Early Wednesday morning, 20 NFL scouts, plus San Francisco 49ers Head Coach Mike Singletary, a Hall of Fame linebacker, watched intently as seven Tribe seniors attempted to improve their professional football prospects at William and Mary’s annual Pro Day at Zable Stadium.
Quarterback R.J. Archer, safeties David Caldwell and Robert Livingston, defensive tackle Sean Lissemore, wide receiver D.J. McAulay, defensive end Adrian Tracy and tight end Rob Varno participated.
The players ran through drills traditionally featured at the NFL combine, including the 225-pound bench press, vertical leap, standing broad jump and 40-yard dash, as well as various quickness and position drills.
“It was definitely exciting,” Tracy, an All-CAA honoree, said. “A lot of people think William and Mary is an academic school and that we don’t really have athletes. It was nice for them to see that we do have athletes that can play with the highest levels of competition, and it definitely felt good to have a chance to showcase the talent.”
Tracy, who was the only Tribe player to also work out at the NFL combine in February, used Wednesday’s Pro Day as a chance to improve his standing with scouts who took notice of him over the year. Although Tracy chose not to participate in any combine drills Wednesday, he ran through several position drills as scouts looked on.
During the combine, Tracy recorded a 40-yard dash time of 4.76 seconds, a vertical jump of 35.5 inches and 20 reps on the 225-pound bench press. CBS Sports currently projects Tracy as a sixth or seventh-round pick in the upcoming NFL Draft.
“I’ve had a lot of positive feedback from everyone who was here, and if they didn’t speak to me here, they spoke to me at the combine,” Tracy said. “The positive feedback I have had from everybody is definitely a confidence booster, making me feel like I do belong, and that all the hard work has paid off to certain extent. But there is still more work to be done.”
Many eyes were also on Lissemore, who tried to leave a memorable impression on the scouts.
“I feel like I did well on all my drills,” Lissemore said. “I hit the [225-pound bench press] 36 times, which I think ranks third at the combine right now overall. On the vertical jump, I recorded 30 inches, which is respectable for weighing 298 pounds … My 40-yard dash time was 4.83 [seconds], which is right in the range that I need to be.”
Lissemore believed the other seniors caught the attention of the scouts in attendance as well.
“I think that R.J. Archer did a great job,” Lissemore said. “He is just one of those guys that can just do it all. Coming off of baseball and throwing the ball around the way he did, he really turned some heads … I think David Caldwell had a heck of day. He had been flying under the radar for a number of reasons, but he is just a physical specimen and he really performed well.”
Archer has been projected to make an NFL roster as an undrafted free agent by CDSDraft.com, and Tribe players and coaches have said that he has the potential to succeed at the next level. Caldwell talked to several scouts Wednesday and said that representatives from the Kansas City Chiefs and the New England Patriots have expressed interest.
With 20 scouts present, the event featured the biggest turnout in recent memory, a fact players attribute to the successful NFL careers of several College alumni. William and Mary has graduated two Super Bowl winners: Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin ’95 and New Orleans Saints safety Darren Sharper ’97. Derek Cox ’09 was a third-round draft pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2009.
“When we have guys coming out and performing real well, it helps us,” Caldwell said. “If Derek Cox hadn’t performed so well last year and made such an impact on the Jaguars, we wouldn’t have had as much attention on Adrian and Sean, and that gave players like myself an opportunity to go off of Adrian and Sean. You just have to use whatever you can use when you come from a small school that’s not used to putting out big name prospects.”