Jim Wyatt, SENIOR WRITER/EDITOR
NASHVILLE – Joejuan Williams grew up idolizing some of the Titans.
On Friday, the Nashville native and former Vanderbilt cornerback walked the halls in his own Titans gear during the team’s local Pro Day. It was a surreal experience, he said.
“It’s my first time inside this building, so it’s cool seeing it,” Williams said. “Seeing where all the players I’ve looked up to — Steve McNair, Eddie George, Chris Johnson, Vince Young – have been, and knowing they’ve been through here, it’s pretty awesome.”
Williams was one of roughly 40 players who visited Saint Thomas Sports Park on Friday morning, a day when the team hosted prospects from local schools, and players from the area.
“It is a great experience,” said University of Tennessee defensive lineman Kyle Phillips, who played at Hillsboro High. “I see the practice facility all the time, so to see it and to get the coaches to look at me, it is a great opportunity. Any opportunity is a great opportunity in this process. Any eyes I can get looked on me is great.
“Growing up, I went to Titans games. My mom (Teresa) is the AD at TSU, so I grew up at Titans stadium. The Titans have always been a part of me. So to be here, it’s cool. A chance to perform in front of coaches, it is a blessing. Hopefully they like me.”
Decked out in Titans t-shirts and shorts, the prospects gearing up for the NFL Draft went through drills, had their measurements checked, and met with coaches on the field and in meetings.
Titans General Manager Jon Robinson and head coach Mike Vrabel oversaw the operation, and they took notes.
Vrabel chatted with Vanderbilt quarterback Kyle Shumer during a break in the action.
Ole Miss tight end Dawson Knox, who prepped at Brentwood Academy, chatted with Vrabel and Robinson.
Roughly a dozen players from Vanderbilt were in the group, which also included players from MTSU, TSU, Western Kentucky and Austin Peay, among others.
Oregon defensive back Ugo Amadi, who prepped at Overton, was on hand. So was Tyrel Dodson, a Centennial High product who played at Texas A&M. Notre Dame’s Alex Bars, who played at MBA, visited Saint Thomas Sports Park as part of the local pro day as well.
TSU receiver DeVon Johnson caught passes from Shurmur, who he’s been working out with in recent weeks.
“It’s great to be back out on the football field, competing,” Johnson said. “This whole process, I’m really more nervous than excited. This is the first time I’ve gone through something like this.”
After wrapping up his workout, Johnson saddled up to Robinson.
“I asked him how he got into being a general manager,” Johnson said of the conversation. “Because even if I don’t play, I want to be around it. So I asked him what was the process like. He was cool.”
The NFL Draft is scheduled for April 25-27 in Nashville.
Many of the players who worked out for the Titans on Friday will be drafted in Nashville, either by the Titans or one of the NFL’s other 31 teams.
Williams, who prepped at Father Ryan, is counting the days.
He’s enjoying the process, every step of the way.
“The whole Titans staff, it is high energy,” he said. “I came in here to get some work, and it’s another chance for me to prove myself. I am not afraid of competition and I am not sitting out because it is just a regular local day. I am here to get some work. What do I want to show? I want to show I am the best DB in this draft.”