Gabe Jackson Talks Pro Day

Former Mississippi State football player Gabe Jackson, now playing in the NFL, talks one-on--one with Gene's Page about the process leading up to Pro Day.

I would like to talk to you about the process leading up to participating in MSU's NFL Pro Day. What were you thinking about a week prior to the Pro Day?
"I was thinking about what type impression that I would make on the scouts during one of the most important moments of your life. And you are thinking about the final things that you need to work on so that you can be at your best and impress the scouts. You want to be impressive on how strong, how quick you are."

The night before the Pro Day you are through preparing for the day. What was that night like for you?
"You realize that you have done all that you can do. You now hope that all that you have done to work for that one moment has you ready for it. You hope that you don't do that one thing that will mess up all the work and all that training that you have done just for that one moment. There was a lot of tension but I wasn't nervous."

When you got up the morning of Pro Day did you eat your normal breakfast or did you eat a lighter than normal meal?
"Not eating that much is not a good idea. You try to do your normal routine. For a workout you need to make sure you eat enough carbs because you have to have energy for the workout. You make sure you eat fruits and have enough vitamin C."

Was the first drill you did that day the one that caused you the most anxiety?
"Oh yeah. It was always like that. Until I got that first contact or got the first drill over with, I was anxious. You build up what it could be like leading up to it, then when you do it you see what it is like and you go with the flow."

While going though the drills during Pro Day how do you handle the pressure of knowing that all the pro scouts are watching and evaluating you?
"When I was going through the drills I knew they were there, watching me because they came to see me play. So, I made sure I was prepared to perform at the level that would impress them. I wanted to make a name for myself. I wanted to make a statement to them with my performance."

When you finished your last drill how did that feel?
"Good because I knew that I had given it all that I had. I had worked hard, trained hard for it. Everything that they asked me to do I did it. And I did all of it 100 miles per hour. I had no regrets about it because I knew that I had given it my all."

During Pro Day is it all about drills or do some of the teams talk to you?
"They talk to you but not as much. They mostly talk to you in January and February, the Senior Bowl, places like that. Then, they work you out in March. I took most of my visits to teams during April."

Do you give advice to the current Mississippi State seniors about the process leading up to Pro Day and then the NFL Draft?
"They will ask me what it will be like and I will tell them what to expect. I tell them what will happen or might not happen. But just like with me, I didn't know who the coach was that would work me out. You normally will know the type drills they will do so you can prepare for them some. But the main thing that I tell them is to be yourself, don't try to do anything extra, and always tell them the truth (when you talk to them). If a team likes you, they like you, if they don't, they don't."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the website, the source for Mississippi State sports on sports network. You can contact him by emailing

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