Denied a chance to run at the NFL combine, Foreman blows scouts away with a low 4.4 in the 40-yard dash
Posted March 28th, 2017
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.
“It’s unexplainable,” said Texas lineman Kent Perkins, who started 34 of 39 games the last four seasons. “When I woke up, I wasn’t nervous. When I got to the locker room, I wasn’t nervous. In the team room, I got nervous.
“Then I got in the weight room, this adrenaline hit me.”
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 rank 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. An Achilles’ injury basically ruined his chances of getting into an NFL training camp after the 2015 season. On Tuesday, he ran the 40-yard dash in about 4.56 seconds.
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.
It’s doubtful any NFL team would even take a flier on Ash, given his medical history. But nobody thought the Raiders would ever leave Oakland for Las Vegas, either.
“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.
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 threw 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.”
Contact Brian Davis at 512-445-3957. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.