February 12, 1999
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The three senior captains of Notre Dame’s 1997 football squad — defensive end Melvin Dansby, quarterback Ron Powlus and cornerback Allen Rossum — have been invited to participate in the National Football League’s Combine Timing and Testing February 5-9 at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis, Ind.
Dansby, a 6-4, 276-pounder from Birmingham, Ala., started all 13 games for the Irish in 1997, ranking second in minutes played among defensive players. He made 103 tackles, the first Irish lineman to surpass the 100 mark in tackles since All-American Ross Browner had 105 in the ’77 national championship season.
Dansby ranked second on the squad in tackles in ’97, was named the Notre Dame Lineman of the Year by the Moose Krause Chapter of the National Football Foundation and was voted the Nick Pietrosante Award by his teammates for his courage, dedication, teamwork, loyalty and pride. He earned honorable mention All-America honors from Football News for ’97.
Powlus, a 6-3, 225-pounder from Berwick, Pa., was a four-year starter for the Irish at quarterback, setting single-season records in ’97 for completions and attempts while hitting 182 of his 298 throws for 2,078 yards, with nine touchdowns and seven interceptions. Leading the Irish on four fourth-period game-winning drives in ’97, he established personal single-game highs with 31 completions on 43 attempts for 293 yards, all versus Purdue.
Powlus finished his Irish career as Notre Dame’s all-time leader in pass attempts (969), completions (558), passing yards (7602), touchdown passes (52), interception avoidance percentage (.0278), total offense attempts (1201) and total offense yards (7479).
Rossum, a 5-8, 179-pounder from Dallas, Texas, set an NCAA career record with nine returns for touchdowns (three interceptions, three punt returns, three kickoff returns). He started every game in ’97 at cornerback and 36 straight to finish his career. He ranked fourth nationally in kickoff returns in ’97 at 28.5 yards each after leading the nation in punt returns in ’96.
Rossum averaged 20.4 yards every time he touched the ball in ’97 and 23.3 yards per touch in his career. In ’97 he returned two kickoffs for TDs and one interception for a TD. In his career, he made 144 tackles and recorded 891 yards on kickoff returns, 427 yards on punt returns and 151 yards on interception returns.