(1090 The Fan) — Dozens of NFL scouts gathered inside the Dempsey Indoor facility on the Washington campus, Wednesday, to watch 15 former Huskies go through individual drills.
Seattle Seahawks’ general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll were among those who watched quarterback Keith Price, running back Bishop Sankey, safety Sean Parker and receivers Kevin Smith and James Johnson run, jump and catch passes (or throw passes in Price’s case). Former tight end Austin Sefarian-Jenkins, who declared for the draft as a junior, was also in attendance but did not take part in the on-field drills.
Of all the participants, none was more of a surprise than Johnson. Johnson, whose Husky career was sabotaged by a wrist injury, missed the entire 2013 season after being medically disqualified last summer. Since then, the wide receiver has been working out in preparation for this defining moment of his career.
Wednesday, was the first opportunity for Johnson to showcase himself to NFL personnel. He noted that he was “off the radar” coming in and that Wednesday’s event was critical for him in particular.
“Oh, it was huge. It was a big opportunity for me,” Johnson said with emphasis. “And that’s what I wanted to come out here and do, to create opportunities for myself.”
What did he want to show the NFL personnel in attendance and what expectations does he have moving forward?
“I want to show everybody that I’m a great player and that I can play with the best,” a confident Johnson said after his workout concluded. “That’s what I’m ready to prove every single day.”
“I was born to do this,” he added. “I worked really hard in rehabbing (my wrist) and I’m back to 150 percent, so I’m ready to go.”
Johnson dislocated the scaphoid bone in his right wrist and tore all the ligaments in the 2012 fall camp. Since that time, surgery and rehab has been his life. After three surgeries in an eight month span, Johnson feels he is 100 percent and ready to compete at the highest level.
At Wednesday’s event, Johnson displayed premium athletic ability with a 36.5-inch vertical jump and 10-foot, 8-inch broad jump. He also showed good hands, speed and route-running ability. He said he will fly down to San Diego on Monday to continue to give himself an opportunity to continue his career.
“I really firmly believe that I can play at the highest level,” Johnson finished.
Price, Johnson’s 2009 classmate and quarterback for two seasons, threw about 50 passes to Johnson, Smith, Sankey, Amosa and Boyce. He hit on an assortment of routes including a 55-yard bomb to Smith to get things going.
Since the season ended, Price said he has been training in Carlsbad, New Mexico alongside running back Ka’Deem Carey and quarterback Blake Bortles among other NFL prospects. Wednesday was also Price’s first opportunity in front of NFL scouts to showcase his skills after being omitted from the NFL Scouting Combine and postseason bowl games like the Senior Bowl.
He was certainly miffed at his exclusion but said he was ready to show the scouts in attendance his arm strength and ball placement.
“I think it went well,” Price said. “[I showed] that I can throw the rock pretty good.”
Currently Price said he has no private workouts set up with NFL teams, but hopes to have some set up in the coming days after his showing.
The former UW tight end who won the Mackey Award after the 2013 season, attended UW’s pro day, Wednesday but did not participate in on-field drills because of a broken foot that was diagnosed at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Sefarian-Jenkins will have his foot re-examined April 26th at the medical re-check in Indianapolis.
“I was surprised. I was walking around playing with it, I didn’t really think anything of it,” Sefarian-Jenkins said of the diagnosis in February. “I was going to kill it, and then I didn’t get to kill it.”
Sefarian-Jenkins said the foot injury was something that was sore during the season, but never hampered him. Now his focus is getting 100 percent healthy and being ready to play football. He said he has eight visits lined up and that those will begin after he is cleared April 26th.
The second-leading rusher in UW history participated in the Washington pro day, Wednesday. He is ranked among the top running back prospects in the 2014 NFL draft and is expected to be drafted in the first two rounds.
Sankey ran the 60-yard shuttle after the NFL personnel in attendance asked him to do so. He also ran some routes and caught every pass thrown his way by Price.
“It went good,” Sankey said of his pro day. “I came out here and caught some balls and showed them that I have natural hands.”
Full participant list was: FB Jonathan Amosa, FB Dorson Boyce, WR/RB Antavious Sims, LB Princeton Fuimaono, LB Thomas Tutogi, DL Sione Potoa’e, S Sean Parker, DB Greg Ducre, K Travis Coons, DB Tre Watson.
-Anthony Dion, 1090 The Fan
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