Tyjae Spears, Dorian Williams headline Tulane draft prospects at Pro Day

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There has hardly been a bigger riser across all positions in college football this past season and throughout the offseason than Tulane standout running back Tyjae Spears, who officially declared for the 2023 NFL Draft shortly after the Green Wave capped off their successful season with a Cotton Bowl victory.

Spears began to garner national attention when his performance demanded it in 2022, and that’s only continued to grow in the offseason showcases, impressing with his speed and versatility at the Reese’s Senior Bowl and once more on Pro Day.

The 5-foot-10, 201 pounder out of Ponchatoula, Louisiana clocked a 4.47-second 40-yard dash on Pro Day earlier this week. While that’s an unofficial time, it only adds to the hype surrounding Spears at this point. It was another key moment in what is essentially one of the biggest job interviews in a player’s life.

Spears didn’t run at the NFL Combine but stated he feels it’s the best time he was going to post.

“Before the 40, I got so nervous, but then I was like ‘We do this all the time’. The scouts are probably at almost all of our games. This is what we’ve been prepping for the whole time. The nerves went away. After that first run, I was good. Y’all didn’t hear me laughing out there?”

Spears also received high praise for the way he went through drills. His success with advanced routes as a receiver was key. He has met with all 32 teams with reports emerging that he will make a Top 30 visit with the Atlanta Falcons this week.

While Spears prepares to take the next step, he is looking forward to what’s next as he makes the transition to the NFL. he’s also appreciative of the time he has left with his Green Wave family.

“At the end of the day, that’s what it’s about. Helping your brothers, helping your teammates,” Spears said. “This is some of the last times being with each other again. So you know, you want to make memories.”

Outside of Spears, the biggest headliner on Pro Day in Uptown, where all 32 NFL teams were represented including several members from the New Orleans Saints, was linebacker Dorian Williams.

Like Spears, Williams also caught heavy attention during Senior Bowl week despite suffering a hand injury.

The Indian Land, South Carolina native did not run the 40 after posting a 4.49 official time at the NFL Combine, but he did go through drills, performing well in the individuals, jumps and the shuttle run.

Williams calls it a different transition from just playing football. He is still “new to the process” but displays confidence in what he brings to the table.

“Just being able to run and make plays on the ball and being able to show I can be a good teammate as well in front of a lot of different people, playing alongside some players I’ve never played with before,” Williams said this offseason after the Senior Bowl. “I thought I did a good job using my length but there’s still some more to prove for sure. There’s a lot of great guys here we never had the opportunity to play against, so, it’s become like a little family here on the American team. We’ve all gotten to know each other and we’ve all built bonds.”

Other members of the Green Wave who participated in Pro Day included linebcker Nick Anderson, wide receivers Duece Watts and Shae Wyatt with safeties Larry Brooks, Macon Clark and Lummie Young as well as tight ends Tyrick James and Will Wallace and defensive end Tylo Phillips.

The headliners are Spears and Williams, who may find their landing spots on Day 2 of the draft.

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Crissy Froyd

CCS Columnist

Crissy Froyd is a sports reporter of roughly nine years who graduated from LSU and has spent time at USA TODAY SMG, NBC Sports and the Fan Nation network on Sports Illustrated. She specializes in quarterback analysis and covers the SEC and college football across the state of Louisiana in addition to working with several college quarterbacks across the nation.

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