LEXINGTON, Ky. – The 2011 University of Kentucky football seniors put their physical abilities on display Wednesday morning at the Nutter Field House as the UK football team hosted its annual “Pro Day” workouts for professional scouts.
Representatives of 23 National Football League teams, along with an NFL Combine scout and members of the Canadian Football League, put the Wildcats through the workout. The group of seniors, who helped Kentucky achieve great success on the field, were tested in the 40-yard dash, vertical jump, agility drills, various position-specific drills and some weightlifting.
“This is an exciting day that shows our program has come a long way,” UK head coach Joker Phillips said. “I can remember when there were only one or two guys here and they were local. Now, we have pretty much every team represented here today. That speaks volumes to how far we have come.”
Two of the players that were in attendance Wednesday, Danny Trevathan and Winston Guy, had already worked out in February at the official NFL combine. Trevathan participated in workouts Wednesday, while Guy elected not to participate because of a strained groin but did talk to scouts. Trevathan spent significant time in linebacker drills, along with fellow senior Ronnie Sneed.
Defensive backs Mychal Bailey, Randall Burden, Anthony Mosley and Taiedo Smith went through workouts, along with wide receivers Nik Brazley and Matt Roark, tight end Nick Melillo, offensive linemen Billy Joe Murphy and Chandler Burden, and defensive linemen Mark Crawford and James McDevitt.
Phillips is hopeful this class will be able to add to Kentucky’s recent success in the NFL. Over 30 Wildcats have been drafted or signed as free agents over the last four years, most recently highlighted by Randall Cobb, who was drafted in the second round by the Green Bay Packers last season. The 2012 NFL Draft will be April 26-28 in Radio City Music Hall in New York.
“The thing that we try to do is get them prepared as a whole person, not just a football player,” Phillips said. “Again, we have programs where we teach our kids something other than football. That is our job. Our job is to get them prepared to sit down and have a conversation with a general manager and understand how to deal with people from all walks of life.”
The Kentucky head coach said this day is all about the players that are going through the workouts and is a way for them to showcase their abilities. However, many of the current Wildcats also attend to watch the proceedings.
“It is definitely a way to motivate (current players) and a good way to sell our program,” Phillips said.
“When we have this many scouts coming to our Pro Day, then kids talk and kids tweet. I am sure they will tweet about how many teams were here and I am sure that will sell the program. That has been really helpful for us. It has been this way for a few years and it does nothing but help this program.”
Phillips emphasized that one of the reasons for UK’s success in these workouts and the attention it receives nationally can be credited to head strength and conditioning coach Rock Oliver.
“Rock has been at that level (NFL) and seen how the guys need to train,” Phillips said. “That is really helpful for us and a real selling tool for us in recruiting. He is one of the few strength coaches that has been a head strength coach in the NFL, NBA and in major college programs. That is one of our selling tools is that Rock Oliver can get you ready for Pro Day. One of the things that I like is the guys that stayed here and trained with Rock did really well today. That speaks volumes in how far our program has come in the weight room also.”
Kentucky will now turn its attention on the beginning of spring football, which is set to begin on March 21.
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