COLLEGE PARK, Md. – A showing of 35 representatives from 24 NFL teams gathered at the University of Maryland Tuesday afternoon for the football program’s 2014 Senior Pro Day.
Participating for the Terps were offensive lineman De’Onte Arnett, defensive backs Isaac Goins and Dexter McDougle, linebackers Demetrius Hartsfield and Marcus Whitfield, long snapper Greg Parcher and tight ends Ryan Schlothauer and Dave Stinebaugh.
As Maryland head coach Randy Edsall put it, this day is no different from a job interview for these men as they tried to impress the scouts with the hopes of making a name for themselves at the professional level.
“Our guys are well prepared,” Edsall said. “They’re in good shape, you can see that from their bodies. I know the guys that have had an opportunity to sit down and talk to these clubs; clubs have been very impressed with the kids in terms of their football knowledge, but also the kind of young men that they are and the character with how they conduct themselves.”
McDougle was invited to the NFL Combine in February, but was unable to participate due to his continued recovery from a shoulder injury he suffered in a Sept. 14 game at Connecticut. Pro Day was McDougle’s first opportunity since the injury to showcase his talents.
“It’s everybody’s dream to go [to the Combine] and I didn’t get to participate, so I was down,” McDougle said. “I’ve been looking forward to this day. I finally get to show them that I’m moving again. Show them a little bit of what I can do at my position. Show them that I have not lost a step. Today was definitely a big day.”
Edsall is quick to vouch for McDougle, as he has seen him face adversity and push through to the next steps toward his dream.
“The only thing I told him is just go have fun,” Edsall said. “He’s prepared. He’s done all the hard work. He’s put the time and effort into it. Now it’s just a matter of going out here today and just relaxing and enjoying the moment. Enjoying the day.”
Maryland’s other participants took advantage of the time to get in front of NFL representatives and spark some interest. Marcus Whitfield was quick to remember that, “All you need is one team, that’s it.”
As seniors in 2012, Hartsfield and Schlothauer both got the opportunity to return and participate in this year’s Pro Day. Due to an injury, Hartsfield could not participate in the 2013 Pro Day and though Schlothauer did participate, he suffered an injury after and had to put this NFL dreams on hold.
“It’s Maryland football. It’s family,” Edsall said of the opportunity for Hartsfield and Schlothauer to return for Pro Day.
More than a year out from knee surgery, Hartsfield took the opportunity to heart and expects only good to come from the day’s workout.
“I’m going to bring a lot of intensity, a lot of leadership [to an NFL team],” Hartsfield said. “Sideline speed, that’s one of my biggest things. [I’m] just a person that can get to the ball. I can cover. I can stop the run. I can blitz. I definitely think I can do everything you would need me to do in the NFL.”