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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Evans shines, Garrett impresses at A&M Pro Day

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Photo by Photo by: C. Morgan Engel

Safety Justin Evans‘ hops were one of the days highlights, recording a 41.5 in the vertical jump. 

Texas A&M held its annual Pro Day Thursday morning at the McFerrin Indoor Football Facility. Fifteen former players showcased their abilities in front of 54 NFL personnel, including representatives from all 32 teams.

Eye-opening Evans electrifies testing

If there was a winner of A&M’s Pro Day, it was hands down Justin Evans.

The former Aggie safety dominated testing, posting a 41.5” vertical, 10’6” broad jump, and unofficially ran a 4.45 40-yard dash – not to mention Evans did these while dealing with a lingering quad injury.

Current A&M defensive end Zaycoven Henderson kept yelling ‘touch the stars’ during Evans’ vertical attempts, and his results may have helped skyrocket his draft stock.

“I may have,” Evans said when asked if he surprised people. “But I didn’t surprise myself though. I knew I was going to do that… But I may have surprised some other people.”

Evans’ 40 time turned heads, and after running it on the tweaked quad, Evans himself wondered what his time could have been if he were at full health.

“That’s what we were just talking about, we’ll never know though I guess. I’ll never run a 40 again probably,” Evans said. “I feel like that was the biggest strong point that [scouts] wanted to see today was my 40. I felt good, my quad was tight, running I still felt good though.”

A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin backed Evans’ comments saying he displayed the same abilities he’s shown since coming to Aggieland.

“He’s been impressive since we saw him in junior college,” Sumlin said. “What people have seen is the Justin Evans that we’ve seen forever.”

Although the Aggies lost to Alabama in 2015, Sumlin recalled Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry approaching him after the game asking where Evans was – a confrontation that attested to the player Evans is.

“Guy comes over after you shake Nick [Saban’s] hand and says, ‘Hey coach, where’s 14?’” Sumlin recalled. “I said, ‘What?’ He said, ‘Where’s 14? That dude’s a player.’ Cause he hit him in the face about two or three times that day unlike he’d been hit. That’s the kind of respect Justin Evans has, everybody talks about his range from free safety spot.”

Looking ahead, Evans stated he does not have a distinct strength, but emphasized that he is working hard to show he is a well-rounded safety.

“I really tried to move my game to be an all-around safety,” Evans said. “I really don’t have a true strong point, I try to make them all the same.”

Evans added that he has a meeting with the Detroit Lions scheduled soon and believes he could be the second Aggie to hear his name called at the NFL Draft, maybe even on April 27 the day of round one.

“Myles Garrett’s going to be the first one [picked],” Evans said.  “Hopefully I’m the second one.”

Garrett continues to showcase unreal abilities

It’s no secret that Myles Garrett is a freak of nature and Garrett showcased his incredible skills yet again at Pro Day, even after a phenomenal performance at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.

The reasoning for Garrett to come out and test even after his strong showing last month, however, was one that was simple for him: He wanted to compete.

“It’s just getting out there and showing everything you’ve been working on the last couple of years and not being lazy the last couple of weeks,” Garrett said of working out at Pro Day. “You shouldn’t be satisfied with what you’ve done on the field or what you did at the Combine, you’re about to go against the best in the world so you better be prepared.”

Garrett posted a 10’6” broad jump and then ran an unofficial 4.66 40-yard dash. Former A&M quarterback Trevor Knight noted that Garrett’s numbers were no surprise to him, as well as his eagerness to compete.

“Myles is one of those guys I’ve said forever, he’s one of the most gifted athletes if not the most gifted athlete that I’ve ever seen in my life,” Knight said. “He just goes to work and does it the right way. For him to come out here, he wants to compete and that’s what he does and I think he obviously put up great numbers and I’m really excited for what the next month has in store for him.”

Sumlin backed Knight’s comments about Garrett’s desire to compete, adding that there were a couple areas Garrett wanted to improve in from his results at the NFL Draft Combine.

“He’s a competitor and when he gets around his teammates, he’s even more of a competitor,” Sumlin said of Garrett. “When he puts on his cleats, puts on his stuff, he’s not coming out here to stand ground. He wasn’t happy with his 40 time in Indy and he was going to try and better that today. That’s who he is. He always wants to be better.”

While Garrett is the presumed number one pick, the hype around his selection is one that doesn’t phase him at all.

“It doesn’t bother me at all. I could slip to five or I could stay at one,” Garrett said. “That’s not on my mind, my mind is on wherever I go, I’m trying to be the best right away.”

Garrett still has meetings with the Bears and 49ers, but Sumlin added that he has no words to those who say Garrett should not be taken first overall.

“That’s their fault,” Sumlin said. “He was the number guy in high school, he’s the number one guy now. They’ll figure it out. If they don’t, they’ll figure it out on Sunday.”

Knight passes well, excited for future

For Trevor Knight, there was stipulation that the former A&M signal-caller would train at another position such as tight end or even safety for the NFL Draft.

Knight, however, stayed true to his quarterback roots and participated at the position during the Combine and Pro Day, adding that is where he plans on playing for now.

“I’m going to play quarterback right now,” Knight said. “I think I have the tools and the kind of the makeup to go be successful in this league playing quarterback. Now somewhere down the road if the only chance I have to play in the league is to play another position, obviously I would be open to it. Right now I’m not even thinking about that, I’m going to play QB.”

Working under center with Avery Gennesy snapping, Knight threw 60 total passes, working in different cone and bag drills while throwing to five receivers in a series of routes, throws and drop backs.

During those 60 passes, Knight felt he performed at a high level, showing that he has the abilities to be a quarterback at the next level.

“Felt good, obviously there’s a few throws you want back. You want to come out here and go 100 percent,” Knight said. “But I felt like I made enough of the NFL-type throws to prove I can make every throw. I was accurate most of the day and those guys were running around really good for me, making a lot of big catches. Overall, I think it was a really successful day.”

Knight had spent the two months before the Combine training with Tom Shaw in Orlando. Knight said the work put in with Shaw helped him perform well in Indianapolis and he has continued to work at his game with the A&M staff since then.

“They were incredible, really got me ready, felt like I performed well at the combine after that,” Knight said of training in Orlando. “I’ve been working with our staff here since I got back, both the old staff and the new staff which has been pretty cool to see that dynamic come together. Just working on little things, working on knowledge of the game, obviously my footwork, accuracy, those types of things, but also getting stronger, keeping up in the weight room and trying to get a little faster as well.”

The future remains uncertain for Knight and his NFL career, noting that he has heard he could go in the middle rounds or may be an undrafted free agent. Nonetheless, Knight is taking the entire experience and is looking forward to the journey to come.

“I’m kind of riding the wave of this thing and figuring out how it goes as we go along,” Knight said. “For me, it’s a dream come true. I just want a shot. I’ll compete with anybody and if it works out and guys are playing for my life, it’s going to be awesome and I’ll give it everything I have. But if not, there’s a lot more to my life than just football.”

Rather rough day for Reynolds

Josh Reynolds was money on the perimeter for A&M last season, hauling in a team-best 1,039 yards and 13 touchdowns. On Thursday, however, Reynolds may have lost a little money after uncharacteristically dropping three passes while running routes with Knight.

Nonetheless, Sumlin knows the type of player Reynolds is and added his speed will help him be successful in the league

“He’s a guy that I get all these terms from the NFL guys, he’s got build up speed,” Sumlin said. “I said, ‘Well where I come from, speed’s speed.’ All I know is that he runs by people and he catches the ball. He’ll do the same thing at the next level.”

Despite the up and down day from the Aggies top target the past two years, Sumlin said Reynolds’ tape proves his abilities and knows it won’t be long before he hears his name called on the stage.
“His tape and what he’s doing right now, I think what you saw today was a team effort based on Trevor, and guys wanting to help Trevor’s status,” Sumlin said. “His tape speaks for itself and his toughness. It probably won’t be the first day, but it won’t take long for people to call his name.”

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