2023 Kentucky Pro Day Recap

Huge Day For The Program

Call it the “Will Levis” effect but Friday’s Kentucky football pro day was certainly different than previous years. Representatives from all 32 NFL teams, including several head coaches were on hand. In addition, more than 90 media members watched the festivities. If that wasn’t enough for the first time the SEC Network broadcast pro day live on their main channel rather than online. Everyone was there to see the first-round pick put on a throwing exhibition and that’s exactly what he did. However, Friday was about much more than just the QB1 as it gave numerous other Wildcats a chance to shine. Let’s break it all down with the 2023 Kentucky Pro Day Recap.

All Eyes On Levis

The former Kentucky signal-caller is a projected high first-round pick, though where varies on which projections you read. Mel Kiper has him going to the Indianapolis Colts with the third pick. However, Todd McShay has him heading to Las Vegas with the seventh pick. Thursday evening Levis had dinner with the Carolina Panthers organization, who traded with the Chicago Bears for the first pick. Panther coach Frank Reich along with Pete Carroll and Mike Vrabel were among those on hand to watch Levis. Unlike his time at the NFL Combine Levis got to throw to players he’s very familiar with. They were Barion Brown, Dane Key, Tayvion Robinson, and Chris Rodriguez.

Under the watchful eye of his trainer Jordan Palmer the former UK quarterback made throws all over the field. Short range, medium range, rolling out, and of course what everyone wanted to see, the long ball.

It remains to be seen whether anything that happened Friday changes Levis’ draft stock but it gives lots of talking points both good and bad. Former Vanderbilt quarterback Jordan Rodgers put pro-day workouts like this together before joining the SEC Network. He was on-site at the Nutter Center and gave Levis a grade of an A- to B+ for missing some intermediate throws.

In comparison to another potential top pick, Bryce Young Rodgers says the former Alabama QB’s pro day was boring in the best way. However, Levis’s day was dynamic and impressive and answered questions about his accuracy. ESPN draft analyst Jordan Reid (lots of Jordans on Friday) echoed similar sentiments. He liked what he saw and showed accuracy in the intermediate areas of the field.

While Levis was the main event he wasn’t the only show in town. As we continue our 2023 Kentucky Pro Day Recap let’s look at some other Cats looking to impress the scouts.

Helping Their Cause

In addition to Levis 10 other former Wildcats took their turn in front of the NFL Scouts. Besides Rodriguez, three of the Wildcats’ secondary, cornerbacks Carrington Valentine and Keidron Smith along with safety Tyrell Ajian showed their wares. Furthermore, the entire starting linebacker group, Jacquez Jones, DeAndre Square, and Jordan Wright attempted to boost their draft stock. Offensive lineman Tashawn Manning along with kicker Matt Ruffolo and punter Colin Goodfellow rounded out the players at pro day.

Of the 10 Wildcats Rodriguez likely helped his draft stock the most. He had a 33-inch vertical leap and clocked an unofficial 4.52 40-yard dash. Others had clocked him as low as 4.46 but still, that’s a great number for Kentucky’s third-all-time leading rusher. As a point of reference the player he’s most compared to, Benny Snell, ran a 4.66. In addition, C-Rod showed off his pass-catching ability which can only help him at the next level. Currently, Rodriguez is tabbed as a third-day pick but a strong performance on Friday could bump him up.

Final Thoughts

Over the last four NFL Drafts, Kentucky’s had 17 players selected including four last year. It goes to show how far the program has come under Mark Stoops, who’s starting his 11th year in Lexington. In 2017-18 they had no players taken. With Levis set to be the first Wildcat signal caller since Tim Couch in 1999 taken in the first round it’s another step in the program’s procession. We’ll see how it all plays out when the 2023 NFL Draft kicks off on April 27th.

Thanks for checking out the 2023 Kentucky Pro Day Recap here at Last Word On College Football. Next time we’ll get back to our Spring position previews by looking at the defensive line.

Oct 1, 2022; Oxford, Mississippi, USA; Kentucky Wildcats quarterback Will Levis (7) settles prior to the snap during the second half against the Mississippi Rebels at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Photo Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports



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