Due in part to the sanctions, Troy Apke played as a true freshman in 2014. Known for his blazing speed coming out of high school, Apke was originally a wide receiver prospect. However, the early receiving depth chart was stacked, forcing Troy to make the early switch to the defensive backfield. He spent most of his first two seasons on special teams, while gaining valuable reps on defense as he went.
With the departure of Malik Golden following the 2016 season, Apke seized hold of the strong safety position opposite Marcus Allen. There were many who were concerned that Troy would be a liability, but rather quietly, Apke put together an incredibly solid senior season. Troy started 12 games, mustering 55 tackles, one interception, and five passes defended.
His sure tackling and speed garnered him honorable-mention All-Big Ten honors from the media, and earned him a spot in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl - where he was named MVP. He was also chosen to attend the NFL Combine, where he showed out, posting a 41-inch vertical jump, 131-inch broad jump, and - most notably - a 4.34-second 40 yard dash.
What You’re Getting
Despite his impressive performance at the Combine and at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, scouts are still not very high on Troy. They cite some hesitancy in pass coverage, and question his tackling ability (I know, no one ever said NFL scouts were that good at their jobs). However, the general consensus is that Apke should make it into a NFL training camp this summer, leading to the conclusion that he may be a late round flyer, or end up undrafted.
Wherever he lands, Troy will have to fight for a role on a pro team, and may have to go back to his early special teams roots. He’s shown he has no problem doing just that, biding his time, and learning. Here’s hoping Mr. Apke has his name called this weekend.