LAFAYETTE — Former Louisiana-Lafayette running back Alonzo Harris said he didn’t feel any pressure for Wednesday’s Pro Day, but he couldn’t help feeling nervous when he saw scouts from 31 NFL teams in attendance.
“But I just came in and did what I had to do, and hopefully I impressed somebody,” Harris said.
That, essentially, was the goal for all 15 former Cajuns football players who ran, jumped and lifted in front of professional football scouts Wednesday. Make an impression, stand out and earn an opportunity.
Official numbers for all events were not made available, but a couple standout performances were, including Terry Johnson’s 34 repetitions at 225 pounds on the bench press.
That number would’ve been tied for the 6th best mark at the 2015 NFL scouting combine. Maybe Johnson can credit his breakfast for his strong man performance.
“I had an omelet with bacon, eggs, turkey, peppers, cheese and some other stuff,” Johnson said, “then I had a bowl of Lucky Charms. I put ketchup on the omelet, too.”
Johnson said he went into the morning figuring he’d have the best bench press total of anybody, but to see his projection come true set the tone for an impressive day.
Once he had an impressive performance in the bench press under his belt, Johnson felt any sort of performance anxiety go away.
“It was a great relief,” Johnson said. “Once you actually start to do well, everything just kind of evens out.”
Wide receiver James Butler showed off some athleticism, with one scout reportedly hand-timing his 40-yard dash at a blistering 4.45 seconds.
While that figure is unofficial in every sense of the word, it would have put Butler in really good company at the combine, within a few hundredths of a second of projected high draft picks Amari Cooper (4.42), Devin Smith (4.42) and Sammie Coates (4.43).
“They always say when you run your 40 and the scouts turn and look at you it means you did something good,” Butler said. “I turned a few heads.”
Not everything went according to plan. Perhaps the Cajuns most draftable player, defensive lineman Christian Ringo, came up limping after his second attempt at the 40-yard dash.
Ringo said he strained his hamstring on the run.
“I’m just trying to stay positive, that’s all I can do,” Ringo said. “Do what I can, and that’s about it.”
Rather than sitting out the remainder of the day, Ringo went through the positional drills – though he did so at a slower pace than he otherwise would have when healthy.
When asked why he risked making his injury worse to continue going through drills, Ringo said matter-of-factly, “It was a big day for me – for all of us, actually. That’s about it.”
Quarterback Terrance Broadway sounded slightly disappointed with his overall performance. Even though one scout had him a shade higher than 4.50 on his 40-yard dash, Broadway thought he could’ve run faster.
“I could’ve ran a little faster if my hamstring wouldn’t have been pulling a little bit,” Broadway said.
Broadway attempted 36 throws in front of scouts, completing 25 with three drops. The majority of his throws came after taking a direct snap under center and showing off his three, five and seven step drops – something he rarely if ever had to do in college.
Broadway said he worked with former NFL quarterback Jeff Blake in Austin to work on those aspects of his game. He was disappointed with how he threw the ball, but was confident that he would’ve done better with a second chance.
“The teams that contacted me, they were here,” Broadway said.
“So, I think I showed enough to at least get a shot.”