Seniors try to impress scouts at Pro Day

Joe Harrington

Defensive back Jack Williams and defensive linemen Larry Brown and Colin Ferrell participated in the Kent State NFL Pro-Day yesterday at the Field House. The event showcased the three senior’s athletic ability in front of scouts from all four AFC North teams and even the Super Bowl champion New York Giants. Those scouts, along with representatives from several other teams, hold the key to the players’ future in football.

Williams, who was touted as having the fastest 40 time in the Mid-American Conference last season, was the only Kent State player who attended the NFL combine two weeks ago. The 40 time is largely considered one of the most significant drills in evaluating football talent.

Admittedly, Williams didn’t do as well as he wanted to in Indianapolis, even after practicing with friend and former Kent State cornerback Usama Young, who was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the third round last season. Williams ran a disappointing 4.43 seconds in the 40 yard dash at the scout-filled combine.

“(The combine is) not too much different (from yesterday),” Williams said. “Just the order of things that they do, the combine is more of a mental thing. They spread things out, make you do a lot of waiting, just to see how you handle it. Obviously, I didn’t handle it too well.”

Yesterday, Williams, a projected middle round draft pick, improved his 40 time, running a 4.33 and 4.32 in the more comfortable surroundings of Kent.

“The home environment, you feel a little more comfortable. Your teammates that you’ve been working with are here, (and) you just feel a lot more confident and better,” Williams said.

On top of the improved 40 time, Williams recorded a 41 inch vertical leap and weighed in at 177 pounds, nine pounds lighter than he was at the combine.

Ferrell, who did not attend the combine, performed well yesterday, recording a 4.8 40 yard dash. The 293 pound defensive tackle’s impressive 40 time wasn’t the only example of Ferrell’s athleticism, as he also recorded a 35 inch vertical leap.

“I knew that was one area I had to excel in,” Ferrell said. “I had shoulder surgery last summer so I knew the bench wouldn’t be my strong point. I definitely had to redeem myself on stuff like the agility drills and the vertical.”

Ferrell said he was satisfied and actually was two inches better than his goal of 33 inches he set for himself. The jump couldn’t have come at a better time for Ferrell because, with the draft and the summer approaching, there will be less opportunities for him.

“I’ve got some guys looking at me, but today was do or die. But I’m satisfied. Overall, it was a good day,” Ferrell said.

Brown, a defensive tackle, benched 16 reps and recorded a 27 inch vertical leap. Along with Brown, former Kent State defensive back Andre Kirkland and wide receiver Najah Pruden also participated in the Pro-Day, along with several players from Youngstown State.

Kent State defensive back coach Scott Booker organized the event and said it was successful in his eyes, but the scouts will be the final judges.

“I think they did pretty well,” Booker said. “These are all great drills to what guys can do, but at the end it comes down to what the scouts see on film. But as far as what they did today, they did a good job.”

Contact assistant sports editor Joe Harrington at [email protected].