STATESBORO, Ga. (WSAV) – Ten football players took the field at Paulson Stadium on Friday morning for the most important workout of their lives.
Randy Wade Jr., Aaron Dowdell, Lawrence Edwards, Logan Wright, C.J. Wright and Darrell Baker Jr. took the field for Georgia Southern in front of more than half-a-dozen professional scouts.
There were only three participants for Pro Day on last year’s Georgia Southern squad, but two of them – lineman Michael Johnson III and long snapped Ryan Langan – made NFL training camp rosters.
This year’s prospects are confident that if last year’s guys could make it to camp, they can too.
“It felt great, felt amazing,” said Wade Jr, an outside linebacker. “I came out here and just had fun. Didn’t worry about my personal numbers or anything and made sure to cheer the guys on. I just kept pushing all the way through.”
“The biggest thing when you come out here for days like this is to move at your pace, don’t let them speed you up or slow you down,” said cornerback Darrell Baker Jr. “Whatever you’ve trained to do, continue to do it at that speed and stay calm throughout everything.”
More players going through the Pro Day process is an encouraging sign for defensive backs coach Kevin Whitley, who also served as last season’s interim head coach after the firing of Chad Lunsford. Whitley helped recruit some of the players on the field Friday morning. He feels like more are on the way.
“Our staff has done a great job recruiting and anytime you have this number of NFL scouts to evaluate your seniors, it says a lot about what you’re recruiting. That won’t change anytime soon. We’ve done a great job of getting out on the road and trying to identify talent early.”
Savannah State also had four prospects work out for scouts: Le’Vonte Larry, Marvin Grunshie, Trey Murray and Bernard Brown. All of them are defensive players. Last year’s Tigers had just one: lineman Michael Johnson.
“The last two winning seasons were the first two winning seasons in over 25 years,” said interim coach Russell DeMasi. “People are excited about Savannah State football and that’s because of the players we’ve got in our program. Two of these guys were one-year players for us and they did what they needed to do once they got on campus. The other two have been in the program for more than two years. It just showcases what we’re doing and building down there.”
DeMasi is still the interim head coach because Savannah State has not found a permanent head coach after the departure of Shawn Quinn on Dec. 1.
After their workouts, players expressed support for DeMasi’s promotion to the full-time job.
“He has a lot of energy, honestly,” Grunshie said. “He’s always going to make sure you’re on time and he’s always going to make sure you’re doing the right thing. But most of all, he wants you to grow as a person and a man.”
“He deserves it, man,” Brown said. “He’s already a local guy, the guys love him.”
DeMasi is one of the last four candidates under consideration for the position, along with Bethune-Cookman offensive coordinator Allen Suber, former Georgia Southern wide receivers coach Lamar Owens and Howard DBs coach Aaron Kelton.