The University of Houston football team held its Pro Day last Thursday at its on-campus practice facility.
A Pro Day is when professional football scouts visit a campus to evaluate the team’s seniors by running a series of skills tests. The National Football League held its Combine several weeks ago in Indianapolis where it invited the top 25 or so players at each position to undergo the tests. Most major college teams then offer the scouts a chance to come to their campus and look at its players who were not invited to the NFL Combine.
The Cougars had 19 players participate in the Pro Day in front of 16 NFL and Canadian Football League teams. Among those participating were linebacker Matt Adams and safety Khalil Williams, graduates of Hightower High School and wide receiver Chance Allen, a graduate of Elkins High School.
Adams made his presence felt right away as he bench-pressed 220 pounds 30 times, exceeding the high mark for linebackers at the Combine which was 28. Adams ran the 40-yard dash in 4.63 seconds, which would have been the 10th fastest linebacker time at the Combine. His vertical jump was 33.5 inches, good for 10th place for linebackers at the Combine, and his standing broad jump was 10 feet, 2 inches, which would have been good for sixth place at the Combine. Adams’ three-cone drill time was 7.05 seconds, which would have placed him in ninth place in the linebackers’ group at the Combine.
“I thought it went pretty good. You always want to do better, but it went well. This is a lot different than a game. You don’t have any pads or helmets on. It reminded me of a 7-on-7 game.” Adams said. “I think I did a pretty good showcase out here, but I haven’t heard any feedback from anyone. I just want to get a foot inside the door. I know I can make an impact on special teams. Any where I go, I feel I can be a help.”
When asked about what he learned from Hightower, Adams said, “I learned to have a ‘go get them’ mentality, and to work hard and keep grinding it out from Hightower and Coach McGinnis. I still play like that today.”
Williams had 18 bench presses, which would have placed him in 7th place in the safety’s group at the Combine. Williams ran the 40-yard dash in 4.66 seconds, good enough for 19th place in the safety’s group at the Combine. Williams’ vertical jump was 36.5 inches, which would have placed him in sixth place at the Combine, and his standing broad jump was 9 feet, 10 inches, putting him in 19th place at the Combine. Williams’ three-cone drill time was 6.88 seconds, putting him in fourth place for safeties at the Combine.
“Overall I think I had a solid day. I feel like I am on top of my game. This is kind of nerve-wracking because you have a lot of eyes on you and you want to perform well. I have been working since January for this day, but all-in-all, I think its been a good day,” Williams said. “Growing up, football was all I wanted to do, so I have pursued that through high school and college. I feel like my plan has been unfolding the right way. I have plan B if I need it (a degree in sociology), but plan A is going good right now. Football is my dream, so I am chasing my dream.”
Williams remembers learning from his older teammates at Hightower.
“I remember watching the older guys at Hightower and learning from them. Then I fought my way up to the top. When I came to Houston, I knew to watch the older guys and then fight to get a chance to play. Hightower prepared me for competing for a job.”
Allen did not participate in the bench press, but he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.76 seconds, which placed him in 36th place for wide receivers at the Combine. Allen’s vertical leap was 31.5 inches, putting him in 34th place at the Combine, and his standing broad jump was 9 feet, 8 inches, placing him in 24th place at the Combine. His three-cone drill time was 7.06 seconds, good enough for 20th place for wide receivers at the Combine.
“I thought I ran faster than I did, but you can’t beat that clock. I had fun being back out here with my guys. I just came out here and did my best,” Allen said.
When asked about his Elkin days, Allen said, “I loved Elkins. Those were the glory days. I think Coach Brantley is the best coach in Fort Bend right now. They are really doing good with the program.”
The NFL draft will be held April 26-28 in Arlington. The draft has seven rounds, and any player not drafted is available to be signed as a free agent by any team.