Jacob Huesman encounters surprise at Tennessee's pro day

Jacob Huesman encounters surprise at Tennessee's pro day

March 31st, 2016 by Patrick Brown in Sports - College

Quarterback Jacob Huesman enjoys a laugh with teammates in the final seconds of UTC's 42-6 victory over Austin Peay. The UTC Mocs visited the Austin Peay State University Governors in the inaugural game of their new Governors Stadium.

Photo by Robin Rudd /Times Free Press.

KNOXVILLE — There was a bit of a surprise in store for Jacob Huesman in Knoxville on Wednesday.

Less than 24 hours after his own program's pro day at Finley Stadium, the former University of Tennessee at Chattanooga quarterback attended Tennessee's pro day with the intention of throwing during passing drills with some former Volunteers.

Before the three-time Southern Conference offensive player of the year attempted a single pass in a live drill, though, he went through defensive back drills at the request of a couple scouts in attendance.

"It had kind of been discussed," Huesman said. "I've had scouts ask me if I'd be willing to play a different position. It wasn't completely out of left field, but I came up here today just expecting to throw some routes. The guy from the Giants actually pulled me aside while we were doing our measurements in the beginning part of it.

"He was like, 'Hey, I'm going to recommend that you do some DB drills.'"

The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Huesman had to harken back to his days at the Baylor School and tap into his bloodlines to go through the drills, which included dropping into coverage, breaking on routes and tracking deep balls. Huesman recalled playing a little bit in the secondary during his senior year of high school, and he also noted that his father, UTC head coach Russ Huesman, played defensive back for the Mocs in the early 1980s.

"It kind of runs in the family a little bit," the quarterback said. "It's kind of a natural thing."

Huesman's natural position is lined up behind center. In four years with the Mocs, he completed 67 percent of his passes for 8,192 yards and 64 touchdowns with just 28 interceptions while also rushing for more than 4,000 yards and 43 more scores.

Tennessee's wasn't the first Southeastern Conference pro day at which Huesman has thrown. He also threw at Vanderbilt's on March 3 — "forever ago," as he put it. Those extra showings were by design.

There were only three NFL teams represented at UTC's pro day on Tuesday. There were 27 teams represented in Knoxville as Huesman threw passes to former Tennessee wide receivers Marquez North, Von Pearson, Pig Howard and Jonathon Johnson, plus tight end Alex Ellis.

"My agent, Austin Atkinson, and my coaches, leading up to all this, they wanted to find a couple of extra pro days for me to throw in," Huesman said. "They were kind of searching around the area, seeing who didn't have a senior quarterback eligible to throw at pro day. We were going to link up with them.

"It just so happened that Vanderbilt and Tennessee both didn't have a senior quarterback and had guys who needed to run routes at pro day. I'm fortunate to be here. I had a great time."

The next step in the draft process, Huesman hopes, is landing some individual workouts with NFL teams.

Huesman is remaining realistic in his expectations and admitted he's not getting his hopes too high about being drafted. The route he plans on taking is as an undrafted free agent. He's open as to which position that might require him to play.

"The ideal thing, because I've been doing it for so long, is to play quarterback," Huesman said. "That's why I came out here to throw and prove to some people that I can be a drop-back quarterback and make all the throws. At the same time, I'm 100 percent open to trying a different position out there for a team.

"I want to play in the NFL. I want to contribute to a winning football team. I'll really do that any way I can."

Contact Patrick Brown at pbrown@timesfreepress.com.


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