Tennessee held its annual pro timing session Wednesday inside the Neyland-Thompson Sports Center, allowing National Football League scouts the opportunity to see first-hand the skills of recent UT performers.
And the man who organizes Tennessee’s pro timing day saw plenty to speak of from a certain tailback who really has been impressing Vols fans over the last seven months or so.
“Montario Hardesty is one of my favorites and has been one of my favorites since he got here,” said Condredge Holloway, UT’s assistant athletics director for student-athlete relations and lettermen. “I think he not only did well today but kind of cemented his performance with all the other things he’s been doing.
“He’s one of the ones who didn’t get invited to the NFL Combine. He saved it for here and had a great day.”
Hardesty capped his Big Orange career by rushing for 1,345 yards and 13 touchdowns during his senior season. The rushing total was the fourth-best season mark in school history and lifted his career total to 2,391 yards, which is eighth on the all-time UT charts.
Holloway also said the NFL scouts liked what they saw from a trio of former Vols linemen.
“Dan Williams looked really good and he just continues to progress on what he did at the Combine. And I think the two guards, Jacques McClendon and Vladimir Richard, opened a few eyes. They were just guys before today but after a few folks saw them run and watched them do the lifting, I think they opened a lot of eyes.
“Jacques had 37 reps on the bench press; that had to be the top. And they took one from him. He kind of pushed one up that they called ‘foul.’ So 37 reps of 225 pounds is a pretty good day.”
Holloway called the turnout of NFL scouts was “spectacular.” Those representatives from nearly every NFL team saw 15 former Vols display their wares in eight events. The players competing were Eric Berry, Jeff Cottam, Morgan Cox, Jonathan Crompton, Derrick Furlow, Quintin Hancock, Hardesty, McClendon, Rico McCoy, Richard, Dennis Rogan, Austin Rogers, Antonio Reynolds, Chris Scott and Williams.
Crompton was another who made a few strides with his Wednesday showing.
“Coach Sam Wyche was here and scripted a program for Jonathan and the receivers,” Holloway said. “He executed all the throws and they had to be impressed with what they saw from him today. It was a successful day for Jonathan.”
Berry, who sparkled at this year’s NFL Combine, was limited Wednesday after suffering a slight mishap and injuring his toe during one of the early drills.
The NFL draft moves to primetime for the first time this year, with the first round taking place Thursday, April 22, at 7:30 p.m. Eastern time. The second and third rounds follow on Friday, April 23, at 6 p.m., with Rounds 4-7 set for Saturday, April 24, beginning at 10 a.m.
Tennessee’s current football opens spring practice Thursday, the first of two non-contact days this week. The Dish Network Orange and White Game is set for April 17.