Fans Show Off Skills At Year Of The Fan Pro Day
OXFORD, Miss. - Nearly 500 fans from all over made their way inside the gates of Vaught-Hemingway Stadium and onto Jerry Hollingsworth Field Sunday afternoon to compete in the first-ever Fan Pro Day as part of Ole Miss' Year of the Fan initiative.
Kids in eighth grade and under, Ole Miss students, as well as adults over the age of 22 made their way around 10 different drill stations set up across the field and put their NFL Combine-like football skills to the test.
The events consisted of a 40-yard dash, cone drill, field goal competition, punt catch, quarterback competition, shuttle run, tackle dummy obstacle, vertical jump, hot dog eating contest and a cooler pull and dig.
Nat Dean and his son, Drew, of Water Valley, made a pitstop on their way home from a baseball tournament in Southaven to let Drew flash his skills on the gridiron.
"I think this is really neat," Nat said. "I think it is a great way to get fans engaged by getting to be on the field and all of the festivities ."
Drew's favorite drill?
"Probably the 40-yard dash," he said as he pointed to his scoresheet that showed a quick time.
Nat said it was Drew's first time getting to be on the field.
"They get a feeling of being big time by playing on a surface where big time athletes play," Nat said. "I think it's cool for them to get to experience that.
Kelly and her daughter, Kailey, drove more than six hours all the way from Vancleave, Mississippi, to come partake in the fun. Kailey said the vertical jump was her favorite station.
Barrett Hopkins and his son, Hayden, trekked down from Ripley for them both to go through the gauntlet of drills. Hayden was partial to the quarterback throwing drills as he ran around on the field for the first time.
"This has been really cool," Barrett said. "We have always wanted to come down onto the field."
Barrett caught a ball on the jugs machine and decided to retire on top.
"I caught one and walked away," he said with a grin.
Contestants times and scores at each drill flashed across the video board as kids ran through the drills and pummeled some tackling dummies.
The nearly two hour event allowed the fans to emulate the athletes they've watched for so many years inside Vaught-Hemingway as well as gave them an early taste of Saturday afternoons next fall.
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