Football: FAU hosts pro day for outgoing seniors

Representatives from 25 NFL teams came to scout 11 FAU players.

Quarterback+Jaquez+Johnson+was+one+of+11+Owls+to+participate+in+this+year%27s+pro+day.+Max+Jackson+%7C+Staff+Photographer

Quarterback Jaquez Johnson was one of 11 Owls to participate in this year's pro day. Max Jackson | Staff Photographer

Hans Belot Jr., Contributing Writer

Now that their collegiate football careers have come to an end, Florida Atlantic’s outgoing seniors had a chance to impress scouts in order to continue their football careers.

Scouts from 25 different NFL teams were in attendance at FAU Stadium in Boca Raton on Thursday, March 31. They were analyzing, taking notes, instructing, taking more notes and searching for who could potentially represent their respective franchise.

“It was big to bring the best out of me today,” said former Owls quarterback Jaquez Johnson. “Last season I had a lot of injuries so it was important to come out and show that I can still move around.”

Johnson played three seasons at FAU, a total of 32 games, totalling 5,683 total passing yards and 38 touchdowns.

Participating in front of NFL scouts at a pro day is the biggest opportunity most players have in their careers and a moment worth waiting for a whole life, according to defensive back Cre’von LeBlanc.

“It was very important to show these guys what I can do” said LeBlanc.

LeBlanc played during all four years of his time at FAU, recording 133 solo tackles and six interceptions in 44 total games. He is projected to go in the sixth or seventh round of the draft, according to NFL Draft Scout.

The players started out with the 40-yard dash. Players have the option to do it more than once, which is exactly what LeBlanc did.

“I think I did good but I feel like I could’ve done better,” said Leblanc, who was unsure of his exact time.

They then proceeded with the shuttle run, an agility test that determines how fast you can run while changing directions.

The pro day continued on with separate drills for each individual position. A scout representing the New Orleans Saints’ voice could be heard throughout the stadium, working with the offensive and defensive linemen, screaming instructions as they went through different drills.

Then the defensive backs showcased their skills. They were put through a variety of drills to determine their speed, how well they can defend one-on-one coverage and how well they can intercept a ball. While some dropped passes, LeBlanc never missed one.

“I do those drills all the time when I’m by myself,” said LeBlanc. “Confidence was there and I wasn’t shy or nervous about those cuts. It was pretty straightforward.”

The pro day ended with drills for the offensive players, as both Johnson and the wide receivers were tested with deep balls and quick short passes.

“I give myself a B-plus” Johnson said of his throwing during the drills. “I missed a couple throws due to timing issues, but I think I did pretty well.”

The only Owl who was drafted last year was defensive back D’Joun Smith, who was selected in the third round by the Indianapolis Colts. Smith played for FAU for four years and recorded nine interceptions in his collegiate career.

Lucky Whitehead, one of the most recent Owls to play in the NFL, went undrafted in the 2015 NFL Draft but was signed to the Dallas Cowboys practice squad. By the end of the season Whitehead received consistent playing time at wide receiver and was the main kick and punt returner.

This year’s NFL Draft begins with the first round on Thursday, April 28. The second and third rounds will occur the following day. The draft will close with rounds four through seven on Saturday, April 30.

Hans Belot Jr. is a contributing writer with the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him at @Don_Phenom_.