Former Sun Devils showcased on Pro Day

With the NFL draft a month away, ASU's pro day was the last chance for the teams' top prospects as well as former players to display their skills to pro scouts, and show how they've improved since the NFL combine and the regular season ended.

No one's star shined brighter today than Kyle Williams'. The former Arizona State wide receiver, who recorded an impressive 4.43 40-yard dash record in last month's combine, wowed everyone in attendance running a 4.30. It should be noted that Williams came in today at 192 pounds which heavier than last month's event.

Additionally, he improved on his short shuttle from the combine dropping it down today from a 4.19 to 4.01 seconds. His vertical was bettered by four inches to a 37, and his broad jump stands now at 10 feet after recording a 9'10" in the combine.

"Originally I was just going to come in and run routes," said Williams, "do the 40 (yard dash) again…but being around all my guys and seeing these old faces make you want to compete and have fun with it.

"So I decided basically to do everything over again and I was very happy I did because I just about improved on everything. I really thought I would do better because I was really working my tail off the past month after the combine and everything fell into place."

The wide receiver stated that he did start his pre-draft workouts early, putting in six hours a day, in order to get out "the bad taste" of last season out of his system.

"I just channeled everything from that into these workouts," said Williams.

Williams has been working out with his former ASU signal caller and current Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Rudy Carpenter and catching balls from him while running routes today was another positive aspect of his performance.

"A lot of good memories man," commented Williams with a smile. "Not to discredit anyone else but it was nice to come out of break and the ball is coming exactly where you expect it to be. He's truly an NFL quarterback and when you have that luxury to work out with someone like that it makes it all better."

The wide receiver has landed just one private workout to date but it will be just a 10-minute drive from campus to the Arizona Cardinals training facility in Tempe on April 14th.

"I'm just trying to make an impact any way I can and find myself on a roster and get into camp," said Williams, "and from there I'll take care of the rest.

"If I get an opportunity I will capitalize on that. Until then I'm just working."

Aside from Williams, four other former Sun Devils were invited to the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis including wide receiver Chris McGaha, linebackers Travis Goethel and Dexter Davis, and offensive guard, Shawn Lauvao.

All players were at ASU's official pro day, though McGaha did not participate as his hamstring injury is still bothering him. The plan for the wide receiver is to have a private workout in a couple weeks, providing his hamstring has healed by then.

Still, the other players went about their business and were even joined by some familiar faces, most notably, former ASU and Denver Broncos running back, Ryan Torain.

"This is the big day for me," Torain pointed out, "just to show all 32 teams at once that I'm ready to play.

"I got released from Denver due to injuries so I just came out here and took the opportunity to have all 32 teams see me healthy."

Torain says he has been training at Triple Threat Performance in Tempe, trying to get healthy and back in shape in hopes of getting that phone call from an NFL team.

Though the surroundings at Sun Devil Stadium were familiar to Torain, being a few years removed from college and competing with college seniors was different, but he says no matter whom it is, competition is a part of the business.

"Young guys [are] trying to do the same thing I'm doing," Torain acknowledged, "There's competition, there's always gonna be competition, so I'm never scared of that."

Whether it's Torain, trying to get back into the NFL, or the young guys like Davis and Goethel just trying to get their foot in the door, everyone on the field today had the same ultimate goal, getting on an NFL roster.

"I think I've done pretty well to improve my stock," Davis said. "I've tried to show that I'm athletic, maybe more so than teams think, so that's a definite plus and it's just a waiting game from here on out.

"Some teams have talked to me about playing outside linebacker; others have talked to me about playing rush-end, so I'll do whatever I can to come contribute."

Davis showed soft hands and a good ability to catch the football during the linebacker drills, though having former teammate and current Tampa Bay Buccaneer, Rudy Carpenter, throwing the ball to him didn't hurt.

Davis went through drills with both the defensive line and the linebackers and the work has clearly paid off trying to make himself a more versatile football player.

"It was different," Davis mentioned, "but it's something I've got to prepare myself for and I've been doing a good job, so I'll let the chips fall where they may.

"I've been improving my hands, and just working on all the little details to make myself an all-around football player."

Though Davis may not have anything to worry about come draft day, linebacker Travis Goethel's NFL future is not as certain as his all Pac-10 teammate. Therefore, versatility is even more important as he attempts to make an NFL roster.

Goethel participated in the linebacker drills as expected, but may have surprised a lot of people when he participated in the full back drills with the other running backs, and even showed off some long-snapping abilities.

"It's different (playing offense)," admitted Goethel. "I haven't done a lot of that stuff since high school. So it's a big change but it's just football still.

"The more you can do the better. I've long-snapped the whole time I was here too; I only did it in one game, but I've long-snapped the whole time I've been here so might as well show you can do that."

Though Goethel worked out at the combine, he admits working at the pro day with teammates and friends takes away some of the stress one might feel with NFL scouts dissecting everything you do.

"Well the combine is more of a stressful stage," Goethel said. "You're there for five days before you even do anything, so it's not the best performance-wise situation. This is a lot better, you can be in your own environment and everything, but I felt like I performed way better today than I did at the combine, but I don't feel like I did bad at the combine, just under the circumstances [it's tougher]."

Goethel was known as a smart player during his ASU career, but his times from the combine show he's a better athlete than some people previously thought.

"People time stuff differently," Goethel prefaced, "but I heard 4.5-4.6 in the 40, low 4's in the shuttle, I've heard 4.1 and even 3.95 so I don't really know exactly what it was exactly, but they are all good times."

All that's left to do for these players is wait, and hope some NFL team has seen enough of them today and in some cases future private workouts, to give them a shot at fulfilling their dreams of becoming NFL players.

"It's just a waiting game," Davis admitted, "but whatever team I get on I'm gonna work my tail off and contribute."

"It was a good day and I hope a lot of good comes out of it," stated Williams. "But you never know with this game. I made a good case the last few months and hopefully I get that phone call."

Hod Rabino contributed to this article


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