TAMPA ― Roughly a dozen former USF players convened Friday morning beneath a bright sky, and well beneath the NFL radar.
As draft prospects, these Bulls have transitioned to dark horses. As such, they arrived Friday at the Selmon Center feeling a little anxious and more than a little slighted, desperate to land on someone’s ― anyone’s ― mock draft.
“You turn on the tape, we’re just as good as anyone in the country,” defensive end Vincent Jackson insisted.
They got a chance to prove it ― at least in terms of strength, speed and agility ― on Friday, when representatives from 15 NFL teams and 21 total professional organizations gathered for the Bulls’ pro day.
Some appeared to impress at various points.
Defensive end Juwuan Brown, a Jefferson High alumnus who had four sacks last season, managed 23 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press to lead all participants. Nickel back Ronnie Hoggins had a 36-inch vertical leap. Cornerback Mazzi Wilkins said he “smashed” his position drills.
“I feel like I’m a technician, so that’s the main thing I did,” he said.
But arguably the best overall performance was turned in by slot receiver Tyre McCants, who entered pro day at 232 pounds after playing at more than 240 last season.
The most intriguing prospect of this Bulls class, McCants had a 34-inch vertical leap; a 10-foot, 2-inch broad jump; did 18 reps on the bench press and was told he ran the 40-yard dash anywhere between 4.51 and 4.55 seconds.
“Overall, I just think I had a really good day,” said McCants, who had a team-best 59 catches last season but acknowledged his future may lie at running back or fullback at the next level.
“Turned some heads and proved to myself that I’m a good athlete and I can come out here and do good numbers.”
Similarly, Wilkins, an 11th-hour invitee to the East-West Shrine Game in January, seemed pleased with his collective effort. He’ll join McCants, Hoggins, defensive end Josh Black and safety Jaymon Thomas for the Bucs’ upcoming pre-draft workout for local players.
If it’s anything like Friday, they’ll bring their pride along with their cleats.
“I wasn’t really invited to the Shrine Game, I get there and make plays. That was another chip (on the shoulder),” said Wilkins, who had an interception in that game.
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“Every time is a chip, so I take it from where it comes.”
Contact Joey Knight at email@example.com. Follow @TBTimes_Bulls.
Pro Day numbers
Some individual results from USF’s pro day on campus (40-yard dash times weren’t announced):
DE Josh Black 28-5
DT Kevin Bronson 30-5
WR Ryeshene Bronson 29
DE Juwuan Brown 32-5
DB Ronnie Hoggins 36
DE Vincent Jackson 33
OL Eric Mayes 24-5
WR LaDarion McBride 28
WR Tyre McCants 34
LB Khalid McGee 27-5
CB Mazzi Wilkins 30
Bench Press (# of 225-pound reps)
DE Josh Black 18
DT Kevin Bronson 22
WR Ryeshene Bronson 12
DE Juwuan Brown 23
DB Ronnie Hoggins 11
DE Vincent Jackson 18
WR LaDarion McBride 11
WR Tyre McCants 18
LB Khalid McGee 14
DE Josh Black 8-1
WR Ryeshene Bronson 9-8
DE Juwuan Brown 9-2
DB Ronnie Hoggins 10-1
DE Vincent Jackson 9-0
WR Tyre McCants 10-2
LB Khalid McGee 8-8
CB Mazzi Wilkins 9-2