HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - A rainy Thursday morning didn't hinder 17 draft-eligible Golden Eagles from showcasing their skills at Southern Miss Pro Day.
The former USM players, three Alcorn State Braves – including Perry Central alum De'Lance Turner – and Delta State running back Chris Robinson performed in front of scouts from 27 of the NFL's 32 teams.
Nine Golden Eagles ran the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds or less. Tarvarius Moore – who led the Eagles with 87 tackles last season – led the way with a time of 4.32 seconds while fellow defensive back Curtis Mikell ran it in 4.35 seconds.
Wide receiver Allenzae Staggers ran the 40-yard sprint in 4.53 seconds while tight end Julian Allen recorded a time of 4.63 seconds.
Allen's 26 reps of the 225 pound bench press marked the best performance of all the prospects at the Rock.
"I feel like I helped myself today," Allen said. "I feel like I had a good day. I got positive feedback from most of the scouts. I just went out there and had fun. It was one more time to compete with my brothers."
"These are the guys I competed with every day in practice for the past two years," Moore said. "It's amazing just to see your teammates, your brothers. You want to see them do well."
Among the running backs, former Perry Central Bulldog De'Lance Turner recorded 24 bench press reps and a 40 time of 4.55 seconds.
Ito Smith – who weighs just over 200 pounds – lifted the bench press 22 times. The USM leader in career all-purpose yards ran the 40-yard dash in 4.49 seconds.
"I tell [the scouts] I can do it all," Smith said. "Catch out the backfield, I can line up in the slot and catch the ball, I can block, I can run inside, outside. "I can do it all. Whatever they ask me to do, I can do it."
Smith said he has five visits set up with NFL teams, including the Dallas Cowboys, Tennessee Titans, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks and Indianapolis Colts.
Meanwhile, former USM wide receiver Korey Robertson said he met with the New Orleans Saints and New England Patriots prior to Pro Day. Robertson, who declared for the NFL Draft after his junior season, ran a 4.56 in the 40 at the NFL Combine earlier in March.
The Greenwood native led the Eagles in receiving last season with 1,106 yards.
The hard work doesn't stop for these players as they continue to prepare for the 2018 NFL Draft beginning on April 26.
"You know growing up as a kid, you've always been watching TV and watching NFL players so it's been very exciting to actually be growing through that process right now," Robertson said. "And I'm just taking it one day at a time right now."
"Just enjoying the whole process and now it's just trying to go in, impress them in the meetings, things like that," Moore said. "Show them my football knowledge so hopefully I can make that team."