The 2013 NFL combine is currently in full swing. The players trying to impress NFL teams at the combine, however, are not the only ones with NFL dreams. Many other players are using regional combines, pro days and just about any method possible to get a chance to fulfill their NFL dreams.
Steve Demilio, an offensive lineman from Gardner-Webb, is one of them. Demilio, 6-foot-5, 295 pounds, was a captain for Gardner-Webb and was named a pre-season selection for the All Big South first team.
Following is a Q&A with Demilio.
Q: What are you hearing at this point (from NFL people)?
Demilio: I talked to a few scouts. Obviously coming from where I'm coming from mostly likely being drafted isn't necessarily the path I'm gonna take.
I've been trying to gain a little bit of weight, get up over 300 pounds.
I believe I can play tackle, guard, either one, but most of the feedback I'm getting is I'll probably move inside.
Q: Does the position matter as long as you get an opportunity?
Demilio: If they want me to kick field goals I'll kick field goals. All I need is a foot in the door.
Q: If you were to give me a scouting report on yourself what would that sound like?
Demilio: I originally came to Gardner-Webb as a five-technique defensive end, so I possess a little more athletic ability. I've tried to use that to my advantage. I'm able to get off the ball quick, I have pretty good feet. I have played at a lighter weight throughout my career.
The knock on my would be I'm a little lighter in my lower half. I do have skinner calves, which was fodder for some locker room trash talk back in the day.
I always thought that was an advantage. Little more athletic, little quicker as opposed to some of the clod-hopper type guys. That's more the trend with offensive linemen. I feel like I somewhat fit the mold of the newer trend in the offensive line.
Q: I see this nickname 'The Butcher.' Where did that come from?
Demilio: I always took pride in being able to get guys on the ground. You got a linebacker who's out there giving you a little trouble, catching the snap count, timing up his blitzes every once in a while you've just gotta chop him down to slow up his rush a little bit. It started as a joke and just kinda stuck.
Q: A little Enforcer mentality there?
Demilio: I like to think I'm a pretty nice and agreeable guy, easy to get along with but obviously that doesn't bode too well for offensive line play so you have to flip the mentality once you step in-between the lines.
Q: How did it come about that you moved from defensive end to the offensive line?
Demilio: I came in we had something like 28 or 29 guys come in in my class, we had a whole bunch of freshmen. We had four or five freshman on defensive line, but we were short on o-linemen. I was probably one of the bigger defensive linemen.
At that point I said 'doesn't matter to me, I'll play wherever' so I hopped over there.
Q: So that seems to have worked out pretty well for you?
Demilio: Yes sir. At first I was a little reluctant, of course I do whatever the coach asks. I wanted to rush the passer a little bit, get a few sacks, maybe a few highlights as opposed to playing on the offensive line, but I'm definitely glad I made the switch.
Q: Tell me a little bit about yourself off the field?
Demilio: I was a journalism major, I've always had a thing for writing. I awlays felt writing has always come easy to me. At Gardner-Webb I started doing some more broadcast work and really enjoyed that. This past summer I worked with a morning drive-time radio show in Charlotte called the Keith Larson Morning Show. That was really fun. It was neat for me to get the behind the scenes.
Q: What team did you grow up rooting for?
Demilio: I am a big Redskins fan. My family is from the D.C. area. That's where my allegiance stands.
Q: Was there a time in the last couple of years where you started to think the NFL might be a real possibility?
Demilio: It's always in the back of your mind. Every kid who goes to play Division I ball always kinda has that dream in the back of their mind. I've always been a little more realistic. There's so many guys out there that can play and so few spots. Being pre-season all-conference, being named team captain and I've had a lot of coaches at Gardner-Webb who have really cemented in my head this this is an attainable goal for me.