Kemoko Turay's path to the 2018 NFL draft: Part 2
Rutgers defensive end and NFL draft prospect Kemoko Turay will share his journey to the pros with Metro New York in this exclusive blog.
I can’t wait to finally have some fufu in a couple of weeks. But first, I have to get through these next few weeks. Then I’ll make time for some fufu.
This week, I head to the NFL Combine in Indianapolis for what will be one of the biggest opportunities of my life. I’ve been training hard since January for this opportunity and I feel that this is a real blessing for me, a chance to build on the Senior Bowl a few weeks ago and now showcase my work ethic and abilities before all 32 NFL teams.
I have some lofty goals for the Combine and some might say they are unrealistic but I know how hard I’ve been working for this. I haven’t run a full 40-yard-dash yet, the one event that everyone seems to get caught up with. But I’ve been doing a lot of increments, running for 10 yards, running for 20 yards.
There’s a lot of form that goes into it. Staying low before gently rising up. It is form-intensive. That’s why this training, really focusing on the movement and form, has been so important. It isn’t just go out there and run it.
My trainers have been tough on me, helping me to focus on form. Now, muscle memory is kicking in.
At the Combine, I think people will be impressed with some other workouts including the shuttle and the 3-Cone Drill. These types of workouts show not just quickness but agility and balance. As a defensive lineman, you have to show that in today’s NFL.
Coming from Rutgers, I do think I have some questions to answer. Not everyone might have seen me play and our school wasn’t as high profile as some. If they watch my tape, they’ll see someone who can help in a variety of ways, who makes plays in the backfield and has done things on special teams.
I did get the chance to play against some great competition with Rutgers in the Big Ten. I know that will help when teams look into me some more. The conference definitely tests you as a player.
The Combine is more than just workouts, though. The interview process is something that is really big.
My agent at Sportstars has set me up with a professional who has been mentoring me through the interview process. It has been really helpful to fill out sample questionnaires that teams give and to be able to learn how to handle certain questions that might be asked. I want to be open and really honest throughout the whole process as this is an opportunity for teams to learn about me.
I trust my work ethic and the things that got me here.
Truthfully, it doesn’t seem like it is real yet, that I’m a step away from the NFL. I’ve been so focused on training, on eating right and getting prepared that it hasn’t quite hit me yet. Maybe when I touch down in Indianapolis it will become more real to me. I’m guessing, though, that it won’t happen until I’m drafted.
I learned that at the Combine, there is more to do than just the workouts and interviews. They have us set-up with things such as a visit to a children’s hospital. That excited me because I enjoy giving back to the community.
At Rutgers, we did a lot of things like that. I realized during my time there that giving back and sharing what I’ve been blessed with is an important part of the platform I’ve been given. We did a lot with the Special Olympics and interacting with kids and I’ve really developed an interest in helping others because of this exposure while at college.
Yes, the diet is still strict. Wednesday is a cheat day so I get to enjoy something like a hamburger but then it is back to salads, salads, more salads and for good measure, some vegetables. It’s intense.
I still can’t believe all the types of cabbage that are out there. Unreal.
So, after the Combine, we have a Pro Day at Rutgers and I’m going to participate in that as well. I plan on doing all the events. That is on March 9, so that is another exciting showcase for me.
After that, I plan on having fufu. It is a cultural dish and my mother makes a great one. When she cooks, you can feel her love. She really puts her heart into it.
So look up fufu. You’ll thank me for it.