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Kentucky Pro Day Primer: Will Levis Bringing Top NFL Brass to Lexington

Wildcats Today on FanNation logo Wildcats Today on FanNation 3/24/2023 Hunter Shelton

LEXINGTON, Ky. — All eyes in the professional football world will be on or around the University of Kentucky on Friday, March 24. 

That's a new one. 

You can thank Will Levis, as he and 10 other former Wildcats will take part in Kentucky's Pro Day inside the Nutter Field House, next to Kroger Field. It'll be one of the more jam-packed events to surround the up-and-coming SEC program in recent memory. 

A UK Sports Information Director told local reporters on Thursday that around 90 media members will be in attendance, setting the stage for another glimpse at the potential first-overall pick Levis, as well as other names that could shoot up or onto draft boards:

Via UK Athletics © Provided by Wildcats Today on FanNation Via UK Athletics
  • DB Tyrell Ajian 
  • P Colin Goodfellow 
  • LB Jacquez Jones 
  • QB Will Levis 
  • OL Tashawn Manning 
  • RB Chris Rodriguez Jr. 
  • K Matt Ruffolo 
  • DB Keidron Smith 
  • LB DeAndre Square 
  • DB Carrington Valentine 
  • LB Jordan Wright

Both the SEC Network and NFL Network+ will have coverage of the event, with the likes of former first-overall pick David Carr and NFL insider extraordinaire Ian Rapoport reporting live from Lexington. 

They won't be the only big names in attendance, either. There's no confirmed list of what NFL scouts and coaches will be in the building, but Carolina Panthers head coach Frank Reich and Tennessee Titans HC Mike Vrabel will be two skippers around and about. 

Carolina recently traded with the Chicago Bears for the No. 1 pick in the draft. A report from Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer said that Levis was meeting with Reich, owners David and Nicole Tepper, general manager Scott Fitterer and more on Thursday night. 

Levis will of course be the star of the show, though everyone got a good, hard look at the Penn State transfer during the NFL Combine a few weeks ago. He said he's already had a top-30 visit with the Houston Texans since then, but more are to come: 

"Have a handful of top-30 visits that i'll have to fly in and out of (Lexington) for, for different NFL teams, just to finish up with them and get everything that I need to get across to them to help them make their decision," he said.

Levis will only be throwing on Friday, running through a script with Rodriguez, as well as current UK wide receivers Tayvion Robinson, Barion Brown and Dane Key.

The drawing of eyeballs will spell well for the other former Cats who are looking to make a splash and catch some attention ahead of the draft, which begins on April 27. 

Rodriguez, Manning and Valentine were the only other UK products that received an invite to the combine. Second looks never hurt, barring a subpar performance during drills. 

"I feel like the combine went really well. I think I put my best self out there, I think I did exceptional in the position drills," Manning said on Thursday. "Really hoping to show my dedication to the game, dedication to football itself, I worked really hard up until this point, i'm just ready to go out there and show these coaches what I can do."

Draft projections vary from the late rounds to falling off the board entirely for all three. 

"Valentine has the physical traits necessary for the NFL but the instincts and body control to extend his coverage against quality route runners leaves something to be desired," NFL analyst Lance Zierlein said of the DB. "He’s solid at crowding vertical throws and can play press-and-bail, but he has had coverage busts in zone. Also, he bites too easily on double moves. Valentine’s lack of aggression as a run defender could make it tougher for zone teams to give him a chance."

Then comes one last chance for the other Wildcats to try and make a statement. Jones, Square and Wright all worked out and trained with one-another down in Scottsdale, Ariz. and will be participating in all they can on Friday, as NFL brass look on. 

"I played football a lot of years, so i've got so much film," Jones said with a smile. "I feel like i've got enough film for me to have a healthy career in the league.

"I'm just trying to show my competitive nature, just to show that I can compete with other guys, that's really the biggest thing for me," Square said.

Smith may have the most to prove. He joined Rodriguez in the Reese's Senior Bowl and also played in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl following his final game as a Wildcat. He didn't receive that crucial combine invite, but will have all the pens and paper necessary around him on Friday to make up for that.

"The knock on me is my speed, so just come out here and run as fast as I can," Smith said when asked about what he wanted to showcase. "Hit the marks on where I want to hit and all the testing and everything. Just go out there and be fluid in my drills."

Below is a tentative schedule for Kentucky's Pro Day. It is not open to the public: 

10:30 a.m. EST – Measurements: Height, Weight, etc.

11:15 a.m. – Vertical, Broad Jump, and 225 Rep Test

Noon – 2:00 p.m. – Rolling Schedule begins after 225 Rep Test

  • 40-yard test
  • Short Shuttle
  • 3-Cone Shuttle
  • 60-yard Shuttle
  • Position Drills (OL, DB, DL, WR/TE/QB)

The SEC Network will have coverage first, beginning at 11:30 a.m. NFL Network+ will follow at 1 p.m.

For more spring practice coverage, click HERE to learn about Jager Burton's adjustment to the center position.

Devin Leary discusses his decision to transfer to Kentucky HERE.

Ray Davis isn't following former Kentucky RB's footsteps. More HERE.

Want the latest on national football and basketball recruiting, including Cats targets? Head over to SI All-American for the latest news, blogs, and updates about the nation's best prospects.

Sports Illustrated also offers insight, information and up to the minute details for gamblers. Check it out here.


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