The 2015 University of Kentucky football seniors put their physical abilities on display Thursday morning at the Nutter Field House as the UK football team hosted its annual Pro Day workouts for professional scouts.
Representatives of 26 National Football League teams, spanning 36 scouts and three head coaches, put the Wildcats through the workout. The group of seniors, who helped Kentucky earn five wins last season, were tested in the 40-yard dash, vertical jump, agility drills, various position-specific drills and weightlifting.
“Today’s a little bit more like some of the old days,” UK head coach Mark Stoops said. “I was at Miami (Fla.) and Florida State and its good to start getting some head coaches in here and general managers.”
Several of the players, including defensive end/linebacker Bud Dupree, defensive end Za’Darius Smith, offensive lineman Darrian Miller and running back Braylon Heard, had already worked out in February at the official NFL combine. All three players participated in workouts Thursday, going through several different drills. Dupree is projected as a first-round pick, while Smith has been projected as a third-round selection in the 2015 NFL Draft.
Dupree and Smith headlined a group of defensive lineman/linebackers working out that also included Mike Evans-Douglas and TraVaughn Paschal. Heard was joined in the running back group by fullback D.J. Warren and 2013 seniors Ray Sanders and Jonathan George. Miller was the only offensive lineman working out, while Steven Borden and Ronnie Shields were the two tight ends going through drills. Javess Blue and Demarco Robinson were the lone wide receivers, while Eric Dixon, Ashely Lowery and Nate Willis were the three secondary players participating. Kicker Craig McIntosh, who was a senior in 2012, was also at the event.
Stoops emphasized that Thursday was all about the players that were going through the workouts and for them to showcase their abilities, however, many of the current Wildcats also attended.
“I think it’s very important, that’s what you want to see,” Stoops said about the current players coming over to watch the event. “You’ve heard me talk about this before that these guys did things right on the field and off the field and that’s why they’re in the position that they’re in. It’s great for our young players to see that.”
A majority of the players that went through workouts Thursday stayed in Lexington after the completion of the 2014 season to work with UK high performance coordinator Erik Korem and head strength and conditioning coach Corey Edmond. Stoops said that shows him UK is doing things the right way.
“I definitely think that’s a very big compliment to what we’re doing here,” Stoops said. “The norm for other high draft picks is to leave campus and go somewhere and train. People are going around the country and training with some of these guys and our guys have stayed here. It started with Avery (Williamson). Avery staying and working with Coach Korem and Coach Edmond, and seeing the results that Avery did, it opened the eyes of our other guys. They can save a lot of money and get better training and stay right here and be with our guys. I know they’re very excited about it and proud of the work that they’ve done.”
Kentucky will now turn its attention to continuing spring practice once spring break is over.