2014 USC Pro Day Preview

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Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor

For some Trojans, Pro Day is the chance to continue to impress scouts and improve their draft stock whereas for others it's an opportunity to finally get noticed. Since finishing the 2013 season, the players who are entering the NFL Draft have been enduring rigorous training with their respective agencies in order to get in NFL-ready shape. Fifth-year seniors Devon Kennard and Kevin Greene are looking to make their mark after unique college careers, and they have been training together in preparation for the next level.

For OLB Devon Kennard, the draft prep has been a cathartic experience after five years of turmoil at USC whereas OLB Kevin Greene is just looking for the opportunity to finally make a name for himself. 

Kennard-Combine.jpg"My experience is different because I have so much to prove," said Greene, who never started but appeared in 37 games for the Trojans on special teams and as a pass rusher.  "It's no secret that I didn't play much at 'SC and everyone else did. I have to go out there and mark my X on the map. I've got to show them that I have something to prove."

"As a team and personally, I've experienced a lot of adversity in my college career," said Kennard, whose childhood dreams of playing in the NFL have been challenged by serious injuries and several coaching and position changes.  "I don't think you will find a player who has faced as much adversity as me. It was rough at times but it has completely prepared me, excited me and motivated me so I'm ready."

To one degree or another, about 20 Trojans will participate in USC's Pro Day on Wednesday beginning at 10:30 a.m. As the countless scouts and media gather in the basement of the John McKay Center, the players will first be measured before they begin their testing which consists of bench press, vertical jump, standing long jump and flexibility.

Note: USC Pro Day will not be televised or live streamed, and it is closed to the public. We'll post videos, photos and information on the RipsIt Blog.

From there, the players will move into the agility portion of the workout at the Loker Track Stadium where they will be timed for their 10s, 20s and 40s followed by the pro agility drill (5-10-5) and the 3-cone drill. The skill players will then participate in the 60-yard shuttle before breaking into different individual drills based on position.

"I went to the combine so I already did everything there," said Kennard. "I'm only going to be doing position drills so I don't have to worry about the tests. I just want to show my athleticism and my versatility through the different drills that they provide."

"I just want to go out there and do the best that I know I am capable of doing," said a confident and determined Greene. "With how hard I've been trying I want to expect myself to reach the personal goals that I have set."

Thumbnail image for Greene-ASU1-McG.jpgSince both prospects were fifth-year seniors, they experienced firsthand the roller coaster ride that has been USC football over the past five years. As freshmen, they endured the tail end of legendary head coach Pete Carroll's reign before dealing with not only a coaching transition from Carroll to Lane Kiffin but also the implementation of NCAA sanctions due to violations that occurred prior to their time at 'SC. 

When asked about the recent Super Bowl Championship that featured not only Carroll but also USC alumni Malcolm Smith and Mike Morgan, both players admitted that watching the Super Bowl fed their desire to play in the NFL that much more. "I definitely felt a lot different than just a normal USC fan seeing those guys out there because I physically played with those guys," said Greene. "You feel some type of way just seeing those guys out there because they were the ones you sat next to in the locker room." 

While Smith and Morgan are bathed in glory now, the Super Bowl MVP was selected in the final round and Morgan went undrafted.  They are examples of the perseverance required to succeed in the NFL, a lesson already well learned by these Trojans.

"During my five years at 'SC, I just learned how to work hard and I felt like there was a deeper meaning instilled in me after my time spent there," said Greene. "When you go to USC, you're gonna be surrounded by the NFL mentality. USC has the most players in the NFL so if you're involved with USC football in some way you're going to get a shot at some point to be a part of a team in the NFL."

For Kennard, life without 'SC football has been quite the transition in the few months since he's been training for the draft. "So far, it's just getting used to not being around your teammates and brothers that you've built such strong bonds with," said the former team captain. "It's over and now everyone just goes their separate ways. Everyone's kind of on their own journey. It's time to move on but I'm a Trojan for life and I'll continue to Fight On."

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