AUBURN — It was already going to be a big day on the Plains. It was time for the university’s Pro Day where 14 former players from the 2022-2023 Auburn football squad would have a chance to showcase their talents in front of scouts from all 32 teams.
Seniors Derick Hall, Anders Carlson, Colby Wooden, Eku Leota and junior Tank Bigsby all continued to build off of their performances from the NFL Combine while Shedrick Jackson, Marcus Bragg, Marquis Burks, Morris Joseph Jr., Killian Zierer and John Samuel Shenker took the opportunity to participate in events featured at the Combine and showcase their own skill sets.
Along with 14 Auburn prospects, former Auburn quarterback, Heisman Trophy winner and NFL MVP Cam Newton returned to campus to throw for his younger brother Caylin Newton as well as the other receivers and tight ends participating in the Pro Day. Caylin spent two seasons at Auburn before competing for William & Mary in 2022.
One of the prospects on the receiving end was John Samuel Shenker.
“It was awesome,” Shenker said. “The legacy (Newton) left and his time here, it was a really special moment to do that with him. He's also trying to get a spot, too. It was really cool.”
Shenker has 27 reps on the bench press and ran a 4.53 unofficially in the Pro Day’s 40-yard dash.
While Shenker was catching passes from the Auburn legend, Tank Bigsby returned to the Plains looking to build off of his success at the Combine and was motivated in part by seeing Newton at the facility.
"I didn't get to throw with Cam, but his energy here was good," Auburn running back Tank Bigsby said. "Just having an Auburn legend in the building. Seeing him out there competing at the age he is and what he's already accomplished, it made me want more."
Bigsby was able to workout with his former teammates and make some improvements, running an unofficial time of 4.45 in the 40-yard dash, faster than his time at the NFL Combine. While the success during the event was nice, Bigsby was also just glad to be back with his former team.
“It went great,” Bigsby said. “Being here with my teammates again, it did a lot to me. It made me feel that joy again. Two months without being on the team, it felt kind of weird. But I feel like me personally, I had a great workout. The guys around me had a great workout.”
While Bigsby looked to improve his Combine results, fellow prospects Owen Pappoe, Derrick Hall and Colby Wooden only took part in individual drills after solid showings at the Combine. Pappoe stood out in particular with his 40-yard dash time of 4.39 seconds and 29 reps on the bench, leading all linebackers in both categories.
“It was fun to finally see all the hard work pay off,” Pappoe said. “We've been grinding for the last four months. To come back to Auburn and be able to perform, it was an honor.”
Derick Hall, another senior from Pappoe’s class echoed that sentiment. Hall ran a 4.55 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine and had a 33’5” vertical jump.
“Really good day,” said Hall. “Any time I have an opportunity to come back here and step on this field in this new complex, it's special to me. It's special to have an opportunity to work out on this field and also try to fulfill my dreams by doing that. I came out and had a really good day, put my best foot forward. Now the rest is up to the teams and GMs.”
The participants from the Pro Day will now have to wait until the NFL Draft which will take place on April 27-29 in Kansas City, Missouri.
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