LEXINGTON, Ky. – The 2009 and 2010 Kentucky football seniors put their physical abilities on display Wednesday morning at the annual “Pro Day” workouts for professional scouts.
Representatives of 15 National Football League teams, along with the combine scouts for the entire NFL and United Football League, put the Wildcats through their paces. The 2009 seniors, the first UK class to go to four-straight bowl games, were tested in the 40-yard dash, vertical jump, agility drills, various position-specific drills and the 225-pound bench press. The upcoming seniors for the 2010 season were tested in the 40-yard dash.
Five of the ’09 seniors, fullback John Conner, linebacker Micah Johnson, cornerback Trevard Lindley, linebacker Sam Maxwell and defensive tackle Corey Peters, had been worked out in February at the official NFL Combine. Those players were on hand today for additional evaluation.
“One of the things that has changed over the years is the (increased) number of scouts that have attended in recent years,” Coach Joker Phillips said. “This is a day that helps our program. The current players observe and it helps them understand the level of training they need to succeed.”
Phillips noted that this is an area that Rock Oliver, the team’s new strength and conditioning coach, has made an impact.
“This game is so much mental and he helps a lot with their attitude,” Phillips said. “Having been with the Cincinnati Bengals the last six years, any time he talks about the NFL, they listen.”
The NFL Draft is scheduled for April 22-24. Phillips believes that the ’09 seniors will add to the success of the two previous UK senior classes. A total of 16 Wildcats have been drafted or signed as free agents over the last two years.
NOTE: Video of interviews with some of the Wildcats seniors is available on the “Cat Scratches” blog at www.UKathletics.com.
Lentz Moving to Linebacker; More Time at Fullback for Allen: Coach Joker Phillips also discussed an upcoming position change for spring practice, as junior Matt Lentz will move from safety to linebacker.
Lentz has played 25 games at free safety and strong safety the last two seasons, including six starting assignments. He has totaled 46 tackles, two interceptions and two pass breakups.
“We need to get faster on defense and this move will make us faster,” Phillips said. “Anytime you move a player closer to the ball, such as safety to linebacker or a linebacker to the defensive line, it helps you get faster.
“Matt gives us a guy at linebacker who will be strong and physical. He flies around and hits people. He reminds me of Jeff Snedegar (UK linebacker from 1996-99 who was known for his toughness), but Matt is probably a better athlete. Same type of attitude (as Snedegar).”
Phillips noted that when Lentz is in the game, the defense will have the pass-coverage benefit of having a former defensive back at linebacker.
The coach also announced that Moncell Allen will spend more time at fullback in the 2010 season. Allen has played tailback primarily the previous three seasons but has seen some game action at fullback. He will see additional work at fullback following the graduation of the team’s top two players at that position from last year, John Conner and A.J. Nance