Day one of the Senior Bowl is always a blur, and the event continues to shift the schedule on us each year. It starts with the weigh-ins at 7:30 am, followed by media interviews and we close out with practices back to back. Full pads aren’t put on until tomorrow, so I’ll have more detailed practice notes in the next few days. With that said, below are interview bits plus notes.
Thank you for the support.
UCF LB Shaquem Griffin
Where do you expect to play in the NFL?: “I think this week will really prove where I will play at the next level. Good thing I’m playing so many positions this week, so they can choose where they want to have me at. I’m feeling to be from the defensive line to the defensive backs, pretty much every position on the field.” Talked about recognizing route combos based on receiver alignment: inside or outside the hash, inside or outside the numbers. Preached patience. Mentioned the Memphis game where he was asked to play coverage, channeling his brother.
On the final two minutes against Auburn, still having the stamina to play despite being on the field for all 90 defensive snaps: I’m passionate about proving people wrong… I mean they said we couldn’t get it done. We had to win. Once you tell our team they can’t do something, we work as hard as we can to get the job done… And I can’t see an “L” on our whole schedule, if you want to take a look.”
South Dakota State TE Dallas Goedert
What life was like coming from a town of 1,500 residents?: Took up unicycling at 10-12 years old. Aunts used to ride in parades. It’s like riding a bike. Grandfather would give $50 to whichever grandchild would learn to unicycle first. Hunter, hiker, outdoorsman. Balance.
Western Michigan CB Darius Phillips
Where do your ball skills come from?: Me being a former receiver really gives me a great advantage in attacking the football. The conversation with coach Fleck to move from receiver to corner was hard at first. Happened after redshirt freshman season. Tested the position form winter conditioning to spring practice and “grew to love it.”
How are you so successful as a kick returner?: We switch up the return scheme every week. Coach scouts the kickoff team, puts the scheme in and we try to perfect it. Returned kicks since 9th grade.
What do coaches think of your “gambling” tendencies?: They try to reel me in a little bit. My old coach gave me more leeway, but the current coach tried to reel me in.
Did you like that? Do you want to gamble?: (Smirks) I love to gamble. It’s a risk versus a reward. I get what they are saying, too.
New Mexico State WR Jaleel Scott
On his acrobatic catches: I do those things during practice, just to play around. When I have to, and I mean when I have to, I pull out the bag of tricks… I don’t do it too often.
So we will see you doing these in pregame warmups like Odell?: “Oh no, I’m definitely not Odell. I’ll let Odell have that. I’m trying to get on his level.”
- Typically the OLB designation at all star games means prospects spend 75% of their time off the ball, and occasionally walk down and participate in one round of one on one pass rushing drills. For the Texans, they are treating the OLB tag as it fits their team, so players like Marquis Haynes and Shaquem Griffin, among others, are seeing more time rushing the passer and on the line of scrimmage than expected. Both are obviously comfortable there, but I was looking forward to seeing Griffin off the ball. I believe that is his future.
- That might also mean the DE designation won’t play a true outside technique, and we saw that with Da’Shawn Hand and Marcus Davenport today, lining up as a 4i on a few occasions. Both have played in similar spots, but I know many are anxious to see Davenport as a true edge player. Just something to monitor, not jumping to any conclusions.
- Every year I try to find a defensive tackle flying under the radar during the all-star circuit. Justin Ellis, Grady Jarrett, Javon Hargrave. This year’s is Nathan Shepherd from Fort Hayes State. We are going deep. First, he let out a war call following his weigh-in, stepping on the scale at 6-foot-4 and 310 pounds. Then he produces a great practice, occupying multiple blockers and resetting the line of scrimmage. Look out for his name the rest of this week.
- The offensive line might be the best position group this week. Big schoolers like Isaiah Wynn and Brian O’Neill, mid-level program prospects like Colby Gossett and Will Hernandez and finally the small schoolers, like Alex Cappa from Humboldt.
- West Georgia T Desmond Harrison showed up at 279 pounds. I checked in and was told he had the flu all of last week, dropping 10-ish pounds. He plans to be in the 290s during Combine week.