INDIANAPOLIS — Vanderbilt’s Thomas Welch has a strong example to follow as he readies for the NFL Combine, the draft and eventually a future as a professional football player.
The Commodores tackle has been spending plenty of time with another ex-Vandy standout, Chris Williams of the Chicago Bears, in readying to make the jump from the college level to the pros.
Williams is back in Nashville working out in the off-season, and Welch is making sure to glean every bit of information he can about as he makes the transition to the NFL.
“I see him about five maybe six days a week, and I try to pick everything I can from his brain just to get ready for the whole process,” Welch said.
The two were teammates at Vandy for three seasons before Williams became a first-round pick of the Bears in 2008.
Welch, who made the transition from tight end to tackle during his redshirt freshman year at Vanderbilt, said his time with the Commodores has helped to prepare him to be ready to play professionally.
“I think it prepared me very well. My coaching staff at Vanderbilt prepared me very well and got me prepared for the systems that I think I’m going to run at the next level,” Welch said. “Physically, I got a lot bigger and stronger when I was at Vanderbilt and hopefully that will correlate well at the next level.”
Welch got his first taste of just what like in the NFL can be like on Thursday as he had to rise at 4:30 a.m. ET to begin his day.
“We had to wake up at 4:30 this morning to have a drug test. It’s been a long day. They’re pulling on every muscle and everything,” Welch said. “At the next level, it’s all football. It’s a full-time job, 24-7. You’ve just got to play football. But to play football full-time as a job is pretty exciting.”