Pro Day Insider: Last hurrah of the Power Rangers

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Members of the Power Rangers speak with former coach Marion Hobby
Members of the Power Rangers speak with former coach Marion Hobby

CLEMSON – Thursday’s Clemson Pro Day was all about earning a chance in the NFL and the last hurrah of the Power Rangers.

A record number of 24 players were on hand as scouting personnel from all 32 NFL teams and one CFL team watched. It was announced earlier in the day that Clelin Ferrell suffered a toe injury last week, so he did not participate in drills.

However, Ferrell was on hand to support the other members of his defensive line – despite being draft-eligible (except for Dexter Lawrence) they all elected to stay together and try to win a championship after coming up just short in the 2017 season. That group set the tone for the Tigers’ National Championship season in 2018.

Long known for their affinity for the Power Rangers, the four showed off their solidarity by wearing Power Ranger's headbands. Clelin Ferrell wore a green ranger headband, Albert Huggins wore yellow, Christian Wilkins wore white, Dexter Lawrence wore pink, and Austin Bryant wore red.

“We are riding out on our high horses right now,” Bryant told TigerNet. “This is kind of like our last hurrah. We found these headbands and said we would rock them at Pro Day.”

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney was amazed at the turnout, which included three head coaches – Mike Vrabel of the Tennessee Titans, Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor, and Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin. In all, 97 professional scouts, coaches, and GMs came to watch.

“I would say so (it’s the biggest turnout). This is a huge group, especially with the seniors,” Swinney said. “We've had some big groups with lots of juniors or maybe some people that have come back. But as a pure senior group with the three juniors mixed in, definitely the biggest and well-attended. We had all 32 teams here and some head coaches and a lot of GMs and personnel folks. It was a good day.

“It's a big day for these guys, but a big day for our program, too.”

Swinney said his players are used to the limelight.

“That is the biggest thing - they are well-known and well-seen, they've played in primetime and on some big stages. These guys have kind of grown up in the public eye if you will,” he said. “They haven't really been on the backburner. And with that comes a lot in terms of expectations and scrutiny and things like that, and they've handled it well and consistently well year in and year out. This group, in particular, won 55 games in four years. I was happy for them today; they did `what they needed to do.”

While Swinney was impressed with the Power Rangers and the rest of the well-known participants, he was most excited for the players who didn’t get an invite to last month’s NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.

“I always get excited about the guys that didn't get to go to the Combine. They guys that get to go to the Combine, they obviously put them through the wringer there,” Swinney said. “But the guys that didn't go to the Combine, to see them perform, and I think we had some guys do really well today that solidified their opportunity. That is all you can ask for. You have a bunch of those examples that once they get the opportunity, they will take advantage of it.”

"I thought Trevion had a really good day. I thought Adam Choice ran well. I thought Milan looked great. All of them. JD and Judah ran well. I thought Huegel did a tremendous job. He has that brace off and you can tell the pop is back in his leg. He hit one 53 or 54 yards right there and nailed. I thought he warranted an opportunity, and that's all he wanted was to perform at a good enough level that he could earn a chance and that's all you can ask for."

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