March 14, 2012
How was your experience at the NFL Combine?
It went very well. Just being able to be there, it was a blessing to have an invite. Especially with my season ending prematurely. Just having the opportunity to be amongst the best. Seeing all the other great college players of this class compete against each other, it was an awesome experience.
What were you able to do at the combine?
I was only able to do my bench reps. Everything else I was limited on because I’m not able to run or cut or jump or do anything else as far as testing is concerned. But just going up there and doing interviews, talking with the coaches was the biggest thing that I really enjoyed.
How has your recovery been progressing?
Hopefully I can start jogging some time in April. That will be a little bit before draft time, or right at draft time. We’ve been talking to the doctors. I’ll actually go see them again this week for another check up. They’re thinking some time around training camp is when I’ll be near 100 percent. I’ll take a little bit of time after that until I’m fully released for 100 percent contact. So I’m just taking it one day at a time right now. Each day it just keeps getting better.
What sort of feedback did you get at the combine?
Basically a lot of times we were going over plays within a certain defense - they would draw it up and ask us what we had on this play. Or what the offensive line did. Or how we pick up a blitz protection. So that’s a lot of things I learned here that really helped me out up there; being able to talk football with those guys, being able to communicate well with them. That was a key thing that I really enjoyed. I learned a lot from [Director of High School Relations and Player Development] Coach [Ken] Rucker and [Co-Offensive Coordinator/Running Backs] Coach [Major] Applewhite.
How did NFL personnel react to your not being able to participate fully?
Well they kind of understood that the extent of my injury was pretty bad. They knew that I wouldn’t really be able to do anything at the Combine or the Pro Day. They kind of wanted to see where I would be at. I gave them the same little time frame that I know about. I told them probably training camp, somewhere around that time [that I would be fully recovered]. Really, that’s one thing that is the biggest thing that I can fall back on, is that up until I got injured, I worked hard. I gave it my all. So they still have that feeling to go off of.
Was being at the Combine a culmination of a lifelong dream?
Definitely. The NFL was one of my goals that I’ve always wanted to participate in. Growing up, you always see guys playing and say, “Hey, that’s what I want to do. I want to play professional football.” It’s just the love of the game. If you don’t love the game then you wouldn’t be able to play it. Just being able to have that opportunity right now is a true blessing to me. I’ve got to take advantage of it.
Did you feel that dream becoming a reality at the Combine?
You know it did. Just because the way they treated you and talked to you, everything was businesslike. You were going to be treated the same way if you were picked up by a team and already there with them. They had the coaches from all the teams helping out with the Combine to kind of give you a perspective of what it would be like if you were picked up by a team. Having that type of experience – the coaches coaching you up and telling you what to do, seeing how you react and respond to it. It’s a big key indicator of how you would be.
What is your schedule like now until the draft?
Rehabbing. Still doing my internship here underneath [Associate Athletics Director for Football Operations] Arthur [Johnson] and [Director of Football Operations] Marcus [Tubbs]; working football operations. Those are the only two things I’m doing right now; making sure I’m rehabbing and working out. Making sure I’m handling the off-the-field stuff, which is my internship.