After a month of college basketball teams seeking their "one shining moment," 13 Northwestern State 2013 senior football players chased their own dreams at the Demons' annual Pro Day Tuesday morning at Turpin Stadium.
Joined by four 2012 senior teammates, the players went through tests and drills for scouts representing 14 NFL teams, including Super Bowl champion Seattle, the home state New Orleans Saints, the perennial playoff entry New England Patriots, and the Dallas Cowboys. Both New York teams were involved, along with Green Bay, Cincinnati, Washington, Kansas City, Oakland, Indianapolis, Carolina and Jacksonville.
"It's a blessing to come out here and see all those teams," said 2013 senior receiver Louis Hollier, second in school history with 114 career catches. "As a little boy growing up, you watch the NFL and you think about playing for them, and then today you come out here and they're watching you. It was exciting."
Defensive tackle Lesley Deamer, whose stock with NFL teams is likely exceeded only by safety Bert White among the 2013 senior class, appreciated the chance to compete alongside his teammates once again.
"It's probably the last time I get to work on this field with these guys, and I'm thankful for that opportunity," he said. "There's something about this field and this stadium that brings out your best.
"These 2-3 hours, you have the chance to turn some heads after months and years of working to get to this moment. I gave it all I had, I didn't shortchange any drill, and I feel good about what I did today."
White, whose senior season was hampered by a preseason knee injury that required surgery, showed why he was on the Senior Bowl's watch list with the day's most spectacular play. Working in a drill that simulated a play-action pass, he demonstrated an impressive burst of speed to recover from a charge to the line and made an over-the-shoulder snag of a deep pass that would have been the envy of any major league centerfielder.
"I had to really stretch out for it, and give that extra ‘oomph' to get it, so it was a pretty great catch," said White, who earlier posted the morning's best standing broad jump, 9 feet, 4 inches, and the fastest 40-yard dash, 4.69.
Hollier, who had the best vertical jump (36 inches) among the participants, said he was pleased with his performance.
"I've been training for this day and now I feel real good about it. Running routes, catching the ball, that was my highlight of the day," he said.
Defensive end Keland Johnson, who got extra attention working with Deamer in an intense defensive line drill to conclude Pro Day, typified the mindset demonstrated by the NFL hopefuls Tuesday.
"I just need a shot. I had to give my best to try to catch somebody's attention, get my foot in a door," he said. "If I broke a leg in a drill, I was going to finish the drill. You leave it all out there."
Release provided by the Northwestern State sports information department.