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Rams wait for call after combine

by James H. McBride

In February, former Rams football players Diamond Williams and Devin Griffin attended the National Scouting Combine to showcase their skills in front of an assortment of pro teams.

Head coach Joe Prud’homme said Williams and Griffin were selected to represent Texas Wesleyan University while auditioning for NFL, CFL, AFL, indoor leagues, and European teams. The combine was held Feb. 23-26 in Indiana.

“There were other guys that got invitations,” Prud’homme said, “but they just didn’t feel like they were ready for that experience.”

He said that combine training is geared toward explosiveness and speed, while training for a season is more about getting ready to play in a full game.

“They have very measured attributes that they are working towards,” Prud’homme said about combines.

Williams, a senior general studies major who was both a defensive back and special teams player, said he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.39 seconds and turned quite a few heads.

“I don’t believe they expected a guy from a small school to have that kind of speed,” he said.

Griffin, a senior business management major, said the combine was a great experience and gave him an excellent opportunity to make contact with both pro teams and other prospects from around the country.

“I enjoyed the experience,” Griffin said. “It gave me a chance to continue being part of a team.”

Wesleyan offensive coordinator Kyle Cox said that while Griffin might not be the strongest or fastest player on the team, he has to be one of the smartest guys on the field, which he showed by playing receiver his first year and converting to safety in 2019.

“That is really hard to do,” Cox said, “and do well at the college level.”

Williams’ time in the 40-yard dash comes as no surprise to Cox, who said that having that sort of speed is a real advantage on the field, especially at kick returns, where Williams has shown an ability to separate himself from everybody else.

“Diamond is one of the fastest human beings,” Cox said, “I have ever been around. And he is gonna fight for everything he has got.”

He also said that both players have those intangible skills that he wishes every player could have.

Williams has a family story that Cox said pushes him every day. One of 17 children raised in East Texas, he lost his mother in 2014. He said that this loss strengthened his belief in family.

Griffin also knows what it is like to grow up in a rough place. He said he was raised in Quitman County, Miss. He came to Wesleyan after playing at Coahoma Community College in Clarksville, Miss.

“Both guys share being fighters,” Cox said, “and I know no matter where they go in life from here, they are going to work their tails off.”

Williams said his agent is in discussions with the Calgary Stampede and the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League.

Last week CFL Commissioner Randy Ambroseie released a statement on the league’s official website saying that the coronavirus has caused training campus to be postponed. According to cfl.ca, the CFL training camps were scheduled to open on May 17.

“Nobody knows anything yet,” Williams said.

Griffin has returned home to Mississippi to visit with family and will be returning to the Texas Wesleyan campus on Sunday, Wiliams said.

He said he plans to stay on campus until the end of the semester while attending online classes and living in West Village, training on the small football field by the dorms to keep in shape.

“I just plan on working hard,” Williams said, “trying to stay in shape while waiting for a call.”

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