Longhorns Audition for NFL

Twelve Texas Longhorns worked out at Texas' Pro Day for NFL Scouts. Looking on at the event were some special guests, including the past, present and future of Texas football.

Texas seniors were poked, prodded and studied by NFL scouts Wednesday at Texas' annual Pro Day. Players ran, lifted, were measured and went through a number of on-the-spot positional drills put forward by the scouts. Representatives from across the league were in attendance and Texas head coach Mack Brown said it's a testament to where Texas is as a program.

"It's great to see the turnout each year and know that our coaches have recruited the right guys and our program is producing the right guys to have a lot of pro people come out and watch them," said Brown.

Not every Longhorn performed every drill, as many were happy with their measurements at the NFL Combine. Texas offensive guard Kasey Studdard performed most of the workouts, but said that the drills are only half of the battle. The day is also about teams getting to know the players as more than just players.

"I think it's half and half," said Studdard. "They want to see what you can do and how you are as a person."

A big part of the pro day was the attendance of several Longhorns currently playing for NFL teams. They were not only there to encourage the Texas players going through the workout, but to talk with the 2007 Horns about what it takes to make it in the NFL, both as a player and as a person. Leonard Davis of the Dallas Cowboys and Cedric Benson and Nathan Vasher of the Chicago Bears came down to talk to the team. Brown says that he's happy to have his old players return and it shows how much they care about the institution.

"It says this is home and they'll probably come here when they (the current players) get finished," said Brown. "More than ever we're having former players come back and talk to the current players about acting right and doing things right."

Vasher was particularly interested in many of the workouts because three Texas defensive backs, Aaron Ross, Michael Griffin and Tarell Brown, were there. With consecutive Thorpe Awards (Michael Huff, 2005; Ross, 2006) and a line of great DBs from Texas, including Vasher, Texas is becoming DB-U. Vasher said that this is thanks in very large part to the work of co-defensive coordinator and DBs coach Duane Akina.

"It shows he's been able to develop players," said Vasher. "It says a lot about him as a coach, but it also says a lot about the University of Texas, period."

Speaking of former Texas Longhorns, running back Ramonce Taylor was also on hand but was not allowed to participate with his former teammates. Taylor instead had his own personal workout earlier in the day. Mack Brown said he's pulling for the former Longhorn to make it in the NFL.

"I hope he does well. He does look great," said Brown. "I talk to Ramonce a lot. I talk to his mom at lot. We're trying to do everything we can to help him and to be fair and honest with the scouts and also to tell them he was a great football player for us."

Brown also said that Taylor is good enough that someone will give him a chance.

"A lot of different attitudes, a lot of different owners. I think he'll get an opportunity for somebody, you just don't know where," said Brown.

A myriad of current players were there, including Colt McCoy, Drew Kelson, Limas Sweed, Frank Okam, Derek Lokey, Sergio Kindle and many, many more. Brown said it was important for the current crop of players to see the Pro Day.

"It's a great day for our younger guys because they see how hard it is and how competitive it is and what they have to do," said Brown.

The future of Texas football also watched the proceeding. Several Texas commits saw the workouts, most notably the No. 1 offensive lineman for 2007, Tray Allen. Allen has moved to Austin and will spend his time working out, studying and preparing to join his team in the summer.

Wednesday was an important day for the Texas players seeking to strike it rich in the NFL, but Brown cautioned his players that simply getting the opportunity with a team is more important than where they are picked. The real money is made through consistent effort over the long haul.

"You're not going to make your money up front," said Brown. "We tell them longevity is where you make it. Today's not important as, if you get your opportunity, making something count."

Leonard Davis can attest to that. The former Longhorn offensive tackle recently signed a $50 million dollar deal with the Cowboys and talked with current players about what it takes to make it in the NFL.

The NFL Draft is set for April 29th at 11 a.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN.

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