Area players get opportunities to shine

It had already been a good two days for Diane Liste.

Mother’s Day was Sunday and then her birthday was Monday, so the mom of former Youngstown State University punter Nick Liste was enjoying life.

Nick made her birthday extra special.

The Detroit Lions invited Nick, a Niles High School graduate, to their minicamp this weekend in Detroit. Liste, one of the best punters in the FCS last season, said his agent received a phone call Monday morning to inquire about the 5-foot-10, 185-pound kicker.

“It was weird because over the weekend, my phone didn’t ring once,” Nick said. “My agent had gotten call later in the draft from Detroit that they might possibly be interested in bringing me up to minicamp for a tryout. We didn’t hear back from them, so we got a hold of them again, and they said they’d re-evaluate film and they’d let us know Monday morning. Sure enough, my agent got a call this morning and (Detroit) gave us the go and said they were going to fly me out for minicamp this weekend.”

Liste was one of three YSU players to get an invite to a rookie minicamp. Center Chris Elkins got a call from the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, while offensive tackle Kyle Bryant said there a few teams he could join, but the most interest is coming from the Jacksonville Jaguars.

“It’s still in the negotiation process,” the 6-7, 315-pound Bryant said Monday. “My agent is talking to like two or three other teams, but as of now I’m going to the Jags’ minicamp Friday. That’s who he’s negotiating with, but he has like two or three other teams on board that want to do something.”

Other area players to receive invitations to pro camps were Fitzgerald Toussaint, a former Liberty High School and University of Michigan running back who was contacted by the Baltimore Ravens; Tyler Scott, a former Howland High School and Northwestern University linebacker, was picked up by the Minnesota Vikings; and Luke Wollet, who played safety at Poland High School and Kent State University and hopes to do the same for the New Orleans Saints.

“I’m just hoping to get a spot somewhere, even if it’s not there (New Orleans),” Wollet said. “I just want to turn some heads. Even if they don’t have room for me, maybe they’ll talk good about to me to a different team. I’m just going down there, give a lot of effort and play hard and try to make things happen.”

A message left for Toussaint was not immediately returned Monday.

As of Monday night, no invitations were known to be extended to former YSU players Kurt Hess (quarterback) and Dale Peterman (corner), both of whom performed at YSU’s pro day in March. Five teams (Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers and San Diego Chargers) attended the pro day.