Senior players put on show for NFL Pro Day
National Football League scouts were invited to a Pro Day at Houck Stadium, hosted by Southeast on Monday, April 2, where eight Redhawk seniors displayed their talent and athleticism.
“They all are [looking to get in the NFL],” Southeast coach Tom Matukewicz said. “When they are little, they dream about this day. I still am.”
The Southeast seniors participating were safety Omar Pierre-Louis, defensive back Rico McWilliams, linebacker Chad Meredith, linebacker Kendall Donnerson, cornerback Mike Ford, quarterback Jesse Hosket, tight end Logan Larson and nose tackle Joshua Wilson.
There were five NFL teams in attendance—the Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, Chicago Bears, Los Angeles Rams and Cleveland Browns. Last year, no NFL teams showed interest in any Southeast players, and the Pro Day was cancelled.
For senior linebacker Chad Meredith, this was not his first Pro Day, which took off some of his nerves. He was among four players to participate in off-campus Pro Days, his being at the University of Lousiville.
“I felt really good [from the last Pro Day],” Meredith said. “I did a lot of good numbers, so I didn’t have to do all the events today, I could pick and choose what I felt I could improve on. So that was another thing that was kind of a relief, having those numbers already.”
The Pro Day displayed one of Southeast strengths this past season, with six of the participants from the defense, which will be hurt by their graduation.
“Defense is probably our biggest hit,” Matukewicz said. “[But] the Redhawks showed well. Both our defensive backs and linebackers have done a really nice job today.”
Both Donnerson and Meredith agreed the drills were different this Pro Day compared to their last one.
Meredith said the type of drills caught him a little off guard.
“I actually didn’t know what drills we were going to do, so it was little different. But after I got the hang of it, everything went great,” Meredith said.
Drafting is up to NFL general managers, who receive input from their scouts. All the Redhawks could control was their preparation and effort, Matukewicz said.
“This is the first group that we’ve seen since they were [freshmen],” Matukewicz said. “It’s kind of surreal to see guys come up and improve so much and do a great job today. It’s kind of why you coach, to make a difference. I mean, Chad Meredith started as a walk-on, nobody wanted to give him a scholarship. And now he’s at Pro Day. It’s surreal.”
Meredith said it doesn’t bother him that he was overlooked and not given a scholarship out of high school. That is all behind him. His focus is on speaking with teams and setting up visits. He already has people getting in touch with his agent.
“I got to really talk to the Lions and the Bears, as well as the Jaguars,” Meredith said. “I’ll be flying out to some teams and doing some visits there. All of the running and jumping is over with, so now it’s just shaking hands and talking.”
With those teams looking at Meredith, and the 19 teams looking at Donnerson, there is a chance a Southeast athlete may hear his named called during the NFL Draft, which will be held on April 26 to 28.