster at the start of the 2018 NFL season, according to the NCAA’s website – he could have other options between the AAF, the Canadian Football League, the Arena League and the XFL, which is set to return in 2020.
“I feel like this is probably one of the best times to get into professional football. There’s so many different options,” Bauserman said. “For me, it’s not NFL or bust. If I don’t get in the NFL, it won’t be the end of the world or anything. There’s so many different avenues and opportunities.”