Former Toppers show off at WKU Pro Day

Elliott Pratt

It was just another day at the office for 14 former Toppers, but their office was a bit more comfortable this time.

19 NFL teams were represented Wednesday at Smith Stadium for WKU Pro Day, with a majority of the senior class participating in drills to showcase their talents with hopes of a future in football.

With the NFL Draft taking place May 8-10, a few former Toppers used the Pro Day as just another one of their big auditions to compete in the 40-yard dash, short shuttle, 3-cone and position drills.

Former running back Antonio Andrews, the 2013 Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year and the Offensive Player of the Year, said getting back on the Hill was comfortable, and that he used that day to make up for a disappointing performance at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Andrews, the first WKU offensive player at the combine, clocked in a 40-yard dash time of 4.82.

“I didn’t do my best at the Combine and I’m kind of down on myself, and today kind of fluctuated that for everything else,” Andrews said. “The whole experience at the Combine was fun. It was a learning curve definitely.”

Andrews led the nation last season with 2,619 all-purpose yards and registered a school record 1,730 rushing yards, breaking his own school record by one yard.

Andrews is projected as a fifth or sixth round draft pick according to

Participating in the Senior Bowl and the NFL Scouting Combine revealed to Andrews that he could compete with players projected as the best at their positions.

“One thing I’ve learned, is I can play in any conference,” Andrews said. “The best players that are rated high, I can play with them. There’s competition everywhere no matter the conference.

“Just taking the things I learned at Western really helped me when I was in the senior bowl. A lot of those guys there were like, ‘man, how did you wind up at Western’, and I told them they were the only school that showed me love.”

Along with Andrews, former linebacker Andrew Jackson and junior safety Jonathan Dowling declared for the draft. By the same report from, Jackson and Dowling are projected as a seventh round pick with Jackson rated the 10th best inside linebacker out of 175.

Jackson, selected to the Second-Team All-Sun Belt defense, finished second on the team in tackles (95) and hopes his play on the field last season is enough to convince an NFL team to call his name on draft day.

“The level of competition is high. There are other good players out there so I’ve had to step my game up to try to compete with the best,” Jackson said. “A lot of them said I have a lot of good film. I put up a lot of good numbers on the field so that should help me out as well.”

Of the 14 former players participating, only Jackson, Andrews and Dowling are projected as potential draft selections.

Former fullback Nick Baisch understands that theory, but that isn’t stopping him from carrying out his dream.

“I don’t really expect to get drafted, so I have to wait until the draft is over and then figure out who teams want for their undrafted free agents,” Baisch said. “I just want to play football. Whatever it takes to be playing football again, I’ll do it.”

Baisch is still in grad school and is training at D-I in Bowling Green. Other players have bounced back and forth from WKU to other places in the country to train with other athletes.

For Antonio Andrews, there was nothing more comfortable than rejoining his former teammates for one last time on Feix Field.

“It’s been a while since we’ve all been on the Hill together,” Andrews said. “Just seeing everybody out here competing for that same thing to play on the next level and bringing us together one last time to compete against each other was just great to see.”