The Walkthrough: One Prevailing Sentiment from WKU’s Pro Day

Evan Heichelbech is the sports editor for the College Heights Herald during Fall 2017.

Evan Heichelbech

This past fall, I spent a lot of time following the WKU football team. I went to practices, games and press conferences, covering all the ins and outs of the team and learning more and more about the team’s dynamic with each experience.

Years from now, when I reflect back on my time as the WKU football beat writer for the Herald, if I remember anything, it’ll be how unified this senior class was.

On Monday, I stood in on interviews with some of the former players in what would be their last media obligations as athletes at WKU. The occasion was Pro Day, a completely individual event that requires nothing more than for each athlete to go through their respective position drills and get evaluated by professional scouts and coaches in a one-on-one setting.

And even in those circumstances — just like they had all season — the players talked about each other.

Max Halpin was the center on an offensive line that went seven players deep with little drop-off in production between the starters and rotation players. That unit featured one surefire professional football player. Forrest Lamp has been a well-known commodity in the college and professional football circles for a while now, but he would be the last person to let you know that.

Halpin would gladly be one of the first. Darrell Williams, who played opposite of Lamp at right tackle, would be the second. Ace Wales? He’d be quick to sing Lamp’s praises too.

Wales called Lamp “one of the best lineman” he’s ever seen. Williams complimented Lamp’s size, pointing out that his former teammate “is built like a refrigerator” and commending him for always having “good feet.”

Halpin spoke to Lamp’s personal qualities, calling him a best friend and someone he can rely on to be there for him at any moment in the future.

So as skill players ran blazing 40-yard dashes and sprinted through the three-cone drill while the linemen chopped their feet and jolted each other back in pad drills, something else stood out to me even more at Smith Stadium earlier this week.

Even though they haven’t been official teammates in months, these former Hilltoppers spoke with the same energy, same passion and same sense of genuine care and well wishes for each other as they had all season long.

It’s not the most abnormal or unbelievable type of behavior for former college teammates to exhibit, but it was remarkable to see them going through the same process completely independently, yet at the same time being overly willing to share the experience together.

Wales called it a “blessing”. Halpin said it was “awesome”.

When I filed my game story from FAU Stadium after WKU capped its 2016 season with a third-straight bowl victory in the Boca Raton Bowl, I knew I had written a good headline. It may not have meant a lot to an outsider, but it made a lot of sense to me and anyone else who followed the team around all season. The headline reads, “Energy and unity propel Hilltoppers to third straight bowl victory”.

You can probably guess which of those 10 words sticks out to me most.

Sports Editor Evan Heichelbech can be reached at 502-415-1817 and [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @evanheich.