Leonard Williams helps out at USC practice before pro day workout

Leonard Williams helps out at USC practice before pro day workout
Former USC defensive lineman Leonard Williams sprints during a drill at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis on Feb. 22. (Julio Cortez / Associated Press)

Leonard Williams played his final game for USC in December, but the All-American defensive lineman was a large, animated presence at the Trojans' spring workout Tuesday at the Coliseum.

Williams, regarded as a possible top-five pick in the NFL draft, will participate in USC's pro day workout for scouts Wednesday.

So he spent a few hours with his former teammates, encouraging them and providing tips during the Trojans' first practice in full pads.

"Even when I was here, I tried to help out coaching as much as possible," Williams said.


The 6-foot-5, 302-pound Williams impressed NFL teams during last month's NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis.

Williams ran the 40-yard dash in 4.97 seconds.

Williams said he would participate only in position drills Wednesday.

"I felt more butterflies at the combine," he said. "Getting that out of the way and doing pretty well in it made me feel a lot better coming to pro day."

Williams is one of four USC players who declared for the draft with a year of eligibility remaining.

Receiver Nelson Agholor, running back Javorius Allen and receiver George Farmer also are scheduled to participate in pro day along with players who exhausted their eligibility, such as linebackers Hayes Pullard and J.R. Tavai, tight end Randall Telfer, offensive lineman Aundrey Walker and defensive backs Josh Shaw and Gerald Bowman.

Williams, who will not turn 21 until June, had 9 1/2 tackles for losses last season, including seven sacks.

He said the draft run-up has been "a fun process," but he was looking forward to its conclusion and joining a team.

"I've been living in a bunch of different hotels, moving all around," he said, adding, "I just want to get settled in."

USC's pro day workout will be held on campus, but it is closed to the public.

Carrying the load

Junior tailback Justin Davis backed up Allen during the 2014 season and, with senior Tre Madden, is expected to provide a veteran presence in the fall.

Madden, who is recovering from a toe injury that sidelined him last season, is taking part in spring drills but is being held out of contact drills.

Davis is getting most of the first-team reps.

"It feels great running with the ones," he said. "It's a tremendous opportunity and I'm trying to take advantage of it."

Davis, 6 feet 1 and 195 pounds, rushed for 595 yards and four touchdowns and also caught two touchdown passes last season.

"I don't know how many games last year he got a real chance to get into a rhythm as a runner because [Allen] was getting so many of the carries," Coach Steve Sarkisian said. "But he showed flashes of the explosiveness."

A year in Sarkisian's system has helped this spring, Davis said.

"I know the playbook like the back of my hand," he said. "It's feeling great."

Quick hits

Adoree' Jackson returned to practice and spent the entire workout at cornerback. Sarkisian said Saturday that Jackson was absent because he was attending a funeral…. Tight end Bryce Dixon remained absent because of what Sarkisian has described as a student-conduct issue. Sarkisian provided no update on Dixon's situation…. The Trojans resume workouts Thursday on campus. They are scheduled to return to the Coliseum on Saturday.

Follow Gary Klein on Twitter @latimesklein