Culture club

Texas A&M Adopts Professional Day as a Cultural Club

COLLEGE STATION — RC Slocum happily soaked up the hustle and bustle Tuesday of what has become a spectacle on the Texas A&M campus: the Aggies’ annual pro day at the team’s indoor compound.

“We wanted to do everything we could to help our players achieve their goals,” said Slocum, the iconic former A&M coach, who first hosted a pro day at A&M in 1991. is a huge deal for pros and scouts alike.get good info here.

Eleven players who were on A&M’s 2021 roster and 17 total athletes participated in the pro day in front of 60 NFL representatives on Tuesday, including Houston Texans coach Lovie Smith and general manager Nick Caserio.

When Slocum, who has won more football games at A&M than anyone else, started the pro day 31 years ago with the idea of ​​helping his players achieve their professional dreams, it was a simple, heavy-duty affair. timed drills and random interactions between NFL staff and NFL Prospects.

“I would tell our guys, ‘Any time you’re selling, you have to be cooperative and attentive,” Slocum said.

Pro days across the country have also become more of an event, with former players now in the NFL on hand to put down roots on former teammates, as well as many proud family members. Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kellen Mond, New York Jets punter Braden Mann and Detroit Lions wide receiver Josh Reynolds were among those in attendance Tuesday.

“That’s what it’s all about, when you’re building the culture of an organization,” said Jimbo Fisher, who is entering his fifth season as an A&M coach. “Then hopefully every year you can roll this over, so now there are guys you can reference and ask, ‘What does it take to get there? How is (the NFL)? Does the training here put me in a position to succeed? (Pro day) builds your culture.

Defensive linemen DeMarvin Leal, Jayden Peevy and Micheal Clemons, offensive lineman Kenyon Green, running back Isaiah Spiller, tight end Jalen Wydermyer and safety Leon O’Neal were among the recent players participating in the professional day.

Kenyon Green performs an offensive line drill at the Aggies Indoor Training Center in College Station.

Justin Rex/Associated Press

However, Reynolds had an additional reason to be there: his brother, defensive back Moses Reynolds, had transferred from A&M to the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio to finish his college career, but still participated in A&M’s professional day.

That’s another thing about Fisher’s approach to the pro day: Players who left the program early are always welcome to perform in front of NFL staff, as is the former A&M quarterback Nick Starkel did so on Tuesday. Starkel has since played in Arkansas and San Jose State.

“If you left here and the opportunity wasn’t there – there are reasons why you transfer and there’s nothing wrong with that – our job is to help these guys become ( successful),” Fisher said. “There is no animosity in any way. I want them all to succeed.”

In addition to Caserio, other NFL general managers present at A&M were Chris Grier of the Miami Dolphins and Jon Robinson of the Tennessee Titans.

“It’s what they dream of,” Fisher said of his former players who had the chance to show off their skills in front of representatives from every NFL team. “A lot of these guys that I was able to recruit (here) and you remember the first time you sat in their living room and the first time you saw them in camps, and they had these dreams.

“It’s fun to see them come true.”

Green and Leal, a former Judson standout, are potential first-round selections in Las Vegas on April 28, the first day of the draft. Fisher took over the program after the 2017 season, and its first recruits are now becoming draft-eligible en masse.

A&M hasn’t had a first-round pick in five years, when current Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett was the first pick in the 2017 draft, a first for A&M.

Meanwhile, an optimistic Slocum, 77, took it all back from the sidelines on Tuesday, content with what he started more than 30 years ago.

Slocum, who last coached the Aggies 20 years ago, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma last summer. He was declared cancer-free in January after treatments by MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and Baylor Scott and White in College Station.

“I feel good and I’ve regained all my weight,” Slocum said with a smile, before adding something he had in common with the 17 NFL prospects on the turf in front of him: “I just get out of training.”

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Twitter: @brentzwerneman