Four Vols Ready to Tackle Pro Day

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(utsports.com) KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – NFL scouts and coaches will converge on the Anderson Training Center Thursday morning as Tennessee football holds its annual Pro Day in conjunction with the league.

Members of the 2020 Volunteers squad participating include offensive linemen Trey Smith and Brandon Kennedy, defensive back Bryce Thompson and wide receiver Josh Palmer. Smith, Thompson, Palmer all received NFL Combine invites, and Thursday will feature added importance as no in-person workouts were held in Indianapolis due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

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The NFL has worked with individual schools to achieve consistency in the drills and testing that takes place with each NFL team. Pro Day invitees participated in virtual media availabilities on Wednesday.

Players will have an opportunity to go through measurable drills of their choosing – 40-yard dash, bench press, vertical jump, broad jump, three-cone drill and shuttle run – and then conclude the day with position workouts on site.

Smith, a 2020 All-American, enters Pro Day as one of the elite offensive line prospects on the board for next month’s NFL Draft. Smith saw action on over 2,500 snaps during his Tennessee career, and he allowed only one combined sack in his final two seasons. A Tennessee graduate and recipient of the Torchbearer Award, Smith was a two-time All-Southeastern Conference recipient and winner of the 2020 Fritz Pollard Trophy and 2019 Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year.

Palmer’s stock continues to rise as an explosive wide receiver. He capitalized on his 2021 Senior Bowl invitation by hauling in two passes and a touchdown in the contest after an outstanding week in Mobile. Palmer, a native of Brampton, Ontario, concluded his career with 99 catches for 1,514 yards and seven touchdowns with 16 of those catches being 25 or more yards.

Thompson proved to be a lockdown corner for the Vols during his three seasons. He still remains tied for the school single-game record for interceptions with three, and he finished his career with eight total picks. Thompson forced 10 turnovers, tallied 19 passes defended and made 102 tackles, including eight for loss.

Kennedy, a 2020 National Football Foundation National Scholar-Athlete, served as a team captain and leader during his time in Knoxville. Kennedy started 22 games at center for the Vols and played 507 snaps during the COVID-19 shortened season of 2020, allowing only one sack. Kennedy earned a pair of master’s degrees from Tennessee.

The NFL Draft is scheduled April 29-May 1 in Cleveland, Ohio.

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Rick Nyman grew up in Anniston, Alabama and attended the University of Alabama. His television career started at WJSU-TV in Anniston where he had the opportunity to cover SEC football with Alabama and Auburn. Anniston is just 20 minutes from the Talladega Speedway, so NASCAR was a big part of his sports coverage. Due to this he was able to interview Davey Allison, Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, and several other top-name NASCAR drivers. Rick's next television job was in Savannah, Georgia, where he covered basketball player Kwame Brown (now with the Washington Wizards), who later became the first ever high school player selected as the top pick in the NBA draft. He covered the PGA Tour's annual swing thru Hilton Head and also had the opportunity of covering the Atlanta Falcons Super Bowl appearance in 1999 in Miami. Rick especially enjoys all the atmosphere, tradition and drama of college football. He also likes profiling sports personalities and learning what drives them both on and off the field. If he's not covering sports, he's either watching Seinfield or David Letterman, playing golf, reading, or working out. What he enjoys about Chattanooga is the passion people have for sports. The mountainous region of Chattanooga reminds him of his hometown of Anniston, which also has big, beautiful trees and plenty of hills. You can contact Rick at rnyman@wdef.com.