March 27, 2021
Photo by Joshua McCoy/Ole Miss Athletics
Pro Days have taken center-stage this year with the cancellation of this year's NFL Scouting Combine due to COVID-19 still rapidly spreading nationwide. The official inception of these college workout sessions for NFL coaches, General Managers, Scouts, and other personnel was on March 5th ultimately lasting until April 9th. This week's featured Pro Days were at Brigham Young, Mississippi, University of Southern California, Coastal Carolina, and UCLA. Here's what Mississippi's, and University of Southern California's Head Coaches and select student-athletes from their respective teams vocalized after Pro Days via videoconferences.
Head Coach: Lane Kiffin
Question: Spring Practice initiated on Tuesday. What is your overall assessment of Spring Practice thus far?
Answer: We have had two days of Spring Practice this week including today and that's why I and the coaching staff weren't truly involved in Pro Day. Thereafter, the film of the two practices was absorbed by our players moments ago. It was scintillating to have an opportunity to conduct Spring football as certain Division I programs had a week of aforementioned activity prior to being imposed to ceasing all operations, but Mississippi experienced none, due to COVID-19 rapidly spreading nationwide. My overall assessment of Spring Practice thus far is its incredible exposure for us formerly employed coaches and recently employed coaches in John David Baker, Coleman Hutzler, and Randall Joyner to view new personnel on the offensive and defensive side of the field as this year the institution has fourteen student-athlete mid-years, who are on scholarships. Twelve of the fourteen athletes are on defense, with most of them being on the backend of the defense.
University of Southern California Trojans
Head Coach: Clay Helton
Question: Four NFL General Managers and 2 NFL Head Coaches are scheduled to be at Wednesday's Pro Day. Did you have any dialogue with those General Managers and Coaches at any point today?
Answer: Monday was sampling for COVID-19 testing and if athletes could progress on campus safely making Wednesday's Pro Day proceed as scheduled. Some of the athletes went through an additional Wonderlic test today. I haven't had any dialogue with any NFL General Managers and Head Coaches, but more than the aforementioned NFL General Managers and Head Coaches will be at the University of Southern California on Wednesday.
Left Tackle: Alijah Vera-Tucker
Question: You blocked for various quarterbacks in your collegiate career. Do you think that experience will aid you in building a sufficient working relationship with the quarterback you will block for next season?
Answer: Yes. I venture to protect my quarterback throughout the game as that's what every offensive lineman strives to accomplish each and every calendar year. My experience blocking for various quarterbacks in my collegiate career will aid me in building a sufficient working relationship with the quarterback I will block for next season. A virtuous relationship with the quarterback and the rest of the offensive lineman on the squad is important to me, but it will take time.
Question: You probably grew up watching the NFL. Who was your favorite NFL player growing up?
Answer: My favorite NFL player growing up was Marshawn Lynch because he was from Oakland, California subsequently going to high school at Oakland Technical High. The location of that high school isn't too distant from where I used to reside when I was growing up. It was cool to see a fellow hometown player succeed in the NFL both in Seattle and Oakland.
Coastal Carolina Chanticleers
Defensive End: Tarron Jackson
Question: You fought injuries in your freshmen and sophomore season at Coastal Carolina. What did you do to overcome that initial adversity to have a breakout season this past year?
Answer: I just believed in myself. The other reason I was able to overcome that initial adversity my injuries from my freshmen and sophomore season furnished was because of the great culture and coaching staff at Coastal Carolina along with familial support, who never gave up on me making me work hard, pushing through not just that, but any adversity that comes in my path. Core values were instilled in me when I was young by the people around me and I've stayed true to those and myself succoring me to having a breakout season this past year after inceptive challenges.
Brigham Young Cougars
Left Tackle: Brady Christensen
Question: You weighed in at 302 pounds today. Have you received any feedback from NFL coaches, General Managers, Scouts, and other personnel about today's weigh-in?
Answer: NFL coaches, General Managers, Scouts, and other personnel didn't accord with any feedback after my weigh-in at 302 pounds today. My goal is to be 305 pounds so I'm three pounds removed from my ideal weight, but I'm going to keep consuming a myriad amount of healthy food to reach that density goal situating myself at an equilibrium playing weight.
Running Back: Demetric Fulton
Question: Joshua Kelley was in the running back room with you for some of your time at UCLA. Did having Joshua Kelley there ultimately make you a superior football player?
Answer: I've always looked at other players to discover what works for them on a daily basis endeavoring to append it to my game. Joshua Kelley being in the running back room with me for some of my time at UCLA definitely aided me substantially in ultimately becoming a superior football player as he taught me leadership skills and disparate running styles that had made him an eminent person/player on and off the field.
Question: You can function as a running back and wide receiver in the backfield. How will that be an asset to you when you transition from NCAA Division I football to NFL football?
Answer: It will be a huge asset for me to function as a running back and a wide receiver in the backfield when I transition from NCAA Division I football to NFL football as the NFL is about being able to create mismatches steadily. If you attempt to put a linebacker on me in coverage there's no way that position player will be able to cover me. When I was at the Senior Bowl I manifested that I can use my footwork to glide past defensive backs. You have to let playmakers obtain the ball in space where they operate adroitly, which is also one of my specialties as a playmaker in the backfield.
The video of these interviews is now available on YouTube. You can choose to view it down below.
A special thanks to Mr. Adam Kuffner, Mr. Seth Austin, Mr. Tim Tessalone, Mr. Wayne White, Mr. Jon McBride, Mr. Andrew Sinatra, Mr. Steve Rourke, Taylor Kielpinski-Rogers, Mr. Zak Gilbert, along with the Mississippi Athletics Communications Staff, University of Southern California Sports Information Department, Coastal Carolina Athletics Department Staff, Brigham Young Athletic Department Staff, UCLA Athletic Communications Staff, and the NFL Communications Staff for arranging and conducting the videoconferences spectacularly. Make sure to tune into the NFL Draft commencing from April 29th and concluding on May 1st on NFL Network, ESPN, ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes, and ABC.