Going to the Combine was a real thrill for me. It's all so different and unexpected. You have a basic idea, of course, of what it will be like, but once you get there, it's amazing. As you can imagine, there are a lot of players there. Everybody has high expectations and is hoping for the best. We've all worked a long time to get to this point. You want to showcase your talents in the best possible situation.
I knew some of the players at the Combine, either by reputation or by meeting them before. But it is the kind of a situation where every man is for himself. You are the one who has to achieve. You definitely want to impress the coaches and the reps from the NFL teams that you hope will be interested in you.
I was glad to have the chance to speak with Jerry Angelo while I was in Indianapolis. Of course, I'd be thrilled to go with the Bears. It's a family tradition. My father is trying to stay out of the process and not to put undue pressure on me but I know that he's being happy if I ended up in Chicago.
Overall, I was satisfied with my performance at the Combine. I had spent a lot of time preparing for the drills and things turned out as I had expected them to. My 40 yard dash was 4.62. My stats from college are strong which should help with where I end up in the draft. I had a good last year at West Virginia and am optimistic. I can't really say at this point where I think I'll be chosen, but I'll certainly hope that it is in one of the earlier rounds.
My Pro Day was held last month at West Virginia. I haven't had too much feedback yet, but I feel things went very well. Working out for team representatives is much more comfortable if it is at your own school's training facility. I felt much more relaxed than I did at the Combine.
I graduated From West Virginia in December with a degree in coaching, then left for Arizona where I went to a conditioning facility. Many draft prospects do that. It's a way to get a workout routine designed just for you. It's important to be in the best physical shape possible right now, and a little guidance of this type is important. Now that I am back on campus, I do my workouts here. I like the facilities here and plan to stay until it's close to Draft day.
My father always stressed the importance of getting a college degree. Now that I've done it, I think he's right. I found the fact that I have a degree in coaching to be a tremendous advantage when taking tests or talking to coaches during the Combine or Pro Day. I understand the philosophy of coaching and I think that I have a pretty good idea what they are looking for. I'm sure that this ultimately helped my scores.
I think that having grown up in a household where my father was a well known NFL player also gives me somewhat of an edge. All along, if I've ever had any football questions, he's the one I have gone to. He has been very supportive but has never intruded when I didn't want his advice on something.
He's gone to most of my games and it's been nice to know that he's been there for me. I know that my father would be pleased to have me closer to home if I ended up with a team like the Bears. He's probably getting a little tired of having to fly to see me play. Soldier Field is a lot closer to home.
What has been fascinating to me growing up has been the fan situation. People have always come up to my dad asking for his autograph. As a child sometimes it's hard to understand why your father would be in such demand. Now I find the same thing happening to me. I like to be a role model for younger children. I interact with them whenever I can, usually by speaking at local elementary schools. I tell them to pay attention and to study hard. But it is strange being the one now that they are asking to sign their jerseys or their footballs.
So what am I doing to pass the time between now and draft day? Just trying to keep in my normal routine. I get up early, work out, and practice the skills that I'm going to need. It's hard to wait but it's exciting as well. I feel that good things are ahead and it's going to be fun to find out what happens from here.
Beth Gorr contributed to this story.