BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - For the first time in six years, UAB has the chance for several players to get drafted in April’s NFL Draft.
UAB had six players participate in a variety of drills Friday morning, including linebacker Jordan Smith, who gained 35 pounds of muscle specifically for the big event.
“Everyone asked me why I got so big, and I just told them I wanted to go to the NFL with an NFL body, a grown man body, so I put on a lot of weight and muscle and they were telling me I didn’t have to get this big, but I told them I had to show them what I can do, put on weight, lose weight, that I’m willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done,” said Smith, who’s projected as a second-round pick.
Running back Spencer Brown and wide receiver Austin Watkins both had great days impressing scouts in the 40-yard dash, bench press, and individual drills.
“I wanted to prove I’m an all-around receiver, prove I can be in the weight room, prove I can run fast and prove I can catch everything,” Watkins said.
“You know I’ve been training so hard for this, I came in, I was comfortable, I just gave them my best effort,” added Brown.
With no NFL Combine this year due to COVID-19, Friday’s Pro Day was the only chance these players had to impress scouts. All 32 NFL teams were in attendance, which is something UAB isn’t used to seeing.
“There’s been a lot of doubt coming in here about how we perform, you know, if we can compete with everyone in the country, high level or not, but I think everyone has done a good job right now showing that UAB is legit,” Smith added.
“Hopefully we’ve set the precedent that this is what it looks like, and these are the kind of players we have and we’re going to have guys in the NFL every year,” said UAB Head Coach Bill Clark.
The NFL Draft begins April 29.
UAB NFL Draft Prospects:
Broad Jump: 9′9′'
40-Yard Dash: 4.80
Note: Smith came into Pro Day the biggest and strongest he has ever been. He showed a wide array of speed, strength and skill today, only helping his draft status and leaving all 32 scouts very impressed.
AUSTIN WATKINS JR.
Broad Jump: 9′8′'
40-Yard Dash: 4.52
Note: Watkins Jr. was equally impressive in front of the scouts, specifically during wide receiver drills. He caught every pass that came his way, which was approximately 30 routes. His last catch was a spectacular over-the-shoulder grab roughly 60 yards down field.
Broad Jump: 10′1′'
40-Yard Dash: 4.58
Note: Having arguable the most impressive day of anyone, Brown tested off the charts. He weighed in at 208 and his power and speed was on display all day. He had the biggest vertical jump, and the scouts worked him out for an hour following his testing with running, catching and blocking drills. Brown did everything he needed to do for a chance to add a third name from UAB being called on draft weekend.
Broad Jump: 10′4′'
40-Yard Dash: N/A
Note: Mitchell was having a strong day until he pulled a muscle while running the 40-yard dash. He was unable to participate following that.
Broad Jump: 8′9′'
40-Yard Dash: 4.83
Note: Harris’ top metric came on the vertical jump, while he was also efficient in the three cone drill and the 5-10-5 shuffle.
Broad Jump: 8′9′'
40-Yard Dash: N/A
Note: Fuqua also had an impressive day. He did not participate in the bench press or 40-yard dash, but his short and long snapping drills impressed the scouts as he looked sharp and snapped very well. Fuqua was a Fourth Team All-American in 2020 and graduated as the most decorated long snapper in program history.