COLLEGE PARK, MD -- When Maryland's William Likely decided to return to school for his senior season, he was hoping to improve his draft stock. As the best player on his team coming into the 2016 year, Likely was thought of as a lock by his coaches to be drafted in 2017.
Life got in the way of that on October 15 as Likely tore his right ACL, which immediately ended his decorated college career as a defensive back, return man, and also a wide receiver.
Just over five months after knee surgery, Likely was back on the football field, granted wearing a bulky knee brace, running drills in front of 27 NFL scouts from 24 different teams at the Terrapins' Pro Day. Likely impressed in the limited number of drills he was able to run so early in the rehab process, but it was no surprise to his former teammates.
"I think it's awesome that Will is out here," Maryland defensive end Roman Braglio said. "It is a fast turnaround. The kid fights like a dog. He's got the work ethic of some of the best around. I was very happy to see him out here and do the things that he did very well. It makes everyone happy."
"I'm definitely impressed by Will," Maryland defensive back Alvin Hill said. "I'm happy he came out and was able to perform. I wasn't surprised [that Likely participated]. He's a grinder, he's going to do what's necessary to play."
"Everything I saw definitely impressed me," Maryland running back and fellow rehab teammate, fractured right foot, Trey Edmunds said. "He has a lot of heart. He's the type of guy that telling him no or telling him what he can't do is only going to add fuel to his fire and we've all seen that. What is he, four months, five months out and already doing DB drills? That speaks alone, that says everything there is to say about the kind of guy he is and I think he has a very bright future."
Likely says he has been moving pretty well, while training in Arizona, but does not have a firm timetable on when he will be back to 100 percent.
"Everyday, Monday through Sunday," Likely described the amount of work he put in just to participate in a limited amount. "My determination to be out there [allowed Likely to recovery quickly]. I'm not going to let nothing distract me from where I want to be at. After two or three days [post surgery], I was focused."
The versatile player already had five workouts lined up with NFL teams before participating at his Pro Day and is expected to gain more attention late in his recovery process. Likely spoke privately with the two Washington Redskins' scouts that were present for the event.
"They [scouts] were very impressed," Likely shared about Washington's feedback, which echoed the rest of the teams as well. "They thought I was only going to be able to do one or two drills. I like where I'm at."
At just 5-feet-7, Likely has played with a chip on his shoulder his entire life and he believes that will take him to the next level.
"Straight play making," Likely commented on what he will bring to his NFL team. "You are looking at a person that is going to compete every single play. If that's what you want, I'm your guy. If I was a team, I would pick myself, no question."
Follow Neil on Twitter @NeilDalal96.
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