Ogletree showcases talent at pro day
by Charles Odum
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Alec Ogletree knows he has as much to prove off the field to NFL coaches and scouts as he did during Georgia’s pro day on Thursday.
A possible first-round pick, the middle linebacker from Newnan was clocked at 4.63 seconds in the 40-yard dash, an improvement over his mark during the recent NFL Combine in Indianapolis.
Ogletree, suspended for the first four games last season, had a DUI arrest one week before last month’s NFL combine.
Asked what message he wants to give to the NFL, Ogletree said “That I’m a hard worker. I’m a good person. I made a mistake but I’m learning from it. I’m willing to work every day.”
Despite missing the four games, Ogletree led Georgia with 111 tackles. He did not participate in other drills during the pro day.
Fellow linebacker Jarvis Jones was certain he had a “great day” in his workout , even if his slow time in the 40-yard dash told a different story.
Jones, an outside linebacker, is regarded as a probable first-round pick in the NFL draft. He ran the 40 in an unimpressive 4.92 seconds in less than ideal conditions. Temperatures were in the mid-30s when players were timed on Georgia’s artificial turf practice field.
Jones said he realized the pro day could play a big role in next month’s draft.
“This is one of the biggest interviews right now that I’m going to have in my life,” Jones said. “I believe all 32 teams are here. What is going to be better than that?”
The strong turnout from the NFL included head coaches Mike Smith of Atlanta, Rex Ryan of the Jets and Mike Tomlin of Pittsburgh. Among the assistants attending were defensive coordinators Jack Del Rio of Denver and Rob Ryan of New Orleans and Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt.
Georgia expects to set a school record with at least nine players selected in next month’s NFL draft, and most are defensive players. There were 18 players, including 12 on defense, in Thursday’s drills.
Smith said Georgia, coming off a 12-2 season under coach Mark Richt, has an unusually deep pool of draft prospects. Smith said he’s not accustomed to seeing so many defensive prospects at any school.
“It’s not the norm, that’s for sure,” Smith said. “Coach Richt and his staff have done a great job putting together some really good players and this year is probably the best that I’ve seen in the five years that I’ve been coming over.”
Georgia had a school-record eight players drafted in 2002.
“I’m hoping it gets at least into the double digits,” Richt said of this year’s draft.
“You could tell there’s going to be a bunch of Bulldogs out of this class playing in the league, and we’re excited for them. ... A day like today was so big for the players, but it was big for Georgia, also.”
Other defensive players who worked out for scouts were Commings, Geathers, safeties Bacarri Rambo and Shawn Williams, cornerback Branden Smith, defensive linemen Abry Jones and Cornelius Washington, and linebackers Christian Robinson and Michael Gilliard.
Wide receiver Tavarres King and Samuel were Georgia’s most prominent offensive players in the draft.
Richt’s son, quarterback Jon Richt, also participated in the testing. Jon Richt began his career at Clemson before transferring to Mars Hill College.
Mark Richt said his son participated because Georgia had no senior quarterback to throw passes to King and Samuel.
“It was nice for him to have an opportunity to throw,” Richt said.
Smith ran the 40 in 4.38 seconds, easily the best time of the day. His broad jump of 10-8 also was the day’s best.