NORMAN — DaShaun White was never the nervous type during his five-year OU career.
But as that veteran prepared to run the 40-yard dash during the opening portion of the Sooners' NFL Pro Day on Thursday, he was shaking.
“I came out pretty nervous,” White said. “It surprised me.”
In White's defense, he had about as much on the line as either of them 16 OU players who participated Thursday.
Despite recording 90 tackles (six tackles for loss) and two interceptions last season en route to an All-Big 12 honorable mention, White was not invited to attend the NFL Combine.
This made OU's Pro Day even more significant for White, who had one final shot to prove his worth to scouts for all 32 NFL teams.
“I still kind of feel about it,” White said of the NFL Combine snub. “I don't know if that feeling will ever go away. I had to come back to myself and get rid of that kind of entitlement and take it for what it was.
“You can't control everything, and I just tried to control what I can.”
But after completing his first of two attempts on the 40-yard dash, White now needed to control his nerves.
Thankfully, his former OU teammates helped him out. The first person in White's ear was senior running back Key Lawrence, who told him to “just chill.”
White then got some more words of encouragement from players like Woodi Washington, CJ Coldon and Chris Murray.
“I'm glad my teammates were around me to cool me down and settle me down,” White said.
White eventually posted a 4.66 on his second attempt in the 40-yard dash. He also recorded a 33.5-inch vertical and did 12,225-pound bench reps.
It was a solid outing for White, who had been waiting to show what he can do since missing the NFL Combine.
“I'm happy to get behind me today,” White said. “I've been waiting for it forever and ever.”
White could hear his name called in one of the late rounds of the NFL Draft, which will take place April 27-29.
However, some projections mean that White is not out. And while he likely could at least join a practice squad, he has another option.
White was drafted by the Michigan Panthers in the fifth round (No. 32 overall) of the USFL Draft on February 21. It came as a surprise to White, who didn't even know he was in the pool of available players.
“I had gotten out of the shower and got a call about, ‘Congratulations, you've been drafted,'” White said. “I was like, ‘The (NFL) Draft isn't for two months. What are you talking about?'
“It's nice to be able to chase this and put all my bullets into this. I also have something to fall back on and lean on. I'm grateful.”
Playing in the NFL remains the goal for White, who hopes his performance Thursday caught the eye of at least one team scout.
“I feel like today was my opportunity to showcase what I wanted to showcase,” White said. “That's been the message to myself. Control what I can control.”
What is the OU football ‘W' drill?
In an effort to increase physicality, the OU football team does what is known as the “W” drill during their practices.
The drill consists of three players on each side of the ball. A running back takes a handoff and tries to find a hole while his other offensive players block for him.
Junior running back Tawee Walker took a handoff during the W drill on Monday, and he was quickly pushed off the field of play. Then a whistle blew signaling the end of the game.
But it wasn't over for Drake Stoops and Billy Bowman, who continued on before being wrestled to the ground.
It then took a handful of players and members of the OU staff to break up Stoops and Bowman. But after dusting themselves off, the two teammates got up and returned to practice as if nothing had happened.
“It happens in practice,” Stoops said. “Billy's my guy. He's a great player and is an ultimate competitor, just like me. Sometimes it just gets hot, but it's just two guys doing that.
“Just knowing that at the end of the day you care about all your brothers out here.”
Stoops and Bowman aren't the only two OU players to mix it up during the W drill.
The drill is designed to bring out the aggressive side of players. And while that aggression sometimes extends beyond the whistle, it doesn't extend beyond the football field.
“We needed it because last year we weren't as physical as we are now,” sophomore running back Robert Spears-Jennings said of the drill. “You know you're going against your brother every play. You're going to talk things out with each other, but you know it's all love in the end.”
Peyton Bowen suffers a tragic loss in the family
The OU football team has Peyton Bowen on their minds.
The freshman defensive back missed practice Monday as he mourns the loss of his sister, Camylle Bowen-Ables, who died Saturday after giving birth to her daughter.
There is no timetable for Bowen's return, but OU's players are ready to welcome him back when that time comes.
“I know I have to be there for him all the time,” said freshman running back Jackson Arnold, who played with Bowen at Denton Guyer High School in Texas. “It's an extreme tragedy and loss for the family. I as a person have to love my boy, and I have to be there for him.”
The fundraiser has a goal of $100,000. In the first two days, it has received nearly $75,000.
This article was originally published on The Oklahoman: The OU football Pro Day was just what DaShaun White needed for NFL shots
#footballs #Pro #Day #DaShaun #White #aims #NFL #Draft #hopes #control #control