University of Cincinnati (UC) football's National Football League Draft prospects put on a show Wednesday afternoon at UC's Pro Day. With representatives from 29 of the NFL's 32 teams in attendance, UC's athletes displayed their skills in the pandemic's version of the annual NFL Combine.
Cincinnati's former defensive back, safety Darrick Forrest, received a heavy amount of attention for the numbers he put up: 21 bench press reps, 39" vertical jump, 11" broad jump and two 4.38 second 40-yard dashes. His 40-yard dash and vertical were both the best performances inside UC's Sheakley Stadium Wednesday, in their respective categories.
Coming in at 6'0 200 lbs., Forrest outdid 2020's No. 1 drafted overall safety; Xavier McKinney, who had 19 reps, 36", 10'2" and a 4.63, respectively. Following his impressive numbers, Forrest Jr. Told his Twitter followers, "Just want to thank God and all the people behind me."
"It's showing that the hard work I put down in Fort Lauderdale is paying off," Forrest told the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Pro Football Focus's draft analyst, Austin Gayle, said, "Darrick Forest made himself a lot of money yesterday."
Forrest's counterpart in the defensive backfield, safety James Wiggins, clocked a 40-yard dash of 4.40 seconds and a vertical jump of 38".
Representing Cincinnati's defensive front was Elijah Ponder, the defensive lineman who cranked out the most bench press reps of the day at 27. At 268 lbs. and arms spanning 75 1/8", Ponder clocked a 5.06 40-yard dash and a 7.45 three-cone drill.
Leading the linebacker core behind Ponder for the "Blackcats" was Jarell White, who clocked a 4.58 40-yard dash and 22 bench press reps at 202 lbs.
James Hudson of Cincinnati, the projected No. 8 overall offensive lineman drafted per ESPN, bench pressed 22 reps and had a vertical of 28.5". Weighing in at 313 lbs. and 6'5", Hudson carried his 80" 7/8 wingspan to a 5.27 40-yard dash. After transferring from the University of Michigan to become Cincinnati's reliable offensive tackle, Hudson said he probably made the best decision of his life in transferring.
Also representing the Bearcat offense was running back Gerrid Doaks, who had the highest vertical of the day, 39.5, weighing in at 228 lbs." Out of the 30 running backs who participated in 2020's NFL Combine, only two had a higher vertical than Doaks.
"Doaks is more explosive than I thought, but the injury history/lack of high-end production is scary," said Gayle.
Before Pro Day, Doaks said, "getting fast was my main focus." Following Pro Day, he said he performed better than he expected.
Cincinnati's punter, James Smith, put on a different show in windy Nippert Stadium. Smith averaged 48.5 yards, 49.6 when punting directional left and 53 directional right.
Amongst the NFL scouts in attendance Wednesday were those staying behind to take care of unfinished business, led by quarterback Desmond Ridder, who was by far the most passionate supporter of those performing.
UC's current roster will be holding their spring scrimmage April 17 at Nippert Stadium, followed by the 2021 NFL Draft, which begins on April 29.