Demon quartet finds success, camaraderie at Saints Pro Day

PRO TALK: Northwestern State 2022 senior football player William Hooper (25), a cornerback, talked with scouts and personnel from the New Orleans Saints and the Cleveland Browns Thursday after the Saints hosted a Pro Day for state college seniors at their facility in Metairie. (Photo by PETER FOREST, Journal Sports)

By JASON PUGH, Special to the Journal

METAIRIE – Almost five months to the day they played their final college football game together, a quartet of Northwestern State football players were together again Thursday morning, continuing their pursuit of a dream.

Kicker Eddie Godina, tight end L.C. Greenwood, cornerback William Hooper and wide receiver Jamel Thomas all took part in a statewide Pro Day workout put together by the New Orleans Saints at their facility.

“It was cool to see my teammates one last time,” Greenwood said. “We’ve been blessed to play the sport we love.”

The group of Demons were joined by other familiar faces from some of the state’s fellow Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) schools, which led to the NSU representatives cranking up their competitive juices.

“I’m a guy who likes to compete,” Hooper said. “Some of those teams got the best of us this season, and we couldn’t let that happen again, so it raised the competition level a lot.”

Hooper and Godina tested well enough in the morning stages to work their way into the next round of position drills in front of professional scouts.

Godina made field goals of 50, 55 and 60 yards on the first attempt at each distance and was about a yard short on a 63-yarder.

“It was a really good day,” Godina said. “After hitting the 55, I knew I had the leg to hit some 60s. I toed my 63. If I had hit it right, I would have definitely made it.”

Godina, who has been training in Dallas and in Arizona since the end of the fall semester, said seeing some familiar faces helped relax him and drove his performance upward.

“It definitely helped me get in my comfort zone, especially having Hooper there,” Godina said. “We definitely performed our best. It helped having some NSU guys there. It wasn’t just them. (Director of football operations) Sonja (Pezant) was there to support us, too.”

Hooper, a second-team All-Southland Conference selection this past fall, tested well, especially in the 40-yard dash.

“They had me run it a third time, one more than anyone else,” Hooper said.

Hooper echoed Godina’s thoughts on the importance of having familiar faces around while scouts watched their on-field moves.

“They helped me feel more comfortable because there were people there I was familiar with,” he said. “It felt good to be around people you know and have played ball with before.”

Much like Hooper, Godina’s performance did what he hoped for when he headed to Metairie.

“I knew coming in I didn’t have a lot of eyes on me,” he said. “They didn’t know who I was. After I made the 60-yarder, a bunch of scouts were asking about. I definitely turned some heads today.”

While Godina started quickly and Hooper ran fast, the pre-draft process pace slows considerably following Thursday’s event.

“All I can do now is wait,” Hooper said.

While none are NFL Draft prospects, each hopes to get a free agent opportunity or extended tryout with an NFL club. Several had representatives at the workout.

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