FORE­MAN WOWS NFL SCOUTS AT UT PRO DAY

Texas’ 234-pound run­ning back runs 40-yard dash in un­der 4.5 sec­onds.

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - By Brian Davis bdavis@states­man.com

Pro tim­ing day ev­ery spring is that rare oc­ca­sion where col­lege ath­letes, long ac­cus­tomed to scrap­ing by on measly schol­ar­ship checks, know they can make mil­lions be­fore lunch.

NFL scouts from all 32 teams came to see one par­tic­u­lar Longhorn on Tuesday, and he did not dis­ap­point. D’Onta Fore­man, weigh­ing a svelte 234 pounds, recorded a 33-inch ver­ti­cal jump and blew through the 40-yard dash some­where in the low 4.4-sec­ond range.

Texas’ Doak Walker Award win­ner didn’t run at the NFL scout­ing com­bine in Fe­bru­ary be­cause of a stress frac­ture, which re­quired no surgery. On­look­ers were cheer­ing Tuesday when he zipped through the sec­ond of two at­tempts at the UT in­door prac­tice fa­cil­ity.

Asked if he be­lieved he made some money Tuesday, Fore­man said, “I def­i­nitely do, yes sir.

“I read cer­tain stuff, and I don’t let it get to me, but you see that cer­tain peo­ple doubt you,” Fore­man said. “I’ve al­ways been doubted, and I’ve al­ways had to prove peo­ple wrong. So to­day was just an­other day for me to go out there and prove some peo­ple wrong.”

NFL scouts all use their own stop­watches, and Fore­man said the hand times ranged from 4.41 to 4.48 sec­onds.

At the NFL com­bine, only three run­ning backs broke the 4.45 bar­rier — North Carolina’s T.J. Lo­gan, Utah’s Joe Wil­liams and North Carolina A&T’s Tarik Co­hen. Florida State’s Dalvin Cook ran a 4.49. LSU’s Leonard Four­nette ran a 4.51. Ok­la­homa’s Sa­maje Per­ine ran a 4.65.

None of those other play­ers did what Fore­man ac­com­plished last sea­son — rush for 2,028 yards, be­come UT’s third Doak Walker win­ner and led the na­tion in rush­ing yards per game at 184.4.

By Tuesday af­ter­noon, leg­endary NFL per­son­nel direc­tor Gil Brandt tweeted that no player weigh­ing 232 or more pounds had run that fast in NFL com­bine data go­ing back to 2003.

“He’s lost, what, 20 pounds? Slim and trim,” for­mer UT run­ning back Johnathan Gray said. “(D’Onta) looked good, he ran well. He looks like a first-rounder.”

Gray was one of sev­eral for­mer Longhorns look­ing for an­other chance to im­press scouts. Des­mond Jackson, Daje John­son and Josh Turner also went through the work­outs. But the lone quar­ter­back drew a bulk of the at­ten­tion.

For all in­tents and pur­poses, David Ash’s foot­ball ca­reer ended the night of the 2014 sea­son opener against North Texas. He never played foot­ball again, as UT med­i­cal train­ers felt his con­cus­sion his­tory made it too risky.

Ash com­pleted 29 of 36 passes dur­ing the throw­ing drills on Tuesday and punted some in the swirling wind.

“I just wanted to come out and be thank­ful for it,” said Ash, who was 15-7 as a starter and threw for 4,728 ca­reer yards. “I wanted to en­cour­age the guys around me and see those guys do well. I just thought it was a great day for ev­ery­body. I’m just look­ing for­ward to what’s next.”

The same holds true for mul­ti­ple Longhorns who played last sea­son.

Kent Perkins said he wanted to show scouts that he was in great shape. He weighed in at 320 pounds and bench-pressed 225 pounds an eye-pop­ping 35 times. De­fen­sive tackle Paul Boyette Jr. clicked off 30 reps on the bench press.

Safety Dy­lan Haines blew through the 40-yard dash and per­formed well on the agility drills. “Go type my name into Google, and you’ll get, ‘Unath­letic, slow, slow-footed ...,’ all that stuff,” Haines said. “But I know I’m a good ath­lete, and I just tried to show that to­day.”

Fi­nally, the other no­table UT quar­ter­back was on the field catch­ing passes as a tight end.

Ty­rone Swoopes ran a 4.65 in the 40-yard dash and had a 35-inch ver­ti­cal. This is a whole new po­si­tion and com­pletely new ex­pe­ri­ence for some­one who spent years play­ing quar­ter­back.

What­ever it takes to make some money, right?

“I re­ally just wanted to come in, catch ev­ery ball. I tested about how I thought I would, so I think I did fine,” Swoopes said. “I’ve said it be­fore. If you don’t be­lieve in what you do, then no­body else will be­lieve in what you do.”

RALPH BAR­RERA / AMER­I­CAN-STATES­MAN

Af­ter drop­ping about 20 pounds, Texas run­ning back D’Onta Fore­man sprinted around at 234 pounds in Tuesday’s pro day at the UT in­door prac­tice fa­cil­ity.

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