LEXINGTON, Ky. – Thirteen former University of Kentucky football players put their skills on display for NFL scouts Friday morning during the annual Pro Day held at the Nutter Field House in Lexington.
Players went through various drills and workouts such as: vertical jump, shuttle runs, 10-, 20- and 40-yard dash, bench press and positional drills for scouts representing 20 NFL teams and one arena football team.
Former Wildcats on the offensive side of the ball included running backs Jonathan George and Raymond Sanders, fullback Cody Jones, wide receiver Muhammad Saifullah and tight ends Jordan Aumiller and Anthony Kendrick. From the defensive unit, defensive tackles Mister Cobble and Donte Rumph, linebacker Avery Williamson and punter Joe Mansour put their skills to the test. Seniors from the 2012 team who joined the workout were running back CoShik Williams, wide receiver Aaron Boyd and cornerback Cartier Rice.
Scouts began the morning with the vertical jump before transitioning into the 40-yard dash and shuttle runs. Six Wildcats then went through the bench press and then finishing the workout with position drills. Fullback Cody Jones, a Williamsburg, Ky., native posted the best mark on the bench press with an impressive 29 repetitions.
A large gathering of players and staff from the current UK football team were also in attendance to support their former teammates, as well as Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops.
“I’m proud of these guys, which is what I’ve said all along,” said Stoops who is entering his second year at the helm. “It’s a very good group. I love these guys, they put their heart and soul into this program and they really embraced us and the new coaching staff during the change. None of these kids asked for that. It’s never easy for the seniors to come in and deal with a new coaching staff and have to learn a new system, but they’ve been very good, worked hard and I’m very proud of these guys. They are doing very well in representing us the right way.”
After working out at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis last month, Williamson returned to Lexington to run through positional drills for the scouts this morning. The Milan, Tenn., native did not repeat any of the workouts such as bench press, vertical jump or 40-yard dash, after he was pleased with the results from the Combine. Williamson was clocked at 4.66 seconds in the 40-yard dash, while posting the third-best time out of all linebackers with a 20-yard shuttle time of 4.07 seconds. He also recorded 25 reps on the bench press and 30.5 inch vertical jump.
Following today’s workout, the two-year All-Southeastern Conference linebacker said he had received positive feedback from the NFL scouts and remains positive about his outlook in the NFL.
“I thought today went pretty well,” Williamson explained. “At the beginning it was kind of shaky just trying to get used to the drills because the scout had me doing some new things, but the scout said I did really well.”
When asked about comparing today to the NFL Combine last month, Williamson said it was nice being back in Lexington going through drills with his former teammates and the nerves weren’t nearly as high as they were in Indianapolis. Now comes the waiting game, as Williamson and the 12 other Wildcats look forward to draft day or a free-agent contract.
“I will try not to think too much or get upset about rounds,” said Williamson about the nerves leading up to the NFL Draft. “It’s all about mini-camp and how that goes, so I just try not to think about it too much. From here on out I have to stay in shape and stay busy.”
Having only coached Williamson for one season, Stoops can see NFL in his former linebacker’s future and knows he has what it takes to compete at the next level.
“It’s no mystery that he’s probably our top prospect,” Stoops said. “He’s done right every minute that he’s been here. I know prior to me being here that he’s done the right thing. He’s always worked hard, set a good attitude and I know since the minute we stepped on campus he’s represented us the right way. He’s a great leader. He does well on the field, off the field and we’re wishing him well.”
Williamson will look to join the likes of former Wildcats to come before him in an elite fraternity known as the National Football League come the second weekend of May when the NFL Draft is held in New York City. The first round takes place Thursday, May 8, followed by the second and third rounds on Friday, May 9. Rounds four through seven will be held Saturday, May 10.