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by Frank Aceto
Associate Sports Editor
When Ron Wright recently received a questionnaire about former Hudson High School football standouts Mike Niam and Brian Winters, he needed to ask his pupils a very important question.
"How many lies do you want me tell them?" Wright asked jokingly.
If Wright, the head football coach at Hudson, was going to tell any lies, he certainly had to search for one.
Both Niam and Winters have been trying to make lasting impressions on NFL scouts as they prepare for the NFL Draft, which is scheduled to take place April 25 at 8 p.m.
Niam, an inside linebacker, and Winters, an offensive lineman, recently concluded stellar collegiate careers.
Niam played at Wofford University (S.C.) and Winters played at Kent State University.
Niam is scheduled to participate in a regional combine March 17 in Atlanta. He recently showcased some of his skills for scouts during Wofford's Pro Day and is expected to participate in another Pro Day at Coastal Carolina (S.C.) in the near future.
"I was excited and nervous the first time I did it," Niam said. "If I do well at the regional combine, they send you to a super-regional combine."
Niam, who also spent several weeks with Bommarito Performance Systems in North Miami Beach, Fla., has held his own thus far.
He ran a 4.7-second 40-yard dash on a soft field and did 25 repetitions on the bench press. During one of his workouts in Florida, Niam ran a time of 4.59.
"The Pro Day at Wofford went really well," Niam said. "I'm pretty satisfied with most of my numbers. I know I can get better at a couple of things."
Niam, an All-American, finished with 49 tackles and one sack for Wofford despite facing double- and triple-teams in 2012. The Terriers finished 9-4.
Niam also suffered a knee injury earlier in the season and had multiple knee injuries during his career at Wofford.
These days, though, Niam is 100-percent healthy .
"Everything is good now," Niam said. "I haven't had any problems."
Niam enjoyed much success as a member of the Hudson football team. The 2008 Hudson graduate led the team with 95 tackles during his senior year.
"What people don't understand is that Mike could really run," said Hudson head football coach Ron Wright, who was the linebackers coordinator when Niam played. "He was never afraid of lifting weights. He's an excellent player and an excellent athlete."
Wright knew there was something special about Niam during his sophomore year at Hudson.
"I remember we decided to put him in," Wright said. "He was this tall, skinny kid. There were some grumblings on the field from some of the other players, but I told them: Mike Niam was going to play."
Now, Niam and Winters could be the second and third players, respectively, in the last two years to be play on Sundays. Offensive lineman Bill Nagy, a 2006 Hudson graduate, is a member of the Detroit Lions.
"Can you imagine having Billy Nagy, Brian Winters and Mike Niam from little old Hudson, Ohio in the NFL?" Wright asked. "That would be a spectacle."
Niam knows he has work to do if he wants to fulfill his dream. He also knows he deserves this opportunity just as much as anyone.
"I'm pretty comparable to the top guys at the combine," Niam said. "I'm definitely confident in myself. I'm not overwhelmed."
Because of his performance at the NFL Regional Combine in Atlanta Mike has been invited to the Super Regional NFL Combine at Cowboys Stadium to be held April 7-8. It can be seen on the NFL Network and NFL.com. There will be coaches, GM's and scouts from every NFL team in attendance.
Excellent article, great story! Best of luck to both of you. (I know, luck has nothing to do with it, you earn it!)
Excellent article Mr. Aceto! I am a writer for Sidelines. Would you mind if I feature your article in a post there? You and Hudson Hub-Times get full credit as the post contains a thumbnail and link to your article.