National Football League scouts and coaches will descend on the University of Georgia this morning, but they might as well be the Auburn Tigers or Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets for former Bulldogs receiver Kris Durham.
"I'm definitely a person who gets nervous very easily, and this feels very similar to a game," Durham said Monday. "You go out there to compete in something you've been working toward and something you've invested a lot into, so naturally you're going to be nervous and excited."
Georgia had eight players participate at the recent NFL combine in Indianapolis, which tied LSU for the most nationally, but several Bulldogs were not invited and must make the most of the annual pro day on campus. Those include Durham, linebacker Darryl Gamble, offensive lineman Chris Davis, defensive end Kiante Tripp and two former walk-ons, cornerback Chad Gloer and tight end Derek Rich.
The eight Bulldogs who went to the combine, a crop headed by receiver A.J. Green and outside linebacker Justin Houston, will participate today as well.
Georgia's pro day is not open to the public but can be viewed online at ESPN3, beginning at 10. Cassidy Hubbarth and former Bulldogs defensive end David Pollack are the commentators.
"When Matthew [Stafford] came through, it was a big stage, and now with guys like A.J. and Justin being potential first-rounders, it will be a big stage," Durham said. "I'm just excited to have the opportunity to go out there and show what I've been working on these past two and a half months getting ready for this moment."
The 6-foot-5, 215-pound former Calhoun High standout was second on the team in receptions last season with 32 for 659 yards and three touchdowns after graduating last May in middle school education.
"I think he's one of those guys whose speed is average and his athletic ability is average to good, but he's a sure-handed receiver," one AFC team's scouting director said of Durham. "He's going to have to find his niche, whether it's special teams and being a backup receiver, just to make a squad, but there are guys like him who play in the league for a long, long time."
Durham admits getting left out of the combine was disappointing, and he expects to take some motivation into today as well as the nerves.
"I thought I had the ability to be there, but I've been able to get this opportunity with a receiver as highly ranked as A.J. coming out there with me," he said. "I really want to run well. That's probably the biggest knock on me, because people don't believe I'm very fast or quick. I want to show that I can run a low 4.5 or even a 4.4 [40-yard dash]."
The current Bulldogs are scheduled to resume practicing this afternoon following spring break.
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