March 21, 2016
RUSTON, La. - For the most recent graduating class of Louisiana Tech's football program, Tuesday morning marks their last ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢'Â¬" and for some, their only ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢'Â¬" job interview for a career playing football.
That is what Tuesday's events boil down to when Louisiana Tech hosts its annual Pro Day at Joe Aillet Stadium beginning at 9 a.m. But instead of one person conducting the interview there will be at least 32 ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢'Â¬" one from each of the National Football League teams. Additionally NFL Films will be present following around running back Kenneth Dixon as he looks to raise his draft status.
There will be 17 former Bulldogs (along with five former Grambling State players) taking part in Tuesday's Pro Timing events and the stakes are high for those wanting to continue to play the game.
A trio of former Bulldogs ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢'Â¬" Vernon Butler, Dixon and Jeff Driskel ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢'Â¬" will get their final chance to impress scouts and NFL team representatives. The three have already been to the Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine and will headline Tuesday's roster of players.
But for some of Louisiana Tech's other players, Tuesday's Pro Day may be their best shot at impressing NFL scouts.
"These guys are going to get themselves an opportunity to showcase their talents and abilities in front of every NFL team," Louisiana Tech head coach Skip Holtz said. "I think that is a tribute to these players and the job that these seniors did last year with the number of teams that are going to be here. I am anxious to see Beau Fitte get his opportunity, I am anxious to see Nick Thomason get his and I am anxious to see Vontarrius Dora, Adairius Barnes and Paul Turner get there [opportunities]. I am looking forward to Pro Day and I certainly hope those guys are going to go out and test well, put their best foot forward and have an opportunity to continue playing this great game."
The attention and "circus" ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢'Â¬" as Holtz likes to call it ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢'Â¬" that comes with three potential draftees only brings more eyes to Joe Aillet Stadium when several other players get a chance to showcase the talent that helped them become Louisiana Tech's winningest Division I-A/FBS senior class in school history.
"It is great for the program," Holtz said. "It is part of the circus that we always talk about, the exposure that goes along with it. But that is what winning breeds when you have guys that have won as many games as they have and have really helped build this program over the last two years. I think it is great that the program is receiving the recognition for what we have been able to do on the field. It is a tribute to them and a tribute to the guys here [now] for just the way that they have worked and the things that they have done. It is nice to see the exposure come to the program."
And for the three players that have already been on the stage, they get one last chance to show the league what they bring to the table. For instance, Driskel will have a chance to throw to a known quantity in passing drills.
"I think that will be one of the biggest things," Holtz said. "All of a sudden (at the Combine) you are throwing take offs and you don't know if you are throwing to a 4.4 or a 4.8 guy. You don't know who they are and it makes it a little bit harder. With Jeff [Driskel] there is a familiarity with Paul [Turner] and there will be a couple other receivers here. He is going to have an opportunity to throw with those guys and it will be a great opportunity for him. He is going to have to showcase what his talents and abilities are. Everyone knows he can run, he ran really well at the Combine and I thought he tested really well at the Combine but the question is going to be if he can come out here and throw the ball as accurately as he would like. It will be a big deal for him."
Louisiana Tech's Pro Day is open to the public with free admission. Fans are asked to enter through the West gates of Joe Aillet Stadium.
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List of Louisiana Tech Players Participating
List of Grambling State Players Participating