Defensive end Tourek Williams will be the first of two Panthers to showcase their skills at this year's NFL Scouting Combine when defensive linemen go through the drills on Monday, Feb. 25. Strong safety Johnathan Cyprien will be among the defensive backs scheduled on Tuesday, Feb. 26.
The NFL Scouting Combine kicks off on Saturday, Feb. 23, from Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind., and runs through Tuesday. The full four days will be aired exclusively on the NFL Network.
The NFL Scouting Combine workout schedule is as follows:
Saturday, Feb. 23: Tight ends, offensive linemen, special teams
Sunday, Feb. 24: Quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers
Monday, Feb. 25: Defensive linemen, linebackers
Tuesday, Feb. 26: Defensive backs
The event is a showcase for top NFL prospects, and features approximately 333 players who are put through a series of physical and mental tests, in addition to interviews by all 32 NFL teams. The invited players are measured in the 40-yard dash, bench press, vertical jump, broad jump, 3-cone drill and shuttle run.
Cyprien is coming off an excellent showing at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., where he gained much notice through media and fans. Many NFL Draft analysts have cited Cyprien as one of the Draft's top safety prospects available. Williams played in the annual Texas vs. The Nation game on Feb. 2 in Allen, Texas and also drew notice to his NFL Draft potential.
Cyprien and Williams are the fourth and fifth FIU players to earn an invitation to NFL Scouting Combine and marks the second time the program has sent multiple players to a single NFL Scouting Combine. Former Panthers Antwan Barnes (2007), Chandler Williams (2007) and T.Y. Hilton (2012) have all participated, and subsequently drafted into the NFL.
Cyprien, a North Miami Beach native, was named to the All-Sun Belt Conference First-Team this offseason after a standout senior year for the Panthers. The postseason recognition from the Sun Belt was the fourth in his collegiate career. He was named to the second-team his sophomore and junior seasons and honorable mention as a freshman. He was also tapped a First-Team All-Sun Belt Conference pick by the Phil Steele publication.
Widely-regarded as the top safety to ever play at FIU, Cyprien once again led the team in tackles in 2012 with 93, including FIU highs in solo stops (54) and assisted tackles (39). He also recorded a team-high four interceptions, along with five pass breakups, 3.5 tackles for loss and one forced fumble. He started all 12 games in 2012, as well as every game the past three seasons (2010-12), and has started the most career games at safety at FIU (45), which is the third-most amount of starts at any position for a Panther.
His standout senior season also led to the re-writing of several defensive records that will stand for some time. Cyprien is now the school record holder for total tackles (365) [which also rank in the top four all-time in Sun Belt Conference history], solo tackles (213) and fumbles forced (six). He also ranks among the all-time best for pass breakups (second, 22), interceptions (fourth, 7), assisted tackles (fourth, 152) and fumbles recovered (fourth, 3).
Williams is arguably one of the top defensive ends ever to play at FIU. The three-time All-Sun Belt Conference honoree and 2012 team captain started the most career games ever by a defensive lineman at FIU (39). In 2012, Williams led the team with 14.5 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks and two forced fumbles, going along with a career-high 46 total tackles (including 29 solo), two pass break-ups and three quarterback hurries. He finished his FIU tenure second to former Panther and current NFL San Diego Charger Antwan Barnes in career tackles for loss (45.5), yardage from TFLs (224), sacks (18.0) and yardage from sacks (155).
Following the 2012 season, despite a 3-9 team mark, league coaches chose Williams onto the All-SBC Conference First-Team. The year-ending accolade was his third straight, after second-team recognition following the 2010 and 2011 seasons. Recognition was plenty for Williams surrounding his senior season in Miami, after beginning the campaign being voted the SBC Preseason Defensive Player of the Year by the league's coaches and media, along with a spot on the 2012 Preseason All-SBC Team. He earned unanimous preseason All-SBC First-Team honors from Athlon's, Blue Ribbon, CBSSports.com, Lindy's and Phil Steele, as well as Lindy's No. 1 NFL talent in the Sun Belt Conference.