Taylor-made for NFL after workout

Scouts get to take a closer look at Ayers

The soft-spoken receiver let his workout do the talking.

"I'm real excited," former Tennessee receiver Lucas Taylor said following UT's Pro Day at Neyland-Thompson Sports Center on Wednesday. "I was very nervous. I feel pretty good about my times."

Taylor's nerves didn't show. The 5-foot-11, 189-pounder posted a 4.36-second time in the 40-yard dash, a 36-inch vertical jump and 14 bench-press repetitions of 225 pounds.

"I think he just got himself drafted," said Kurt Hester of D-1 Sports Training. "I'm hoping. He deserves it."

In the seven weeks that Taylor has been working with Hester, the receiver gained 11 pounds while dropping his 40-time an all-important 1/10 of a second, adding seven inches to his vertical jump and increasing his bench press repetitions from two to 14.

"That is by far one of the best athletes I've ever worked with," said Hester, who has trained and consulted with several college football programs.

Taylor began the day on bench press, then ran the 40-yard dash. It was just the start he was looking for.

"Really fired up," Taylor said when asked about the beginning of his day, "When I first came here, my mindset was 4.3 and that's what I did today."

If there was one slight blemish on Taylor's workout, it was a dropped pass that was thrown behind him.

"But I got my hands on it, still supposed to catch it," Taylor said with his trademark smile.

Hester said attitude played a huge role in Taylor's training.

"I don't think there's one person in Knoxville that doesn't like him," Hester said. "He's just a great, great kid."

One More Time: By all accounts, Robert Ayers would be a high draft pick whether or not he worked out Wednesday. He'd done enough thanks to his combine workout and his performance at the Senior Bowl, where he was named defensive MVP.

Yet Ayers had something to prove - especially for those teams that are considering him as a pass-rushing linebacker in a 3-4 defensive scheme.

"I wanted to come out here and compete and challenge myself," the former UT defensive end said.

Ayers only participated in two timed events: the 20-yard shuttle and the three-cone drill.

Scouts, however, asked Ayers to do much more. The 6-3, 272-pounder was run through a battery of tests to determine his ability and determination.

"I just wanted to come out and show that I'm athletic enough to play in space, that I have good hips and flexibility," Ayers said.

Former UT defensive end Chuck Smith has been training Ayers. Smith didn't seem surprised by Ayers' fast ascension up the list of NFL draftees.

"He was always pretty known to me," Smith said. "When you see what happened with the university last year, the big-name guys obviously didn't live up to expectations."

Smith didn't blame such shortcomings on individual players. Instead, he pointed to the collective group as a reason that Ayers had only three sacks last season.

"Everybody is connected," Smith said.

More Players: Three other former Vols trained with D-I, which is owned by former UT quarterback Peyton Manning and managed by former UT fullback Will Bartholomew, who is the company's CEO.

D-1 client Josh Briscoe was ecstatic with his 4.39 time in the 40.

"I want a cheeseburger," the receiver exclaimed afterward. "I'm going to get a cheeseburger."

Briscoe said he actually benefitted from an illness earlier this month that cost him seven pounds. When recovered, he ran a 4.36 and decided to stay at his new "running" weight of 181.

Linebacker Ellix Wilson ran a 4.61 in the 40, posted a 32-inch vertical jump and bench pressed 225 pounds for 23 repetitions.

"I'm not ready to give up this football thing so I just hope someone gives me a chance," Wilson said.

Wilson said he's not worried about getting drafted and is willing to prove himself on an NFL practice squad if need be.

"Free agents have come in and done their thing," Wilson said.

Linebacker Adam Myers -White is hoping for the same opportunity and trained for that chance.

"Stopped partying and everything," Myers-White said. "Held everything back. Started focusing."

Myers-White bench pressed 225 pounds 15 times, posted 32 inches on the vertical jump and ran a 4.58 in the 40.

"It's gone and over with. Whatever happens today - calls or no calls (from the NFL) - I know I did the best what I can do. I'm proud of that."

McKenzie Missteps: Former UT safety/linebacker Nevin McKenzie lamented some missteps in his training that caused some missteps Wednesday.

"I just wish I would have been better prepared but I feel I did good for the situation," McKenzie said.

McKenzie, who trained in Texas, said he believed he could use his hands during the shuttle drill to balance himself and was confused about the start on another drill.

"When it came back to the football stuff, I feel like I did pretty good," McKenzie said.

It's unclear if scouts think of McKenzie as a linebacker or a safety.

"I talked to a couple of them," he said. "They've just been talking about me as an athlete, not a position."

Roll Call: Former players Jamal Lewis and Todd Kelley were on hand.

Bartholomew and Smith were there to support their clients.

Tailback Arian Foster didn't work out and is thought to be planning a workout in California.

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Comments » 51

SignalMtnVol writes:

How is it that he can run a 4.36, but not get any seperation from DB's and LB's last year?

dvols writes:

wish we would have had an offensive line over the past....well.....hmmmmmm.....still don't have one

Major_Magilicutty writes:

Congrats Lucas! To the haters...eat it!

x writes:

2 bp's to 14 bp's after hiring a new trainer?? Hopefully the new strength coach does a better job

memphis_vol_fan writes:

More proof that the Clawson offense absolutely SUCKED!!!!

Congrats guys. Hope all of you get drafted or sign somewhere.

TommyJack writes:

in response to UTfan4life:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

It was there, 4. Just not utilized under the former regime.

CoverOrange writes:

Where was this kind of work ethic, desire, dedication and urgency a year ago? Maybe they wouldn't be worrying about the draft and their future if they had focused like this a year ago.

101st_AIRBORNE_VOL (Inactive) writes:

in response to SignalMtnVol:

How is it that he can run a 4.36, but not get any seperation from DB's and LB's last year?

5'11, 178lbs last season. Too small to break press coverage.

MANVOL writes:

i guess we need to pay players so the will train harder..""In the seven weeks that Taylor has been working with Hester, the receiver gained 11 pounds while dropping his 40-time an all-important 1/10 of a second, adding seven inches to his vertical jump and increasing his bench press repetitions from two to 14.""

Timed_vol (Inactive) writes:

in response to memphis_vol_fan:

More proof that the Clawson offense absolutely SUCKED!!!!

Congrats guys. Hope all of you get drafted or sign somewhere.

I wrote a near-thesis on this baard; Clawson's offesnse doesn't 'suck', UT's players are too dumb to learn it and run it.

Clawson's O works better with smarter players. The coach form texas tech would have struggled just as much trying to implement that offense here....it's just the way it is.

UT has big, strong fast players, but they tend to not be all that bright.

lomas98 writes:

in response to SignalMtnVol:

How is it that he can run a 4.36, but not get any seperation from DB's and LB's last year?

Becuase of the offense he was in and the qb he had throwing to him. He caught over 70 balls and 1000 yards in 07. I do think he will struggle with press coverage in the NFL with the size and speed of the corners. Its one thing to run that speed on a track and then convert it on the football field. 40 times are so overated.

IBleedOrange444 writes:

I am really happy for Taylor, and I hope that he has a successful NFL career. He seemed like a model student-athlete while he was at UT, but I have to admit that it irks me to know that he was able to improve so much working with D-1 after his UT playing days were over. That to me speaks volumes about the prior coaching staff. If they were really up to the task then you would assume that these guys would be pretty close to maxed out on their potential by the end of their senior seasons. Best of luck to all of our former players in whatever life brings them. Here's to hoping to get the most out of our athletes before their eligibility is up in the future!

great2batnvol writes:

congrats to Myers-White!!! you've got to be kidding me. "Finally stopped partying and held everything back". Nice to know you finally started to get your focus after four lame years on the Hill. Don't let the door hit your rear on the way out. Unbelievable!!!

miamiVOL writes:

in response to Timed_vol:

I wrote a near-thesis on this baard; Clawson's offesnse doesn't 'suck', UT's players are too dumb to learn it and run it.

Clawson's O works better with smarter players. The coach form texas tech would have struggled just as much trying to implement that offense here....it's just the way it is.

UT has big, strong fast players, but they tend to not be all that bright.

lol, nice excuse. Im sure D1AA athletes are much more well rounded and have a better football IQ than athletes from top flight D1 schools

cjraney writes:

Good luck to all the Vols.

Its great they've improved their performance since the season, but I wish it had happened before now.

rpolston#211678 writes:

That's Will Bartholomew, I presume. ;)

ICARRIEDGOALPOST writes:

it's amazing how much better all the guys got with just a little training and TRUE conditioning. man i'm glad fulmers gone.

bobbytodd writes:

in response to SignalMtnVol:

How is it that he can run a 4.36, but not get any seperation from DB's and LB's last year?

The ball only went 6 yards before it bounced off the ground. How much seperation did you expect him to get in that short of a distance?

Major_Magilicutty writes:

I wanted to post this after reading the "Practice Fine for Openers" article on GVX. Indirectly, it certainly seems like Kiffin is saying pretty much the same thing we (the majority of UT fans) said about Fulmer and his crew.

"They gave us spurts of the energy we need to see to be at a championship level, but then they don’t know how to keep going. We’ll keep working on it.”

It seems to me that this is an indictment of Fulmer's staff altogether, albeit indirectly.

nicksjuzunk#646117 writes:

That's dang fast son. I wish Arian could've been there.

eb502us#225637 writes:

Arian probably knew he'd have the slowest time of the day. Not good for a RB.

MiserableFloridaVol writes:

Seriously, why isn't this the focus of our last strength coaches? I hope these new guys get on point about what real work ethic is and what's at stake!

elizabethtonvol72 writes:

Best of luck to all our guy's! No matter their performance on the hill. Remember, they will always be labled a TN Vol! Hope they all do very well.

Ironcity writes:

Who new all of our receivers could run a 4.3s. I guess what they really need was about 9ft reach for balls coming their way.

Kbailey writes:

in response to SignalMtnVol:

How is it that he can run a 4.36, but not get any seperation from DB's and LB's last year?

while your sitting in front of the computer talking trash about a 4.36, you need to realize Lucas has been working his butt off for the past few months. I dont see you out there on tv playing SEC football. Everyone knows last year wasnt good for anybody but please lets not forget about his junior season. All SEC, 1,000 recieving yards, and 73 catches! so quit hatin!!

orangebass writes:

goodbye Former Strength coach Johnny "Not so strong" Long. CLK will have the Vols back in shape!!!

FLVol writes:

It's funny how these guys start focusing once money is on the line. Had they done this during the season and off season maybe UT would have put a better product on the field. The former coaches played a huge part in this as well.

Volumni writes:

It ain't hatin', but these numbers don't change one thing: Both 2007 and 2008, our receivers dropped a ton of balls, mainly Austin Rogers, but Lucas too. That part won't help get them drafted. Lucas was our most consistent, but certainly not fastest, wideout in 2007. Maybe a Cedric Wilson-type receiver in the pros. I wish him the best.

Homermoosevols writes:

Wow, all these UT players making such strides a couple of months after their last season. What does that tell ya? Was it poor coaching, lack of discipline/motivation, or a combination of both? I am happy for these guys but come on where was this sudden ability at UT?

jeff1vol writes:

This really p!@#es me off! Hard work? Dedication? Where the F is the dedication to the University of TENNESSEE? 2 freaking reps on the bench? Are you serious, Lucas? Man...what you could've done if you actually TRIED while here. Now you can bp 14 reps? Great job. And AMW...YOU don't deserve a shot at the NFL. "stopped partying", "started focusing"? FU. You should've fing FOCUSED before your pro day dbag.

SignalMtnVol writes:

in response to IdentityTheftVictim09:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Hey Rich, I'm in section W, 15th row. I saw it all as well. I also saw that he was very incosistent getting seperation. Like another poster noted already, I saw a ton of dropped balls last year. Could be QB play, could be the O, could have been numerous things.

SignalMtnVol writes:

in response to Kbailey:

while your sitting in front of the computer talking trash about a 4.36, you need to realize Lucas has been working his butt off for the past few months. I dont see you out there on tv playing SEC football. Everyone knows last year wasnt good for anybody but please lets not forget about his junior season. All SEC, 1,000 recieving yards, and 73 catches! so quit hatin!!

And for you, I could not care less what you think. I know what he did his junior season, and if he and the rest of the O had replicated it, we would have had 9 wins.

chad_t31 writes:

in response to IdentityTheftVictim09:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

He's holding it all back for.....well, who knows?!

jasoncounts writes:

maybe if our previous coaching staff would have pushed these guys to get better imagine thet different outcome. just another reason cpf needed to go.

chad_t31 writes:

in response to FLVol:

It's funny how these guys start focusing once money is on the line. Had they done this during the season and off season maybe UT would have put a better product on the field. The former coaches played a huge part in this as well.

Let's think about this though. Courtney Paris has said she'd pay back a year's scholarship if oklahoma doesn't win a NC this year. The scholarship is valued at $64,000. Over 4 years, that's $256,000. IMO money has been on the line since their freshman year.

chad_t31 writes:

AMW....you, my friend, just summed up your sorry-arse career!!

ksherr0 writes:

who was our previous strength coach? a 190 lb wr benching 225 a whopping 2 times, give me a break. this is after 4 years of strength and conditioning.

Volunatic writes:

"D-1, which is owned by former UT quarterback Peyton Manning and managed by former UT fullback Ben Bartholomew, who is the company's CEO."

I'm pretty sure they mean "former UT fullback WILL Bartholomew".
Ben is currently a sophomore on UT's football team.

BigMikeUT writes:

Hire Kurt Hester...

OrangeMagic writes:

in response to jeff1vol:

This really p!@#es me off! Hard work? Dedication? Where the F is the dedication to the University of TENNESSEE? 2 freaking reps on the bench? Are you serious, Lucas? Man...what you could've done if you actually TRIED while here. Now you can bp 14 reps? Great job. And AMW...YOU don't deserve a shot at the NFL. "stopped partying", "started focusing"? FU. You should've fing FOCUSED before your pro day dbag.

Your quote to AMW "FU"

Don't you think that's a little harsh? Coaching probably sets the tone for a young athlete at this stage of their life.

Why do "some" fans spend the effort to degrade our own former athletes and coaches, even successful ones? Does it make you feel better about yourself?

And then we have all the Fulmer haters with their childish screen names, weight references, and clever misspellings of his name to always produce a negative slant on every article. A positive article about Kiffin is an opportunity to slam Fulmer. Let it go, let's move to the next chapter. I wish Fulmer the very best but I am glad Kiffin is here.

And I wish all of our former players supreme success as it advances the name of the university and the program.

TommyJack writes:

For all the Fulmerites. The evidence just keep mounting. Selah.

rbhobbs73#226545 writes:

in response to TommyJack:

For all the Fulmerites. The evidence just keep mounting. Selah.

TJ,

Agreed!

I was never a huge supporter or basher of Fulmer, but I was ready for him to go once and for all at the end of September last year.

But for those who still wish Fulmer was here (you know who you are) the evidence from the pro-day workouts, the comments and results of the conditioning program and expectations of the new staff is shedding a light as bright as the sun directly at Coach Fulmer.

It is now proof positive of what we saw each Saturday on the field....no preparation, no conditioning, no fundamentals and a devil may care attitude.

We saw it each off season with the partying, arrests, academic failures and general devil may care attitude.

This did not happen overnight. It started years ago and crept into the culture of our football program. Phillip Fulmer let this happen. He gets and deserves the blame.

I look forward to brighter days for the UT football program...even the adjustment period will be tolerable...and make no mistake...there will be an adjustment to new schemes.

Go Vols!

volmot writes:

I'v read all the post on here about former hc, former strenght coach, player attitude when money on line etc, all I can ad is STFU. Jeez you people are idiots. Guess what people the NCAA has a thing called the 20 hr rule. That means that including games, pratice, and weight room a player is only allowed 20 hr a week at their sport. Something about them being a student athlete. Now compare that with the players who worked out at D-1. They were doing some sort of training for the better part of 6-8 a day 6 days a week. Yeah like a job you jackasses. I wonder how everyone on this board (me included ) would look if we worked out like that "

LoveTheHaters writes:

You fanboys are hilarious with all the negative talk...proof that most of you were probably punked by athletes growing up, LOL!!

kevin151 writes:

4.36? 40's mean phooey.... Anquan Bolden ran a 4.8 at the combines, look how he turned out.

TrouserCough writes:

How can you only bench 225 twice after four years of training. Then bench 225 14 times after seven weeks of training. No wonder we have a new strength coach.

Docrok writes:

in response to SignalMtnVol:

How is it that he can run a 4.36, but not get any seperation from DB's and LB's last year?

Same reason Parker was overweight most of the season, they spent more time partying at the club then they did focusing on playing football for UT cause they were not held accountable!

invisiblekid writes:

in response to volmot:

I'v read all the post on here about former hc, former strenght coach, player attitude when money on line etc, all I can ad is STFU. Jeez you people are idiots. Guess what people the NCAA has a thing called the 20 hr rule. That means that including games, pratice, and weight room a player is only allowed 20 hr a week at their sport. Something about them being a student athlete. Now compare that with the players who worked out at D-1. They were doing some sort of training for the better part of 6-8 a day 6 days a week. Yeah like a job you jackasses. I wonder how everyone on this board (me included ) would look if we worked out like that "

Apparently, players and coaches at many other schools made better use of their allotted 20 hours a week.

http://www.nfl.com/combine/top-perfor...

Volunatic writes:

in response to Timed_vol:

I wrote a near-thesis on this baard; Clawson's offesnse doesn't 'suck', UT's players are too dumb to learn it and run it.

Clawson's O works better with smarter players. The coach form texas tech would have struggled just as much trying to implement that offense here....it's just the way it is.

UT has big, strong fast players, but they tend to not be all that bright.

Richmond didn't win a championship until Clawson was gone.

Baine writes:

Seems as though we are moving forward at an astonishing rate. CLK has all the tools in place to get the best of the young men he is charged with leading. Two years from now the malcontents will be pissed because we were #2 in recruiting and only won the SEC championship. Some of you scoff at the idea, but wait and see. You know the ones I write of.

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