"I learned early in my dealings with David Bass to not doubt him," Western defensive line coach Wes Bell said when thinking of Bass' four seasons in black and gold.
Now Western's all-time sack leader (40.5 sacks at Missouri Western) gets to showcase his talent to the National Football League.
While most small school standouts will try to catch the eye of a team scout during college pro days, Bass gets the opportunity to show what he is made of among the best in college football at the 2012 NFL Scouting Combine.
"It's definitely a blessing," Bass said of the invitation to the combine. "I sit back and think about it all the time, just me getting the chance and the opportunity."
Right now Bass is training at Bommarito Performance Systems in Davie, Fla.
The professionals at Bommarito have him and other NFL Draft hopefuls working on conditioning, endurance and technique everyday from 6:30am to 5:00pm.
They even monitor what the athletes are eating. But it is a system that works. Fourteen Pro Bowlers in 2012 previously worked out at Bommarito, and Bass knows that everything he is doing is worth it.
"It's legit. For the most part I'm down here with a lot of Division I kids, a lot of great athletes that really made names for themselves, so it's good to be a part of this."
At 6 feet 5 inches tall, 275 pounds and running a 4.65 40-yard dash, Bass has the measurables to stack up to other defensive ends entering April 25th's draft, but some believe he also fits the mold of an outside linebacker.
"There are three or four teams thinking I could be a linebacker, other teams thinking I can have a hand down," Bass said. "Certain teams think I can get up to about 280 (pounds), some teams want to see me at 250, so it all depends. If I have the opportunity to get picked up at the next level I'm willing to do whatever it takes."
The St. Louis native anchored a defensive line that helped Western lead the MIAA in sacks last season with 31.
But the one intangible that Bell believes can will work in Bass' favor as the draft approaches isn't something highlighted on the field. It's his character.
"I told most of the guys that came through in recruiting that if I could raise my two boys and they could be like him, character-wise and the way he works," Bell said, "they would be awesome."
The NFL Combine is February 20-26. Defensive lineman and linebackers report on February 22nd.