More than a dozen NFL teams came to Temple’s annual Pro Day on March 23 to watch potential prospects.
Temple had 16 prospects, 13 of which were former Owls, working out in front of scouts at the STAR Complex. Players went through a series of drills and time measurements with hope of being selected in the NFL draft on April 28 in Las Vegas.
Former Owls participating in Pro Day included Ra’Von Bonner (running back), Joseph Hooper (offensive lineman), Jeremy Jennings (cornerback), Freddie Johnson (cornerback),William Kwenkeu (linebacker), Michael Niese (offensive lineman), C.J. Perez (offensive lineman), Tayvon Ruley (running back), Amir Tyler (safety) and Manny Walker (defensive end).
Three Temple transfers also took part in events. Aaron Adu from Western Illinois (cornerback), Anthony Russo from Michigan State (quarterback) and Casey Williams from Stony Brook (defensive line).
The Owls didn’t have any players at the 2022 NFL Combine, making Pro Day a critical opportunity to catch attention. Some of the NFL teams represented were the Chicago Bears, Philadelphia Eagles, New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers.
While there were no high-profile prospects, there were notable performances. Here’s a look at six standouts from Temple’s 2022 Pro Day.
Amir Tyler, Safety
Tyler played six seasons for Temple and was named a single digit in the 2020-21 season. He finished with 16 reps on the bench press while also recording a 4.74 second 40-yard dash, a 10-foot-1-inch broad jump and a 38-inch vertical jump.
“It went good, everything but my 40,” Tyler said. “I didn’t get the time I wanted, but everything else I excelled at.”
Tyler mentioned he ran between a 4.4 and 4.5 while training at Competitive Edge Sports in King of Prussia. The Bears and the New York Giants invited him to their local Pro Day in early April. The six-foot safety, who led the Owls in tackles last season, hopes to show those teams his versatility and prove his speed is not limited.
“I can play on special teams, anywhere they need me to play at,” Tyler said. “I can be a slot corner or safety as well. I just want to show them I’m available at any spot.”
William Kwenkeu, Linebacker
Kwenkeu, a former single digit, felt confident about his numbers. He recorded a 4.60 second 40-yard dash, 22 reps on the bench press, 33-inch vertical jump and a 9-foot-5-inch broad jump. He believed his speed caught the attention of scouts and put him at a higher threshold as an outside linebacker.
“I’m just ecstatic right now,” Kwenkeu said. “I’m hype, I don’t have the words, thankful for this opportunity, I felt like I did really well.”
The 6-foot-1, 221-pound linebacker spent the last three months training in Boston with Reggie Garrett, a former Temple graduate assistant who worked with the Owls defense in 2016. Kwenkeu mentioned he’ll attend the Panthers and Baltimore Ravens local Pro Day in early April.
Kwenkeu had his first collegiate touchdown against Akron last season and produced four sacks in his career.
Michael Niese, Left Guard
Niese, a former left guard on the offensive line, recorded a 5.08 second 40-yard dash, 23 reps on the bench press, 29.5 inches in the vertical jump and an 8-foot-7-inch broad jump.
“It was a good day,” Niese said. “High stress, you only get one opportunity to do these numbers, but I feel confident in what happened.”
Niese spent the last three months training back home in St. Louis at the former St. Louis Rams facility. After he spoke with scouts from the Giants and Eagles, Niese plans to attend their workout sessions in April.
“I’m looking forward to those opportunities to get into a team facility and connect with those coaches on a personal level,” Niese said. “And get on the field and start doing some football, not just 40s and shuttles.”
The six-foot-three, 303-pound lineman transferred in from Dayton in the 2020-21 season. Niese missed a couple of games due to an injury but became a reliable starter at left guard, following his debut against East Carolina on Nov. 21, 2020.
“I’m fully back now,” Niese said. “It was good to get out on the field and show that.”
C.J. Perez, Center
Perez, a former Temple center, was content with his times despite getting tripped up during his second run on the 40-yard dash.
“I feel ok right now, I got my leg wrapped up and I was able to finish the positional work,” Perez said. “It wasn’t perfect, but I was really encouraged with what I was able to do before that.”
He ran a 5.34 second 40-yard time, an event high of 26 reps on the bench press, 32.5 inches in the vertical jump and a 9-foot broad jump.
Perez performed better than he expected. In the past couple months, Perez has worked out at Velocity, a football gym for offensive linemen in Atlanta. Following his workout, he spoke with the Ravens, Panthers and Eagles.
The 6-foot-1, 293-pound center transferred to Temple from Northern Illinois in the 2020-21 season. In his two-year career as an Owl, Perez started 17 consecutive games under center.
Manny Walker, Defensive end
Walker, a 6-foot-3, 239-pound defensive end, recorded a 4.68 second 40-yard dash, 34 inches in the vertical jump and 10-foot-4-inch broad jump.
“I did pretty good,” Walker said. “It’s everything I trained for and prepared for, I think it was pretty fluid.”
Walker trained at Pro X facilities in Westfield, Indiana, where he focused heavily on his 40 times and the three-cone drill. He said there were some positional drills he didn’t expect, like dropping into coverage to play a more hybrid linebacker role, but he felt he executed under pressure.
Walker transferred to Temple from Wake Forest in the 2020-21 season. He had two interceptions last season, including a pick six, while recording a sack.
Freddie Johnson, Cornerback
Johnson, who played six seasons at Temple, ran an event high 4.47 second 40-yard dash. He was tied for the longest broad jump at 10-feet-4-inches and had a 35-inch vertical jump.
He came to Temple as a receiver before being switched to the cornerback position in the summer of the 2019-20 season. Johnson played valuable minutes last season while rotating as a defensive back and on special teams.
The 6-foot, 183-pound corner had 53 total tackles, one interception and two passes defended in his career.