Football Puts on Impressive Showing at Pro Day

by Michael Bonnette (@LSUBonnette)
Ryan Clark Interview +0
Football Puts on Impressive Showing at Pro Day

BATON ROUGE – Linebacker Deion Jones rans a blistering 4.38 40-yard dash and safety Jalen Mills followed with a 4.48 to highlight an impressive showing by LSU players here Monday at the school’s annual Pro Timing Day.

Complete Scorecard

Over 100 NFL scouts and assistant coaches were on hand to watch as nine members of the 2015 team along with three former Tigers – fullback Connor Neighbors, center Elliott Porter and tight end Jake Franklin – went through a series of physical tests and drills.

“This is always a great day for our program,” LSU coach Les Miles said. “You are proud of these guys knowing that they have worked so hard to get to this point in their career. It’s so much fun to watch them have success on a day like today and getting that much closer to their dream of playing in the NFL.

“This is a great group of young men. They are terrific football players but more important is that they are quality people who will always be great ambassadors for LSU and our program.”

Linebacker Lamar Louis, who is projected as a safety at the next level, was clocked at 4.53 and 4.60 in the 40-yard dash and then led all players who took part in the 225-pound bench press with 26 reps. Long snapper Reid Ferguson ran a 5.05 40-yard dash and then ripped off 15 reps in the bench press.

Offensive lineman Vadal Alexander took part in drills with his position group but didn’t do any of the testing as he stood with his numbers of 5.57 in the 40-yard dash and 25 reps in the bench press at the NFL Combine a month ago.

“It’s kind of what I expected,” Alexander said of Pro Timing Day. “What they’re trying to do is to try and see you do certain things. (They want to see) how you do certain blocks for the run and pass. They put you through the gauntlet and see how you react.”

Alexander, who returned to LSU for his senior year in 2015, said he felt like coming back to school benefited him.

“I thought it paid off great,” Alexander said. “I think I’m 10 times better than I was last year. I feel great, and I thought I had a good day.”

LSU’s other offensive lineman Jerald Hawkins was satisfied with his numbers from the NFL Combine (5.23 40-yard dash, 23 reps in bench press) and like Alexander, took part in drills with the scouts.

“I think I did pretty great today,” Hawkins said. “I felt smooth and felt at home and comfortable with everything I did.

“I honestly just felt more comfortable (today as opposed to the NFL Combine). At Indianapolis, all you hear are the lights and cameras clicking around. All the coaches are in the stands. Over here, it just feels calmer (kind of) like I did it before. I just felt at home.”

The following are quotes from some of LSU’s Pro Timing Day participants:

Defensive back Jalen Mills

On today vs. the combine …
“Just really being able to get a lot more rest and get my legs underneath me. At the combine it’s a long drawn out experience, one that I did enjoy though. It’s a lot of meetings, a lot of physicals, and it’s both mental and physical. So for me, being able to get a lot of rest and just really get my legs fresh underneath me.”

On improving his draft stock …
“For sure. I know today, I think I ran a medium 4.4 from what I was told, medium 4.4 to low 4.4. In my drills I felt pretty explosive. A lot of the NFL coaches told me I looked phenomenal so that’s a big deal and something I’ve been really looking forward to.”

On talking to the Saints …
“They were the ones that were actually running the drills, so they got to see me one on one, kind of in my face. They said I looked great. They said my breaks were explosive and that I showed quickness and that I showed ball skills as well.”

On training for today vs. training for football …
“For me, it’s all football. These are the types of things that you do training in the summer time, working on your weaknesses and improving on your strengths as well. It’s all football, and it goes all in one. Whether I’m playing receiver on one-on-one coverage or we are going in the zone, it all correlates.”

On coming back …
“I got closer to my degree, closer with the coaching staff, my teammates and just as a whole. I feel like that decision for me to come back helped me tremendously.”

Linebacker/Safety Lamar Louis

On today’s performance…
“I talked to a few scouts and the top things were my forty, my bench and just my change of direction and speed. I think that I accomplished that today, proving that I have those qualities.”

On playing other positions …
“I’m embracing anything teams would like me to play. I think I’m an aggressive, tall player and with me being in the position that I am, starting off with low rounds to a priority free agent, I’m open to everything. I almost worked out at running back today. The Seahawks actually wanted to see me as a running back, and then he said he’d see my ball skills during my linebacker drills so I think I did real good with that too. I’ll probably be working out at running back too later on down the road.”

On showing off for the first time …
“Basically, you’ve got one shot to be perfect. A lot of those guys got to really feel the tempo, understand the setting with cameras, but the guys like me it’s one shot. You’ve really got to be paying attention to detail. It gets difficult sometimes. I had a little bit of difficulties today with cramping, but I had a chance to overcome it and I’m thankful for that. Just having that mindset that you have one shot to be perfect and that’s something that (LSU special teams) Coach (Bradley Dale) Peveto likes to say a lot with special teams.”

On his reps …
“That’s something, going in, that I knew I had to do with being a smaller guy, is hit a lot on the bench press. I’ve been going on up every week. The most I’ve hit before today was 25, so I got 26 and I thought I could keep going but I hit a wall. I’m really grateful for that number.”

On training for this vs. football …
“A lot of this is memorizing steps. You know, both consist of paying attention to detail, but I guess you can freelance a little more with just playing football and being a football player. With this, you really are shooting to be as perfect as possible, putting your foot in the right places. Going over the 40 starts hundreds of times before you actually run the 40. I think the fastest people really don’t run the fastest 40. The people who really pay attention to detail and who really run against the clock instead of trying to be fast really run the best 40. I think the biggest thing is just really paying attention to detail and just repetition. It’s memorizing what you did yesterday to do today and keep on doing the same thing.”

Linebacker Deion Jones

On his 40-yard dash …
“I was just shooting for 4.4 because that’s what was on my mind. I needed that and I didn’t get it at the combine, so it was personal. I just gave it my all and when I heard all my homeboys’ reactions, I looked at it and was like wow I didn’t expect that.”

On taking off so much time since the combine …
“I just locked in. I knew I was faster than that. I clocked faster and I guess that kind of psyched me out when I went to the combine. It was different. It was quiet.”

On the past few months …
“I’m just enjoying it. I’m trying to find positives in all of it. The training was rigorous the first couple of weeks of getting up early and getting used to how combines are going to be. It is a lot of adversity being up there all day, working out and running and speed and all that. It gave me a whole different focus you know.”

On staying all four years …
“I learned from Coach Chavis and Coach Steele and Kwon (Alexander). I pretty much fell in love with this place. I couldn’t leave it. I had too many friends. I’m not the type of person to just give up. I’m going to make a way out of it.”

On if others could benefit from staying …
“It’s really a big test of patience. I had to wait my turn. You can’t sit on the sideline and pout. You have to find your place on the team and do whatever the team needs you to do. That’s just the type of person I am. I’ll play anywhere. When I got my chance and when I got in on defense, I knew I had to do what I’ve got to do to back up the guys who depended on me also.”