Auburn, Ala.--Back at Auburn for the first time since being dismissed from the program, wide receiver Duke Williams was among the 14 guys that took part in Monday’s Pro Day for the Tigers. Going through all the testing and position drills alongside fellow senior receivers Ricardo Louis and Melvin Ray, Williams put up very similar numbers to those he did at the combine but Coach Gus Malzahn said it was important to give him the chance to work out with his teammates one final time.
“I let him come out here,” Malzahn said. “I felt like that was the right thing to do and we wish him the best. Hopefully he impressed some guys for the future.”
“I just decided to give him a chance for his future to show what he can do in front of the scouts and I made that call last week,” he added. “He’s out here and we wish him the best.”
Checking in at 6-2 ?, 220 pounds, Williams ran back-to-back times of 4.70 and 4.72 seconds in the 40-yard dash, posted a 30 ½ inch vertical and a broad jump of 9’10 ½”. Showing his usual good hands, Williams was a welcome addition said Louis.
“It was fun, same thing as the combine,” Louis said. “Every time we see each other all we do is laugh and smile even though we had some tribulations and it was hard, but we here and now let’s do it. They want to see us perform and do good. We have been training and working hard day in and day out. I’m glad to see where he at right now.”
It wasn’t just Louis that was glad to see Williams on the field Monday as defensive leaders Kris Frost and Jonathan Jones both said his addition for Pro Day showed something about Gus Malzahn and Williams.
“I am glad to have him back,” Frost said. “I felt that reflects on what kind of coach Coach Malzahn is allowing him to come back and work out. He looked pretty good."
Jones backed those sentiments as well, saying Williams has paid for his mistakes and deserved the shot to show what he could do.
“I think it was a good thing,” Jones said. “I think, for the time he was here he paid his dues. He did his thing, he did his time, whatever he did. He came back, and at the end of the day he was able to show himself as a good person. People change, so I think it was a good thing for him to be able to come back.”
Now that his day to show off for the NFL scouts is behind him the only thing left for Williams is to have strong workouts and interviews between now and the draft because that’s his chance to truly let people know he’s ready for the next level. Based on what he’s seen and heard from his former teammate Louis feels like Williams is ready.
“He’s hungry,” Louis said. “He’s remorseful for everything that’s happened. He just wants to be on the team and produce and just play, that’s what he loves at the end of the day. Anybody could just be like ‘I don’t want to play no more’. All the things he been through in his life? He’s still going, he’s still pushing. People don’t know that, but today I seen it in his eyes.”