Thursday, March 5, 2009

Q&A: Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri (Walter Camp)

Missouri All-American wide receiver and all-around playmaker Jeremy Maclin sits down with All-Access Football Radio at the Yale University Commons in New Haven prior to the Walter Camp 42nd Annual National Awards Dinner on January 17, 2009. Maclin followed up his special freshman season with an even better sophomore campaign recording 102 receptions for 1,260 yards and 13 touchdowns through the air. Coupled with his ability as a return man and to run the football, there was no more dangerous player with the ball in hands than this Tiger. Maclin has declared for the NFL draft where he is expected to be a first round pick.

What does it mean to be a Walter Camp All-American?

It’s definitely a privilege. Obviously they’re recognizing you for your talents, so I’m happy to be here.

How do you think you developed this year, your second year as a starter?

I think personally I had success; I got a lot better as far as becoming a complete receiver. Unfortunately the season didn’t go how we wanted it to, but that’s how it goes sometimes. I think I've definitely developed as a person and as a football player.

What do you think you improved on the most from your first year to your second year as a receiver?

Recognizing the defenses as far as a receiver goes. That’s definitely a big key; you have to know how to run a route against a certain coverage and how to beat the guy in front of you.

Do you think Chase Daniel has a chance to play at the next level?

I think he has a chance to play at the next level, maybe not right away. But I think him working with guys at the next level, quarterback coaches, they will definitely develop him. You can’t question his competitiveness, he’s definitely a competitor. The guy goes out and competes, so that’s not the question. He may have some minor things he needs to tweak in his throwing motion but I think he will definitely play on Sundays sometime.

So you think he’s definitely a quarterback in terms of intangibles and leadership?

Oh yeah, he’s definitely the type of guy you want running your team. He has that linebacker mentality, he’s fearless, he doesn’t care about who he's playing—he’s going to go out there and compete 110 percent every snap. That’s the guy you have to have lead your team.

How about Mr. (Chase) Patton? What kind of football does he throw?

He throws the deep ball better than anyone I have ever seen. His biggest thing was confidence. I think he was a four-star coming out of high school, maybe five star. He’s kind of slowly decreased as the years went on, but I think he’s definitely a guy who could surprise a lot of people.

So he’s a guy to keep an eye on?

Oh yeah. He could have started for a lot of other teams in the nation, he just had another guy in front of him who was a very good ballplayer.

What do you like to do the most? Run after the catch? Deep routes? Returns?

I like it all. I like space, deep route, punt return, kick return, I don’t care. I just like the ball in my hands. I call myself a playmaker, that’s what I like to do, I like to make plays. I like to try and score every time I touch the ball. That’s the kind of mentality I’ve had ever since I was in Pop Warner. Nothing has changed and I just thank the coaches for giving me a chance to do so and to get me to the point where I'm excelling. Hopefully I can continue that to the next level.

What kind of a decision was it to leave Missouri?

It's something I thought about at the beginning of the season, but it was obviously a tough one for me. At my press conference I kind of broke down a little bit, it was happy tears and sad tears at the same time because I’m leaving guys I’ve spent the last three years of my life with. They probably know more about me, closer to what my mom knows about me, that’s how much time I spent with those guys. It’s definitely a job; I understand that at the next level it’s really a job, but you spend every moment with these guys. They got your back; you sweat with these guys so leaving that kind of atmosphere can take a toll on you.

Who did you lean on the most when making this decision?

I talked to a little bit of everybody; ex-teammates, family, coaching staff. Coach Pinkel made a great point—it all comes down to how you feel and what your heart tells you. I feel like I’m ready for the next level, I feel like I can take that step and he told me if I was his son and was projected to go in the first round he would tell me to go. He knows I’m not going to disappoint, I’m going to work hard and hopefully solidify my spot in the first round.

Did you get a first round grade back from the NFL when you put your paperwork in?

Yes, sir.

Was that kind of the difference maker in your decision making?

It was crazy because at first I thought that if I get a first round grade then I’m going to the NFL no matter what, but after you look at it, it definitely came down to much more than that. That first round doesn’t mean everything; it came down to my gut feeling and my gut feeling told me to go to the next level.

Do you feel not being able to pick an agent right after you declare for the draft puts you at a disadvantage preparing for the combine compared to the seniors?

You can always work out at your school, there’s great places out there like API and Michael Johnson down in Houston and all that stuff. If you think about it you’ve spent three, four years at your university already and I’m pretty sure you’ve gotten bigger, stronger, and faster at the university so obviously the strength coaches know what they’re doing. They know they’re not going to disappoint you, they’re not going to let you down, they’re in it for your best interest. To see you excel at the next level represents the program, so they’re going to do everything they can to get you ready for the combine or pro day to have the best day of your life. That’s how I kind of look at it, they haven’t let me down yet so why shy away from them?

What are your main interests besides football?

I collect shoes; I’m a big shoe person. I actually keep my shoes in containers in my closet which is kind of weird. I’m just a big shoe guy.

What’s your favorite brand?

I like all of them; shoes, sneakers.

How many Jordan’s do you have?

Up in the high 20’s. I’m a big fusion person, those are the forces mixed with the Jordan’s.

How many shoes do you have in your closet?

There were 75 in the closet at school and I gave away like 20 last Christmas break and summer. I have like 50 in the closet right now.

Click to Listen to Audio From the Walter Camp Dinner

Photo Credit: Mizzou Media Relations