March 20, 2013
KNOXVILLE - With nearly every NFL team on hand, 15 former Vols took part in NFL Pro Day at UT.
Here are the results of the 15 former Vols and Austin Peay quarterback Jake Ryan.
|Height||Weight||Bench Press||Broad Jump||Vert Jump||40-yd Dash||3 cone||20-yd shuttle||60-yd shuttle|
|Montori Hughes (UTM)||6-4.5||338||26.5||7.64||4.85/4.91|
|Da'Rick Rogers (TTU)||6-2.5||219||38|
|Jake Ryan (A. Peay)||6-0||201||4.97/4.97|
** - All times unofficial
NEW LOOK, SAME BOND
The former Tennessee pitch and catch combination of Tyler Bray and Cordarrelle Patterson returned to campus Wednesday to participate in UT's annual Pro Timing Day. The duo, which accounted for 778 yards and five touchdowns during their single season together on Rocky Top, returned to The Hill each sporting a new look.
Bray stepped onto the turf at the Neyland-Thompson Sports Center weighing in at 230 pounds, 21 pounds heavier than when he was completed for the Volunteers.
"I feel like I've gotten stronger, and I have a little bit more zip on the ball," said Bray. "I don't necessarily feel the difference, as far as moving around, but my core is definitely stronger."
While his counterpart, Patterson, who packed on an additional 11 pounds of his own since wearing the orange and white, took to the turf donning a pair of neon socks that set him apart from other competitors.
"Tyler and I were throwing together all week, and we came in and worked hard together today," said Patterson. "A lot has changed, but it's always great to be back running around my teammates."
"Right now, all we are focused on is working hard and hoping that we get drafted."
THE JOB INTERVIEW OF A LIFETIME
Though he competed previously in most of the drills at the NFL Combine, Justin Hunter used Pro Day as a chance to better those results.
Hunter, with a little help from Da'Rick Rogers, decided to give it another go at the vertical and broad jumps, and in doing so set new PRs in the events.
The wide receiver extended his vertical from 39.5 to 40.5 at the Neyland-Thompson Center while adding a couple inches to his broad jump with an 11 foot, six inch leap.
"I felt everything went good today," said Hunter. "I PRed in some events, but thought I could have done better in others. I put on four more pounds since the combine so I just wanted to see how my body would work."
Hunter has added motivation when he steps on the gridiron these days as he knows it isn't just him that he is working for.
"When I am out there, I am just basically thinking about me and my son," said Hunter. "He comes first over everybody else. That is all that I am thinking about."
Hunter used those thoughts and put forth his best efforts Wednesday.
"This is the job interview of your life," said Hunter. "That is how you have to treat it."
FOCUSING ON THE FUTURE
Former Vol Dallas Thomas, invited to the NFL combine and at pro day, was unable to compete at either event because of a torn labrum, an injury suffered during Senior Bowl practices back in January.
After suffering the injury, Thomas kept to himself for a while trying to comprehend the situation, but after talking with his family, and NFL GMs he has moved on to rehabbing and getting his shoulder better.
"It has been tough," said Thomas. I've talked to my Mom, my Grandma and everybody so they've helped me get through it. It's over me now. It's in the past and behind me. I'm good, just rehabbing now and getting it back to where it was."
"[The teams] understand and I think it's a pretty common injury in the NFL," continued Thomas. "They told me `I should be fine and just to keep rehabbing it and do the right things. Don't rush it and make sure it's 100 percent before coming back.' They're talking good to me."
Thomas, who will hopefully be returning to action ahead of schedule, looks to be back in time for the NFL training camps.
He believes that his college resume will help him get to the next level and hear his name during the draft.
"I just want to get picked," said Thomas. "I just want to play ball."
FLYING THROUGH PRO DAY
The fastest Vol of the day, wide receiver Zach Rogers, got out and competed in front of all 32 NFL teams at Tennessee's Pro Day Wednesday.
Rogers worked hard during the offseason to emphasize his quickness and improve his pass catching.
"I would say speed and hands," said Rogers. "I tried to focus on that for the last three months getting ready for this today and I thought I had a pretty good showing but there is always room for improvement. I am pretty pleased with today."
What made things easier for Rogers was having one of his closest friends in Tyler Bray throwing him strikes.
"That helped us a tremendous amount," said Rogers. "We came up here about a week and a half ago and we started getting our rhythm back. The first day out here we didn't miss a beat and we were back to old times. It was good to have a good quarterback out here and he did pretty well for himself as well."
Rogers finished the event with the fastest times among the Vols at the event running the 40-yard dash in an unofficial 4.51 seconds, pushing through the 20-yard shuttle in an outstanding 4.34 seconds, highlighting the 60-yard shuttle in 11.18 seconds and finishing the three cone drill in 6.72 seconds.
Rogers knew that pro day was an important one for him, so he went out and gave it his all.
"It was a lot of pressure, I was pretty nervous coming in," said Rogers. "But football is what I have been doing my entire life so it is just another day at the office."
BARTHOLOMEW POSTS GREAT NUMBERSFormer Vols fullback Ben Bartholomew has been anxiously waiting for NFL Pro Day in Knoxville since the end of the 2012 season. When he got to perform in front of the scouts, coaches and general managers on Wednesday, he made the most of his opportunity.
"I feel good. It was fun to get out and compete," said Bartholomew, who has been working out in his native Nashville. "It's something we've all been training for for a long time. It came, and a lot of guys stepped up. It was great."
The Tennessee legacy posted impressing numbers in the bench press with 30 reps, a number bested by just one fullback at the combine, a 20-yard shuttle time of 4.33 and a 4.68 in the 40-yard dash. Standing nearly 6-2 and weighing 245, Bartholomew demonstrated his agility and speed throughout the day.
"Well, I wanted to show my versatility and wanted to show that I can still run a fast 40," said Bartholomew. "I'm able to play tight end, can run routes, and catch balls, and also that I've got the strength to play the fullback position."
"I've been training hard and I did what I knew I was going to do."
As far as what the NFL personnel had to say about his day, Bartholomew was hopeful that he made an impression.
"I think they can definitely see some potential for the hybrid position, because I have the speed to hopefully run past a linebacker and also have the strength that I can get inside and block in the hole," he said. "I'm excited and hopeful for the future. I know it's in God's hands and that's all I can do now."
RIVERA SHOWING HIS WARESTight end Mychal Rivera has continued to make improvements after a strong showing at the NFL Combine in February. He shows that early on at UT's Pro Day as he put up 21 reps in the bench press after 17 in Indianapolis.
"Looking at the bench press, I knew my personal number was better than that," said Rivera. "I just want to show these scouts that I can improve. I got 17 reps at the combine so I wanted to come here and get four or five more reps. The work is already put in. They're going to make their decisions and I'm going to live with it."
The California native will be heading back to the West Coast after a few more days in Knoxville, but he was happy with his overall performance as he reconnected with his former Orange & White teammates.
"I feel like my on-field performance went very well," said Rivera. "At the combine, I did very good catching the ball in front of the scouts and I just wanted to come here and be consistent. I wanted to show them I could run fast routes, put my hand up, catch it and accelerate."
He is also trying to demonstrate he can play more than tight end.
"They like my versatility," said Rivera. "They can put me in the backfield at fullback; they can put me on the line as the tight end. They could even put me in the slot or as the wideout. I can play all the different positions."
DA'RICK BACK ON CAMPUSIt was almost like old times for Da'Rick Rogers at Wednesday's NFL Pro Day. He was hanging out and joking around with Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson and catching passes with Tyler Bray. The big difference was where the other three spent the 2012 season. The trio was playing at Neyland Stadium while Rogers was suiting up at Tennessee Tech after being dismissed from the Vols' program just prior to the start of the campaign.
Rogers says he has learned a lot of his time at the FCS level and he hopes it helps him as he looks forward to an NFL career.
"Leaving Tennessee was a wake-up call," said Rogers, who was an All-SEC receiver with UT in 2011. "I had to go to Tennessee Tech and I was humbled. Being there with guys who many times would have killed to be at Tennessee had to humble me and I had to look in the mirror. There was a lot of maturing that I had to do, but I have done those things and I'm in the right direction. I'm making strides to be more mature now."
Rogers has been asked about his personal problems and has taken the approach of being up-front and honest.
"I go in and I tell them that I am not here to defend that bio," said Rogers. "Everything that you have is true, it's real, it's the real deal, I did that. These are the things that I am doing to change that. This is what I have done to become the person I am today. It's progress."
He was happy to be in the familiar confines with friendly faces all around on Wednesday.
"It was definitely my idea to try to get back here because this is a great stage to be on," said Rogers. "There are a lot of great coaches here and a lot of great kids here also. I really wanted to get out here just to show the guys that I have changed and show my maturity to the new coaches to rebuild that connection."