BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – As has become the tradition each spring on The Hill, NFL team
representatives turned out in droves on Friday to watch WKU’s annual Pro Day as 14
former Hilltoppers chased their NFL futures.
Thirty-five representatives from 28 teams turned out in all as Hilltopper standouts
Mike White, Joel Iyiegbuniwe, and Deon Yelder put on a show along with nine of their
teammates from the 2017 squad as well as two Hilltoppers from the class of 2016.
“I’m really proud of our guys,” said head coach Mike Sanford. “You can tell they’ve
put in the work. For some of these guys, this is a life-altering type of a day. In
particular, guys who didn’t have a chance to compete in the combine, namely Deon
Yelder, I think he did incredible stuff for himself today. He had a phenomenal
workout for a guy you can tell who has put in the work. The highlight for me was
watching (Mike White) do some great stuff in the red zone.”
For Yelder, a former four-year walk-on who earned a scholarship prior to his senior
season in 2017, it was an feather-in-the-cap type of morning as he continues his
ascent up team draft boards. On the day, Yelder’s measurements in a number of
categories would have ranked among the top five with his position group at the 2018
NFL Scouting Combine: 120″ broad jump (t-4th), 4.74 40-yard dash (t-3rd), 18 bench
press reps (t-5th), 33″ vertical jump (t-5th).
White and Iyiegbuniwe both participated in position drills, using their times from
the Combine as their measurements for the draft process. For White, the day was as
much about showcasing his ability to place the football exactly where he wants it as
it was enjoying one final time on the field with his teammates.
“I told the guys ‘Let’s just have fun. It’s our last time playing anything somewhat
competitive in this stadium all together.’ I just wanted to have fun,” White said.
“When you have fun, it takes the high pressure situation out of it. I wanted to
treat it like it was just another day in the summer, preparing for fall camp. There
were just a few more people watching. I wanted to go out and have fun, and I think
we accomplished that.”
As WKU’s profile has grown in NFL circles, so too has the attendance at Pro Day as
NFL teams know there will regularly be NFL talent coming out of the program as
evidenced by eight draft selections since 2013.
“It’s awesome (to have NFL scouts here),” Sanford added. “It motivates all of us. It
motivates the young players out here. A lot of these guys working out here today, I
remember they were watching this last year waiting for their opportunity. It also
motivates me as a head coach and as assistant coaches to be recruiting and bringing
in talent so that you can have Pro Days where you’re bringing in all 32 NFL teams. I
want this program to be (a conduit to the NFL) year in and year out.”
The former Hilltoppers will now continue their offseason preparations, which may
include more private workouts or team visits, as they await the NFL Draft, set for
April 26-28 from Arlington, Texas at the Dallas Cowboy’s AT&T Stadium.