INDIANAPOLIS – Gophers safety Tyler Nubin and tight end Brevyn Spann-Ford are carrying on lessons learned from former teammates who participated in the NFL scouting combine before them.

Both Nubin and Spann-Ford, who talked with reporters Thursday and are expected to participate in on-field drills on Friday at Lucas Oil Stadium, shed light on how former Gophers-turned-NFL-draft-picks are illuminating their paths forward.

The massive, 6-foot-7 Spann-Ford got a call Thursday morning from former Gophers and NFL tight end Maxx Williams. He also credited Ko Kieft, another former Gophers tight end now with the Buccaneers.

Nubin, the record-setting ball hawk, watched Bucs safety Antoine Winfield Jr.'s 2019 season with the Gophers as a wide-eyed freshman.

"I was just talking to him the other day," Nubin said Thursday. "It doesn't surprise me what he's been able to do in the league because I was able to see it firsthand: how he handled himself and how he carried himself in college. He was already a pro before he was a pro."

Nubin has a claim as the NFL draft's best safety after his program-record 13 interceptions in 55 games. While Nubin surpassed Winfield's nine interceptions with the Gophers, he's now chasing Winfield's NFL success.

"He definitely set the standard," Nubin said. "A lot of my game and how I approach the game came from Antoine Winfield Jr. ... The way he studies film, the way he attacks practice every day, just full-on 100 percent intensity. Like what you see on game day is how he is the other six days a week. I think that's really important to be like that."

Nubin and Spann-Ford have been rooming together at the players' hotel in Indy, where they debrief after long days of medical evaluations, formal and informal interviews with NFL executives and coaches, physical measurements and, starting Friday, on-field drills. They have been training together in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and share the same representation in VaynerSports.

"It's been a really full-circle moment for us," Spann-Ford said. "I remember he came in a semester after me. I remember his official visit and getting to meet him, and how far our relationship has grown on and off the field."

Spann-Ford was once a three-star recruit out of St. Cloud Tech, arriving in college as a lanky receiver. He developed into a 260-pound tight end well-equipped to do the blocking required for a run-heavy Gophers offense.

Spann-Ford, whose career-high 42 catches for 497 yards and two scores came in 2022, said he's looking forward to showcasing his route-running and mobility during Friday's drills. He intends to participate in everything asked of him.

"I feel like further and further we've gone in the combine process, there's a lot of people sitting out of things," he said. "But I just want to be here, embrace the moment. This is an opportunity you only get to do one time so I look forward to doing all the events."

Nubin sat out the Senior Bowl because of an undisclosed injury but said he's been "rehabbing" with the intention of running at the combine. Spann-Ford caught a touchdown from Oregon quarterback Bo Nix at the Senior Bowl, where he talked with evaluators from many NFL teams, including the Vikings.

Spann-Ford grew up a Vikings fan. He said staying in Minnesota "would definitely be a dream come true" if they drafted him.

Nubin hopes the NFL team that drafts him has the No. 27 available.

While talking to reporters on Thursday, Nubin wore a chain with a No. 27 pendant. He said that's honoring his late uncle, Steve King, who died in 2014. King played cornerback at Michigan and was instrumental in Nubin's life.

"He was really, really close with me and my family," Nubin said. "Coming up throughout my football career, he was at every single game almost. So when he passed away, I wanted to carry on his legacy."