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Friday, September 22, 2023


Seniors make most of pro day

D.J. Hayden ran the fastest 40-yard dash time at UH's pro day. | Esteban Portillo/ The Daily Cougar

D.J. Hayden ran the fastest 40-yard dash time at UH’s pro day. | Esteban Portillo/ The Daily Cougar

Former linebacker Phillip Steward has had trouble sleeping since January because he is pondering his NFL future.

Since Steward left for Tennessee to train, he has had his pro day in mind.

“When I got back home Thursday I was like ‘man it’s getting closer and closer,’” Steward said. “Last night it was hard for me to sleep. I woke up at 5 this morning. I was ready.”

Steward and 15 other UH 2012 seniors had an opportunity to impress 27 NFL teams as the University held its annual NFL Pro Day. Tyron Carrier also participated in the three-hour audition at the Athletics/Alumni center in preparation for the 2013 NFL Draft.

Steward, who will participate in a private workout with the St. Louis Rams, has packed on 10 pounds of muscle since the football season finished. He weighed in at 237 pounds and ran the 40-yard dash in 4.62 seconds, a time he was happy with.

Offensive lineman Jacolby Ashworth said it was good to see how all of his teammates have gotten in shape. Ashworth, who has received draft projections that fluctuate from the fifth round to undrafted, ran the 40-yard dash in 5.22 seconds and had a 28 inch vertical.

Ashworth said it has been a while since he has seen his teammates, and he enjoyed it.

“I’m just amazed at how much our bodies have changed. Phillip Steward has gotten real swole. D.J. (Hayden) is looking real good,” Ashworth said. “I’m real excited about D.J. getting back out there. I believe that everyone has transformed in a major way. I feel like I could go out there and be on the World Strongest Man competition. My body is good. I feel good. I feel like I look good.”

D.J. Hayden wanted to make the most of the opportunity. Hayden suffered a nearly fatal tear of thinferior vena cava, the large vein that carries blood from the lower half of the body back to the heart, in a practice collision on Nov. 6.

“(Getting drafted to the NFL) means the world to me,” Hayden said. “It’s something that I’ve been trying to do since I was a kid. I’ve watched the draft every year since I was in like fourth grade.”

Hayden ran his first 40-yard dash attempt in 4.33 seconds — the fastest time of the day. He tweaked his hamstring on his second 40-yard dash run. Hayden expects to be out for about a week and was disappointed in the injury but said he would bounce back.

“I’ve been through way worse than this so I can overcome a little tweak to my hamstring,” Hayden said.

Steward said he knew the day was a success because his mother was impressed.

“My mom said I looked good so I think I did pretty good,” Steward said.

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