Scouts of all 32 NFL teams flooded through the revolving door at Texas’ indoor practice facility. It was Pro Day for Texas, with 15 Longhorns demonstrating their abilities in front of a horde of talent evaluators.
All eyes cast upon running back D’Onta Foreman. Foreman finished second in the FBS in rushing in 2016, registering a remarkable 2,028 yards. As a result, Foreman took home the prestigious Doak Walker Award, which recognizes the nation’s top running back.
Although his success in college was evident, Foreman had a lot to prove on Tuesday morning. After facing injury at the NFL Combine, Foreman needed to remind scouts why he belongs in this stacked running back class featuring the likes of Dalvin Cook and Christian McCaffrey.
“I definitely feel like I’m one of the best,” Foreman said of the upcoming running back class. “I don’t mind competing. I’ve competed my whole life ... and I just work hard. If you (draft) me, you know you’re going to get a good player, somebody who’s going to work hard day in and day out.”
Foreman blazed through the turf during the 40-yard dash with a time of 4.45 seconds — the fastest time in combine history of any running back of his weight (234 pounds). The power back also posted a 33-inch vertical and caught every pass thrown his way in receiving drills. He credits his boost in athleticism to cutting over 10 pounds since the conclusion of football season as a result of improved nutrition.
“I knew coming into the day I had to have a good weight since I didn’t work out at the combine,” Foreman said.
Bereft of the NFL Combine opportunity in Indianapolis, Foreman created his own spotlight by attracting scouts, running back coaches and numerous family members to the facility. One of his staunch supporters included his twin brother Armanti, who will continue his college career as a Texas wide receiver in 2018.
“(My family’s attendance) helped a lot,” Foreman said. “I love my family so much and they’re very supportive of me.”
Along with Foreman, another one of Texas’ former halfbacks worked out at Pro Day. Johnathan Gray, who last stepped foot on the gridiron in 2015, tore his Achilles tendon preparing for the NFL draft in January 2016.
Spending the last year training kids and coaching at local high schools, Gray refused to give up on his NFL dream. He reminded scouts of his athleticism, clocking in around 4.58 for his 40.
“It feels great to come back out and knock some of that rust off,” Gray said. “I had to sit back, gather my thoughts, grow up a little bit and face adversity. I’ve grown up a lot and I’m ready to keep
Another Longhorn who starred in the Mack Brown era was former quarterback David Ash. Ash retired from football one game into the 2014 season, but tested his throwing and punting abilities in Tuesday’s Pro Day.
“He’s always been able to throw it, so I wasn’t really concerned with if he was rusty or not,” recently graduated Texas quarterback Tyrone Swoopes said.
Swoopes transitioned to tight end for Pro Day, catching several passes from his former colleague at quarterback.
Many Longhorns returned to the football field in Austin after a long absence and others continued unfinished business from 2016, but they all attended with one purpose — to captivate NFL scouts.