Positives Dominate on Arkansas Pro Day

Hunter Henry hits his dreams for pro day at Arkansas. It was a good day for Brandon Allen, Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams, too.

Hunter Henry wanted a sub 4.7 40-yard dash and to prove his 13 reps in the bench press at the combine was a fluke. Alex Collins wanted to beat his combine vertical jump of 28. Jonathan Williams was shooting for a solid shuttle time. Brandon Allen just wanted to build on the momentum of the last six months.

Check, check, check, check for the stars of the Arkansas pro day Wednesday afternoon at the Walker Family Pavilion.

Head coach Bret Bielema was all smiles as the top players in the draft this year turned heads in all the right ways. And, for the first time that he could remember as a head coach, all 32 teams were represented.

"I've never had all 32 teams at a pro day that I can remember," Bielema said. "They were all here."

Henry is projected as the top tight end in the draft. But he wanted to run better to solidify that spot. He hit a 4.67 int he 40 on the field turf at the UA's indoor facility. He called it "a dream time." Then, the 6-6 251-pounder popped 21 reps on the bench press.

"I think I helped myself," Henry said. "Hopefully, this moves me up the boards. As far as the 40, anything under 4.7 was going to be fast enough. That's fast enough.

"I improved my bench eight. At the combine, they counted off some of my bench lifts because I was moving my hips. Today they strapped me down on the board so I couldn't move my hips. I'd worked hard since the combine to improve that part. I knew I could.

"I thought it was very positive. I'm excited."

It's clear he wants to be the top tight end drafted.

"It's a motivating thing," he said. "I wanted to prove some things. I want to be number one and put my stamp on it as the top tight end."

Collins didn't run. The running back's goal was to beat his 28-inch vertical at the combine, along with running pass routes. Collins hit 32 on his vertical.

"I think I helped myself," Collins said. "And running routes, I didn't drop a ball.

"That was my focus. The teams told me that they were satisfied with the 40 from the combine. So I worked on the vertical. I had not put in much time on that leading up to the combine. I beat it by four inches (to 32), so that's really good."

Williams knew he had to run at pro day after declining to run at the combine. The bright spot was a 4.2 shuttle run. His 40 times were in the mid 4.5 range.

"I wanted to beat that in the 40," the running back said. "I wish I had run faster. But the 4.2 in the shuttle was good. I'd done 4.0 in my training and that would have been the fastest at the combine. It's a little disappointing not to get that, but 4.2 is good and the teams I talked to were pleased with that. It's always been a strength, my change of direction.

"I wanted to run at the combine, but I wasn't cleared (by doctors). I'm really close to 100 percent now. I feel good. I knew I needed to run that shuttle and I felt good running it."

Allen sparkled in passing drills throwing to Cobi Hamilton, Davyon McKinney, Henry, Collins and Henry. The quarterback was solid in all aspects Wednesday. He displayed a quick release, strong arm and extreme accuracy. The upset of the day came when Henry dropped a long pass. He did not have a drop last year.

"I think that was the easiest one I gave him," Allen laughed. "I think everyone was shocked. I was."

As far as Allen's performance, he thought there was going to be a couple of private workouts for teams after the session. The two teams both said they'd seen more than enough.

"There were a couple of throws that they wanted to see me make and I had them in my script," Allen said. "So they told me I was good for the day. I think we had every possible throw in the script and it went well."

Allen said he has been through every possible interview situation over the past few weeks since going to the combine. There's a few funny questions that keep coming up.

"Teams want me to tell them who is best, Jonathan or Alex," he said. "Pick one they say. So I've been doing that. One interview, I saw Jonathan. The next I say Alex. You have to have a little fun. I told them about it. They thought it was funny."

There was one NFL backfield coach in attendance who has told the brass at his team to pick all four.

"I want all of them on my team -- Brandon, Alex, Jonathan and Hunter," he said. "I love their tape. And they helped themselves here. What you know is that they are good people. You don't have to worry about them away from the field. You want to trust them for all 12 months and you can with them. I like them a lot."

Allen said it was a fun day for everyone.

"I think what you saw all day is that guys helped themselves," Allen said. "The scouts told that to us. It was a beneficial day."

Former Arkansas quarterback Clint Stoerner was working the day for the SEC Network. He was really impressed by Allen.

"He threw it really well," Stoerner said. "I'm really high on Brandon. I have been for quite some time. What you saw today is that he built on what's been happening the last six months. His confidence continues to grow and when you confidence is so important for a quarterback.

"I think there were some teams that had to get past that he's a 6-1 quarterback. They have now. And they keep seeing that he can really throw the ball. They look beyond his size and it's hard to not realize what kind of arm he has.

"I think you see real maturity and real confidence. A lot of good things happened at once for Brandon. He got Dan Enos as his quarterback and his receivers stepped up. It's just been a highlight tape in the last few months for Brandon and it was again today."

Bielema visited with the media before the passing drills. He did see the lifting and timing portions of pro day. He was impressed by the 30 reps in the bench press produced by Mitch Loewen and Mitch Smothers. DeMarcus Hodge was right behind at 29.

"Loewen is really impressive at 275 pounds," Bielema said. "There have been some teams call about him. Some want him in the offensive line, some in the defensive line and some at tight end. What I know is that he is an NFL type athlete. It's genetics and he has it.

"I really wish we had left him at the same position for the last three years. I do know that all it takes is for one team to like you and you are going to get drafted. I think he will be drafted. I say he's Hawaiian strong.

"I was able to speak to the entire room (of scouts) last night. I told them on JWill, we kept him out of all scrimmages last spring and only had him out there in one scrimmage in the fall and Hodge fell on his foot. That's all that separated him from going for between 1,000 and 1,500 yards and being an All-SEC back. I told them he could be the steal of the draft because he didn't get beat up last year like some others.

"Denver has done well since the combine. He's dropped 14 pounds and ran a good shuttle, like an athlete. He's great in pass pro.

"Hodge ran well and tested well. He's a guy who lost weight last year and played well.

"On Alex, he did well today, but his best asset is his tape. He looks really good on tape."


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