March 17, 2014
“I always wanted to hold that crystal ball and I have that picture
of me holding that crystal ball. I look at it every day.”
By: Jonathan Schillace, Seminoles.com
Coming off a national championship, Jacobbi McDaniel is working for an even bigger goal, to make it to the National Football League.
“I’m just blessed to be in this opportunity to play football again,” said McDaniel. “For me to just be able to play football, training after that injury that I had and not to just go and train and just do it, I’m getting better at it. I told myself I am not going to give up … I just want to play football.”
McDaniel played in all 14 games last year after suffering a major ankle injury that sidelined him from the end of 2011 through the 2012 season. McDaniel tallied 29 tackles by the end of 2013 showing his determination to come back. But once the celebration was over on January 6, McDaniel was caught without an invitation to the NFL combine nor an All-Star team.
“It pushed me a lot,” said McDaniel. “[Pro Day] is very big, that’s like the NFL Combine for me. Come Pro Day hopefully I can show them that I am smooth, fast, quick for a big guy.”
McDaniel has been working in Westin, Fla. since winning a National Championship. For about two weeks now he has moved his training back to Tallahassee to finish preparations for Pro Day on March 18, working alongside former Seminole and current NFL player, Brandon Jenkins.
“Brandon is a real, relaxed cool guy,” said McDaniel. “He said, ‘I saw you when you came in, you still got that first quick step.’ We were going through bags and he was still amazed and to hear that come from him [being that] he’s been through that and been up there, that kind of boosts my confidence.”
What may even boost his draft stock is the fact that he is more than willing to switch back to the offensive side of the ball. Standing at six feet, 295 pounds, McDaniel is a good candidate to play full back.
Back in High School, he played on the offensive line but stuck to the defensive side of the ball coming out as a five star, number one defensive tackle in the nation. But now, McDaniel says he is willing to do whatever it takes to get to the NFL.
“Full back is basically a more upscale lineman that can move and you have the privilege to go out and catch a ball or two,” said McDaniel. “Guys in the league live off being a full back, guys in the league make a living off of being a special teams guy. I just want to play football.”
Now approaching Pro Day, McDaniel is taking it a bit slower to have his body as ready as possible.
“I’m taking it day by day,” said McDaniel. “I’m relaxing, but at the same time I’m keeping my cardio under control so my weight won’t get out of hand.”
“I want to see myself go out there and be relaxed and do what I have been doing up until that point,” McDaniel added. “ I think guys that are in my position want to go out there and impress and impress until we may mess up, so I want to just relax.”
McDaniel gets his shot to impress the scouts and coaches on Tuesday March 18 and then wait and see if he is selected during the three-day NFL Draft May 8-10.