Greg Ward Jr, Fred Ross, and Tyus Bowser are all John Tyler Lions from the 'Class of 2012'. They are all names you could be hearing during this week's NFL Draft, adding to the list of former Lions already in the league.
"There something in the water here. We produce a lot of NFL guys, it's that East Texas water," said Fred Ross, the all-time record holder in catches and receiving yards at Mississippi State.
"Watching those big time guys get drafted into the NFL, then so many years later you see yourself in that position it's amazing. Just to know that you're at this point, that you worked so hard," said Tyus Bowser, outside linebacker projected as a first or second round pick.
"This is just the beginning for all of us. I believe we are ready now. Whatever day it is whether it's Thursday, Friday, or Saturday I believe we will be ready," said Greg Ward Jr., former Houston Cougar quarterback that lead his AAC team to a 13-1 record in 2015.
Making a name for himself at the college level as the quarterback of the Houston Cougars, Ward is entering the draft as a receiver. It's not a new position for Ward, but it's one he has had to prove to scouts he can play.
"This isn't a big change for me. I've played the position before. I just bring the knowledge from quarterback to receiver, recognizing coverages and things like that. I think I'll be good in the box," said Ward.
"Nothing was given to him, he had to work for a spot to be a quarterback. He had to work to make himself known and make the school known. To understand that, he is one of the best guys," said Bowser.
Playing with Ward at Houston, Bowser is a giant tackling machine that somehow flew under the radar most of his career. But after receiving a chance to compete at the NFL Combine, the outside linebacker caught the eyes of multiple scouts.
"Just getting a chance to be in front of all 32 teams. To showcase your talent that you've been working on since you've been little since you first started. It's finally that time to go out and to prove that you are just as good as the guys they've been talking about," said Bowser.
Ross also had a chance to compete at the Combine, showing off why he earned the name "Ross the Boss" at Mississippi State.
"You don't break the school record dropping passes. It's fun those are four long hard years at Mississippi State met some great people. I played in the toughest conference some of the best competition and I feel like the way we did stuff at Mississippi State is similar to the NFL," said Ross.
From the Friday night lights in East Texas to college football on Saturdays, it's not if but when these three former John Tyler Lions will claim Sunday as the new game day. When they do, they will all have former NFL athlete and John Tyler Lion Head Coach Ricklan Holmes to help them through the process.
"He's been in the same situation that we're going in. Just having a guy like him, who understands us as athletes and us as men off the field, he helps us in both," said Ward.
"I would feel like I would be letting them down if I noticed that they did something wrong and not let them know about it. If I see them slacking and not get on them like I would if they were still playing with me. I know they have it in them," said Ricklan Holmes, John Tyler head football coach and former NFL cornerback.