John Denton's Knights Insider: Football Holds Pro Day

March 25, 2010

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By John Denton

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ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Travis Timmons couldn't get to sleep until 2 a.m. early Thursday morning and when he looked at the alarm clock just hours later at 7:46 a.m. he was both wide awake and surprised.

Waiting for UCF's Pro Day before nearly two dozen NFL scouts had been a challenge for the Knights' former defensive tackle, and quelling his excitement long enough to sleep proved to be a problem.

``I woke up and I had sweated through the sheets. It wasn't nerves; I was just so excited and ready to go,'' Timmons said of his chance to shine at Pro Day. ``This was what I have been dreaming about for weeks. It's been a long 10 weeks waiting for this day.''

For eight former UCF football players, they are hoping that Thursday's Pro Day on campus was the first step in realizing a lifelong dream of playing in NFL. The workout was attended by 21 scouts from 20 NFL teams, UCF head coach George O'Leary and his entire staff and former UCF star wide receiver Brandon Marshall.

For standout defensive tackle Torell Troup, the showcase event was a breeze after he had already gone through the rigors of the NFL Combine a couple of weeks earlier. Troup has also already worked out for the Chiefs and Patriots and next week, he's scheduled to have private workouts with the Browns, Broncos, Jets, Saints and then formal interviews in Detroit and in Minnesota. The 320-pound Troup could be a very high selection in the NFL Draft in April.

``I'm hearing anywhere from the second to the fourth round. I should know better by April after I get done with these workouts and see where I am on people's draft boards. I hear a lot of people have me going in the third round, so maybe somebody will jump up and draft me in the second round.''

Linebacker Cory Hogue, safety Michael Greco, wide receiver Rocky Ross, center Ian Bustillo and Timmons, all players from last season's 8-5 UCF team, were tested for their strength, speed, agility and football skills on Thursday. Former Knights Frisner Nelson and Jonathan Kirby also went through some of the testing drills, while Troup worked solely with scouts on position drills.

Troup had already impressed scouts at the NFL combine by bench-pressing 225 pounds 34 times, tying for the third-highest total among the 66 defensive linemen at the combine. He also ran a 5.1-second 40-yard dash.

UCF defensive end Jarvis Geathers, who had 11 sacks this past season and was hoping to follow in the footsteps of his father and uncles to the NFL, was unable to work out after rupturing the quadriceps muscle in his right leg recently during a routine weight-lifting session. Geathers needs five months of recovery time before he can resume football drills, and he's hoping that his play from last season will help him since he couldn't work out on Thursday.

Greco and Hogue, starters on UCF's dominant defense this past season, both performed exceptionally well on Thursday and opened the eyes of some scouts. The 6-foot-3, 217-pound Greco, who switched from quarterback to safety, ran a 4.37 in the 40-yard dash, benched 225 pounds 22 times, had a 41.5-inch vertical lead and a 10-foot, 9-inch broad jump.

Greco was interviewed by several scouts after the event, and hopes to have a host of other workouts for teams in the coming weeks.

``It was pretty much a make-or-break day and I wanted to do what I had to do to get their attention,'' Greco said. ``I've been working pretty much every day for 10 weeks, working on 40 times, (defensive back) drills and in the weight room.''

Going shirtless much of the day during his drills, Hogue looked ripped and was clearly eager to show off the muscle that he's added through hard work of late. The heady middle linebacker bench-pressed 225 pounds 32 times and ran two 40-yard dashes in 4.73 seconds.

Like some of his teammates, Hogue said the prospect of looking down the field and seeing 21 stop watches pointing at you was somewhat disconcerting. This was the job interview of a lifetime, and Hogue did his best to settle his uneasiness.

``There were a lot of nerves, probably more so than any game I've ever played in, even more than the conference title game or playing at Texas,'' said Hogue, UCF's leading tackler last season. ``I woke up pacing around all morning because I didn't know what to do. But it was a great experience and I think we all did pretty well.''

Timmons showed a leaner physique at Thursday's Pro Day and looked quick and fast in bag drills while running alongside of Troup. He ran a 5.17-second 40-yard dash and he bench-pressed 225 pounds 25 times with one scratched rep.

Timmons has a couple of family members who have played in the NFL and he would like nothing other than to get a shot at playing professionally for an NFL team. He worked so hard over the past two months that his weight dropped from 300 pounds to 280 pounds before coaches advised him to put weight back on to be powerful enough for his defensive tackle position.

``To be honest with you, I don't care if they tell me to pick up the towels in the locker room, I'll do whatever it takes if they'll just give me a chance,'' Timmons said. ``I just want to get there. Most college kids are trying to figure out what they are going to do next. I've been blessed to play ball and I just want to get there to that next level.''

Ross, who had 157 career catches and eight TDs at UCF, looked impressive in ball drills with the scouts. He also ran times of 4.53 and 4.58 in the 40-yard dash.


John Denton's Knights Insider appears on UCFathletics.com several times a week. E-mail John at jdenton@athletics.ucf.edu.