The Western Kentucky football program will be well-represented this weekend at National Football League’s scouting combine in Indianapolis.
Former WKU running back Antonio Andrews, linebacker Andrew Jackson and safety Jonathan Dowling will participate at the four-day event that starts Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Andrews had a record-setting career for the Hilltoppers after emerging from the shadow of Bobby Rainey – now with the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers – during his final two seasons. The Fort Campbell High School product and former Kentucky Mr. Football became one of the top all-purpose backs in college football during the 2012 and 2013 seasons.
He was invited to the 2014 Senior Bowl, where Executive Director Phil Savage rated Andrews as the fourth-best back among the attendees.
Savage wrote that Andrews “had a solid set of practices in that he was able to display his package of inside running, pass catching and blitz pickup to the NFL scouts. Although he is one-speed as a runner, he has a knack for finding the soft spot of the defense and moving the chains. He has a good understanding of route work but has to win with leverage rather than speed. He uses his size to catch and absorb oncoming blitzers, but overall, did enough to warrant a look as a third-down back. Expect to see Antonio make an NFL team and chip in as a do-it-all backup in the future (he has experience as a kickoff and punt returner, too).”
Andrews, who graduated in December and is enrolled in graduate school at WKU, is projected to be drafted in the fifth or sixth round and is the 14th best running back out of 228, according to NFLdraftscout.com. Andrews and all running backs are scheduled to perform at the combine Sunday.
On Monday, all linebackers will be on display, including Jackson, who exhausted his eligibility at the end of last season.
The Lakeland, Fla., native totaled 326 tackles and 43 tackles for loss during his WKU career.
He’s rated the 10th best inside linebacker out of 175 and projected to be a seventh-round selection, according to NFLdraftscout.com.
On Tuesday, the final day of the combine, defensive backs will hit the field and Dowling is scheduled to be among them. The Bradenton, Fla., native was a transfer from the University of Florida.
Dowling totaled 135 tackles and made nine interceptions in his two seasons on the Hill. He opted to leave school early for his chance at a professional career.
“He’s definitely excited,” said Rodney Carter, Dowling’s agent. “He’s been low-key, kind of took the week off before the combine to rest, so he can put up his best numbers and do everything well.”
Carter said Dowling has been training in Orlando, Fla., and expects to be drafted anywhere from the third to fifth rounds and has already heard from the Seattle Seahawks and St. Louis Rams, among others.
He’s a projected seventh-round pick, according to CBSsports.com.
The 2014 NFL Draft is scheduled for May 8-10 in New York.