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Local Offensive Players Take Pre-Draft Visit with Titans

Posted Mar 26, 2013

NFL teams are allotted up to 30 visits with draft-eligible prospects. All the guests that the Titans hosted Monday are considered local players and do not count against that total.

[Related Info: Defensive Players Visit Titans | 2013 Titans Draft Central]

Ben Bartholomew

Position: FB
College: Tennessee
High School: Montgomery Bell Academy (Nashville)
6-foot-2 | 252 pounds
Notes: Recorded two carries for 10 yards and 17 receptions for 156 yards and a touchdown in 31 games at Tennessee

Ben Bartholomew viewed the University of Tennessee’s Pro Day last week as another milestone in the lead up to next month’s NFL Draft and said he will enjoy the interview process as he resumes “football training” that is different from what he did to prepare for Pro Day.

“It’s going to be nice to get back into football training and do the things you’ve been doing for the last five years,” Bartholomew said. “It’s an exciting time more than anything. You do get a little anxious, but patience is a virtue and I’m trying to exercise it.”

Bartholomew said Monday’s visit with Titans coaches added to the great experiences he’s had in his home state. He was a Division II Mr. Football Back winner at MBA, and he was proud to play at UT where his grandfather Sam captained the 1939 SEC championship team and his brother Will was a member of the 1998 national championship squad and 2001 captain.

“My family is all about the University of Tennessee football,” Bartholomew said. “My grandfather played there and my brother played there, so it was an awesome experience getting to play there. We had crazy times, a lot of different coaches, and not necessarily the best seasons, but I’ve had incredible experience. Hopefully I can keep playing in the state, but who knows where I’ll be.”

Bartholomew played for Phillip Fulmer as a freshman, Lane Kiffin as a sophomore, redshirted in Derek Dooley’s first season and played for Dooley the past two seasons.

“Being at Tennessee these last five years, I’ve gotten to experience the business side of football, which isn’t necessarily fun but I learned a lot about myself and my character,” Bartholomew said. “I really think it’s helped and been a blessing. I hope to use those characteristics I’ve earned in the future.”

Jordan Rodgers

Position: QB
College: Vanderbilt/Butte JC
High School: Pleasant Valley HS (Chico, Calif.)
6-foot-1 | 212 pounds
Notes: Appeared in 25 games over the past two seasons after having shoulder surgery in 2010; completed 299 of 535 passes for 4,063 yards and 24 TDs against 15 interceptions

Jordan Rodgers threw for scouts at Vanderbilt’s Pro Day last week and met with Titans coaches on Monday at Baptist Sports Park. He said the meetings with teams are an important time for a player to introduce himself to coaches.

“They want to get to know you, know who you’re about, know who you are, know your background, so you’ve just got to be yourself, relax and kind of have fun with it,” Rodgers said. “You want to be yourself. They’ve done this so many times as coaches, they’ve seen so many players, they’re going to read right through any fronts you’re going to put up, so be yourself and be natural, but also portray confidence. You’ve got to portray that you believe you belong in this league and belong in an organization like this.”

Rodgers said the process and evaluation might be slightly different for a quarterback than another position.

“A coach has got to see a quarterback as a possibility of a face of the franchise, somebody that’s a little more high-profile,” Rodgers said, “so you’ve got to have someone that has their stuff together, as a person, their background checks out, no baggage, you’re confident, you can be in front of people and convey a message for the organization.”

Rodgers is the younger brother of Green Bay QB and Super Bowl XLV MVP Aaron Rodgers, who has provided some guidance on the process.

“He’s been here, he’s done that,” Jordan Rodgers said. “He’s been through this whole process more than I have, so he’s had some great insight about how to handle myself and only worrying about what I can control.”

Zach Rogers
Position: WR
College: Tennessee
High School: David Lipscomb HS (Nashville)
6-foot | 172 pounds
Notes: Recorded 32 catches for 491 yards and seven touchdowns in 2012 after moving up the depth chart; finished career with 63 receptions for 906 yards and nine TDs in 48 games

Zach Rogers’ hard work helped him emerge as his opportunities increased at the University of Tennessee.

“It’s been an adventure. It’s been a lot of fun,” Rogers said of preparing for Tennessee’s Pro Day and the interview process. “I’m definitely blessed to have this opportunity in front of me and I’m just trying to make the most of it.”

Rogers complemented Volunteers receivers Cordarrelle Patterson and Justin Hunter, who were both invited to the NFL Combine and have been projected as high draft picks. Rogers, a Division I-AAA Mr. Football Back winner said he kept preparing as if he were the No. 1 option.

“You have to stay on your toes all the time,” Rogers said. “You have to stay ready, you have to be on the attack all the time because you didn’t know when your number was going to get called. I was fortunate enough to play with some great receivers at Tennessee, and we didn’t have the greatest year but we had a pretty good offense. I’m definitely blessed to get the exposure that I did, so hopefully something works out.”

Although he will have less fanfare than Patterson and Hunter, Rogers said he’s enjoyed keeping up with his former teammates and wants an opportunity to show he can add value to an NFL team.

“No doubt, I keep up with them. They’re going to be good first, second-round talents and I’m excited to see what they have in store for them,” Rogers said. “I just always wish them the best, and it was good to work out with them at Pro Day last week and see them. They’re going to have a good tenure in the NFL.”

Zac Stacy

Position: RB
College: Vanderbilt
High School: Bibb County HS (Centreville, Ala.)
5-foot-8 | 216 pounds
Notes: Set school records of career rushing yards (3,143) and touchdowns (30); 2012 Music City Bowl MVP; 2012 Second Team All-SEC

Zac Stacy has been pleased with his physical performances at the invite-only NFL Combine in February and Vanderbilt’s Pro Day last week. He’s now turning his attention to the interview process while continuing to train.

“I had some pretty good numbers at both events, so I’m excited and just ready to hear my name called,” Stacy said. “(At the Combine) they try to see how well you perform under pressure, dealing with being up every morning and doing drug tests and interviews, medical examinations and what not, but for the most part, it was a lot of fun. It was a great experience. I got to meet a lot of good people. I was obviously able to compete with some of the guys, some of the best guys across the nation, but overall, the experience was great and I had fun.”

Stacy has been training in Atlanta and returned to Nashville to participate in front of scouts at Vanderbilt’s Pro Day on Friday. He visited Baptist Sports Park on Monday to meet with Titans coaches. He compared it to recruiting visits he made when he was coming out of high school. Stacy said it was fun to reconnect with former Commodores teammates. He said his favorite memory is the success Vanderbilt’s football team enjoyed the past two seasons that yielded consecutive bowl appearances.

“Coach (James) Franklin and the rest of the staff have done a great job with that program, and hopefully they can continue the momentum in the upcoming years,” Stacy said. “I’m just proud to be a representative of Vanderbilt University, and that program is on the rise.”

Trabis Ward
Position: RB
College: Tennessee State
High School: Dillard HS (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.)
5-foot-10 | 200 pounds
Notes: Recorded 2,582 net rushing yards and 26 touchdowns on 564 career carries; averaged 129.3 rushing yards per game in 2012 when he finished his redshirt junior season with 1,422 yards and 15 TDs

Trabis Ward said he’s “enjoying every minute” of the preparations for next month’s NFL Draft. Ward, who missed the 2010 campaign with an injury, had a year of eligibility remaining but decided to enter the draft early.

Ward said part of that decision was based on the departures of senior linemen Rogers Gaines (a former star at White House in nearby Goodlettsville) and Sherman Carter (a former star at nearby La Vergne High School). Gaines, a 6-foot-7 tackle, participated in the Combine in February and also visited Titans coaches on Monday.

“A left tackle and a center that get up to the secondary, you can’t find that every day, so I had to hit while I was hot,” Ward said. “That’s the name of the game: staying young and hitting while it’s hot, and I think this is the right time for me.”

Ward said playing many of his college games at LP Field gave him motivation to keep working toward the next level and he enjoyed the opportunity to meet with Titans coaches.

“It was an experience I’ll always remember, going in there talking to the guys and letting them know what kind of person I am, what kind of character I have, what type of player they’re going to get, a player that’s going to come to work every day with a hard hat, ready to perform,” Ward said. “So I thought (Monday) was very positive. All of them were cool guys, somebody I think I could work for.”

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