I vividly remember the day I arrived in Memphis very eager to get started training and to begin the next chapter of my life. I was excited to make the best of my opportunity as a division 1-football player. Memphis has had a couple of consecutive losing seasons, but I thought it would get quickly turned around. I was sadly mistaken, the problem was very deep rooted and within.

With the hire of Justin Fuente, he laid out a plan on how a real football program operates. He also quickly weeded out the bad apples who were not needed and who did not see Fuente’s vision for the program.

He taught the upperclassmen how to lead and show the younger guys how things were done. This was the most critical part of our success. When times got hard, knowing that someone was watching me and looking up to me on the field, I was obligated to maintain my composure and act in an appropriate manner.

After having a monstrous junior season, I contemplated entering the NFL draft a year early. However, after thinking long and hard, I decided my work at Memphis was not done and I could not leave on a bad note having just completed a 3-9 season. We worked tirelessly during the offseason and prepared for the 2014 season with the motto 1-0, never looking ahead and only playing week by week.

We wrote out our personal goals and our team goals. I hung these up and looked at them everyday before I left my apartment. Some of them were fulfilled and some of them were not. I achieved all of them academically but fell short of some of them athletically.

After my last college game and first bowl game experience, I knew my career was not done. I had and still have to prove that I belong at the next level. After participating in the East/West shrine game and receiving an invite to the NFL combine I liked my chances of being drafted. Although, draft day is crazy and anything can happen I kept my faith and continued to pray. When the day finally came around it was nerve wrecking pick by pick on day 3. I finally received a call from the St. Louis Rams and my opportunity presented itself.

I trained pretty hard before the report day for rookies so I felt prepared, which I was. Being a rookie is very similar to being a freshman in college again. You have to reprove all over again especially as a 7th round pick. You have to show them that you belong and you can be a professional.

Things are going good so far.  The things which have helped me get to this point in my life, is what’s going to keep me here. So this break we have before training is going to be vital as to how I perform in camp. So I will train the best way I know how.

A Look Toward Senior Year

Signing my letter of intent to come to the University of Memphis was a dream come true for me. My whole life I had wanted to do nothing but play division 1 football and now I was going to do that. When I first showed up I knew the program was coming off of a 3-9 season but I really believed in the coaches and what they were doing. I had faith that they could turn this place around and that’s what happened.

When I first arrived I knew I had a lot of work to do my first off season in order to catch up and put myself in a position to get meaningful snaps. I worked day in and day out in the weight room and in the playbook in order to put myself in the best possible position to get real playing time my first year here. In the end it paid off for me and I was named the starting left guard where I made 13 starts as a junior.

I had a great time as a junior and we won a lot of games but I knew going into my second offseason that I could still get so much better. I set some personal goals in the offseason and made it my mission to accomplish these goals knowing that they would only make me a better football player

Entering my senior year and final fall camp I knew we needed to have a good one and also knew we were set up to have one with the all the hard work that we had put in that summer and spring. Knowing it was my final fall camp in college made it different for me. Knowing that it was the last chance I would have to go through a camp with these coaches and these teammates that had become as close as family to me meant a lot. It made me work as hard as I possibly could not only for my own success but also for the guy next to me. Not letting my teammates down became the most important priority to me.

Now that camp is over and we head into our first game it is important that we not only learn how to practice but how to prepare. As a senior I know I don’t have many of these games to prepare for left so I want to make sure that I always prepare to the best of my ability.