Prior to Ole Miss' 2017 Pro Day Monday morning, Ole Miss Coach Hugh Freeze whispered something that turned out to be on the money.
"We have several guys who are going to put up some good numbers, like Derrick Jones and D.J. Jones and Jeremy Liggins. But the guy who may help himself the most with NFL teams will probably be String," said Freeze of Damore'ea Stringfellow, who declared back in January he would be leaving Ole Miss a year early and would try to work his way into the National Football League.
"Two reasons. One, he's a lot better athlete than he is given credit for. Two, he was snubbed from going to the combine last month and he's got a chip on his shoulder, he's got something to prove," Freeze responded.
After Stringfellow put up some really good numbers and showed good receiver skills in passing drills, Freeze looked like Nostradamus. Prophetic? No, just knowing his players' abilities and wisdom of what motivates them individually.
"I helped myself today, by the grace of God. I did a good job with the short area route-running and catching the ball," said Stringfellow. "I just came out here and had fun with it after training really hard and preparing myself for today."
String ran a 4.54 40-yard dash, which is moving pretty good for a man his size, and in doing so, he reached a goal.
"I wanted to be under 4.6 and I I got it to 4.54," he said. "That was big for me and a focal point of all my work."
But he didn't stop there.
He benched 225 pounds 17 times - a very good number for a wideout. He had a vertical jump of 38 inches - another very good mark for anyone, much less someone over 220 pounds. Then, to top it all off, he had a broad jump of 10-10. Anything over 10 feet is a standard of excellence for anyone.
Stringfellow said he attacked Pro Day starting back with his NFL Combine snub.
"Every player wants to be invited to the combine. When I wasn't, I think it motivated me even more and made me work even harder. I came into Pro Day preparations with a chip on my shoulder and tested today with a chip on my shoulder, but at the same time, I was having fun being on the field for one last time with some of my brothers," he said.
Now, it's a tour of some teams who are interested and the waiting game.
"I'm getting really good feedback from the teams I have talked to. I have several meetings set up. They now know what I can do physically; they want to see what I know on the board (chalk talk)," he responded.
During the passing drills, QB Chad Kelly injured his wrist about a dozen throws in by receiving a snap awkwardly. He had to bow out of the drills, but Stringfellow didn't let that detour him.
"I'm praying for Chad. I'm sure he'll be OK, but he's had a couple of tough breaks lately," said Stringfellow. "His injury didn't slow me down though. You know how we do here at Ole Miss - we just go in and do what we have to do.
"I was really proud of Evan (Engram) and Quincy (Adeboyejo) and my brothers who were also competing out there. I think we all did really well."
Stringfellow is very optimistic about his being drafted. He even believes he could be a high draft choice.
With numbers like he put up at Pro Day, nothing would be surprising.