Recently I was able to conduct an interview via telephone and e-mail with Darnerien McCants, Deleware State's All-American TE. McCants tallied 36 catches for 692 yards and had an eye popping 18 TD's. He also ran a kickoff back for a TD as well. Darnerien is a big, physical receiver with excellent hands and he has a nose for the endzone. He should get a close look by an NFL team next fall. Below is some info on Darnerien followed by the interview.
Name: Darnerien McCants
School: Deleware State
Position: TE/WR(projects as a WR in the NFL)
40 Time: 4.52
Draft Status: Late round projection, could be an undrafted FA, but will surprise teams with his physical tools.
My View: Darnerien is a very raw talent. Has the physical talents to warrant a spot on an NFL roster. May have to make his mark on Special Teams, but with proper coaching he could really be one of the sleepers of the 2001 NFL Draft.
Q: What kind of person will an NFL team get by drafting you?
D.M.: By drafting me an NFL team will get a hard working athlete that is willing to learn and be coached. A athlete that is willing to get better everyday in practice and learn from the other players to better the team. As well as a person that works well with others and willing to help people in the community. The NFL team would get a well rounded person.
Q: What are your plans after football is over?
D.M.: Since I graduated with a major in general art and a minor in education, so after football i will get my masters in business then get into the computer graphics or commercial art field. Then as and older man i would like to teach at the elementary level, then move up to high school level, and settle down with the level i feel more comfortable and able to educate the best.
Q: Do you feel you've been overlooked because you played in Division 1-AA? Explain why.
D.M.: Yes, I feel I have been over looked coming from a I-AA black college. Coming from a smaller school it seems that you have to be super just to get a look from the NFL for example Rice, Taylor, McNair and Porshe who still hold records in their schools and conferences today. Also the black colleges do not get the same opportunities as the other schools in the I-AA. If I play for the University of Maryland and our record is 7-4 we go to a bowl game and I would get much more recognition just because of my size, I wouldnt have to worry about getting drafted, but 9-2 at a black college you go home.
Q: Rank your three playing strengths.
D.M.: 1. I'm 6'4". 2. I have good hands. 3. I'm able to score.
Q: Rank your three playing weaknesses.
D.M.: 1. Patience 2. Could be more physical 3. Shorter routes
Q: Do you model your game after any NFL players(past or present)? If so, who?
D.M.: The first person I have to say I mimic my game after is Reggie Brown because he taught me how to be a receiver and not just a big athletic person. Next it would have to be Jerry Rice's work ethic, I don't know how hard his work outs really were but I try to train hard the whole year round. I saw an ESPN show about how Rice dropped a lot of balls his first year so he just worked out and did not touch a ball, the following year his game got better. The funny thing is that I did not have a ball this past summer to work with so I just trained hard, and this has been my best season so far. I have always watched the bigger receivers such as Irvin and Moore just to see how they handle different situations and other little things of being a bigger receiver. I have never really tried to play like or mimic anyone completely. I have to be me. I just use some of what they have to add to my flavor.
Q: What have you heard about your draft status? Are you encouraged by what what you've been told?
D.M.: I have heard that I should go late rounds to free agent. Just to have an opportunity to play in the NFL with people I have watched growing up and to hear my name in the same sentence along with the "predicted to go" is a great and inspiring feeling because I don't like to fail and besides I have to work hard because I have never been cut from a team before. I'm not trying to feel that pain and that's enough to keep fighting everyday.
Q: Are you mentally and physically prepared to handle the tough 16 game schedule of the NFL? Explain.
D.M.: Mentally I don't know because I really don't know what to expect. I am pretty sure the NFL moves much faster then college, but I have a good G.P.A and I know to get help so I won't fall behind. I would get help from someone on the team so I can stay on top of things. The DB's will probably teach me some new tricks playing against me in my efforts of trying to be seen and getting open in the camps, but that's part of the learning process. Physically I should be fine. I'm an athlete just like the rest of the league I will be playing against. It shouldn't be to hard, I can see things moving faster, guys hitting much harder, but I'm ready.
Q: Who do you credit for your development as both a player and a person? Explain.
D.M.: First, I give credit to the Lord for blessing me with my size and abilities. Next, I have to credit my parents for providing for me. Many children do not receive much from their families. Next, the Wallace family who helped me understand the meaning of being a black man in America and the road I must take to be successful. Also to my teachers who are partly responsible for me taking education as a minor. As far as me being a player, I give credit to my coaches for seeing my capabilities before I could. Even the coaches who did not help me helped me to work harder to try to show them I was the better player. Also, credit can go to the pro players who I inspire to be like and am trying to become.
Q: I'm sure you know how much your life will change in the months ahead. What have you done to prepare yourself for what will happen?
D.M.: I don't know how my life will change, but I am a simple man so I don't think I will change much besides moving out of my mother's house and having my own things.
Q: Describe the "perfect" draft day scenario? How do you see things unfolding?
D.M.: The perfect draft day scenario would be me at home playing video games and I get a call from my agent saying that I am the number one drafted receiver of the 2001 Draft. It would be plastered all over the papers in Maryland and Delaware. In reality things might unfold with me going in the middle rounds once the scouts get to see some videos and know my name. Then I get that call from my agent saying that I'm on _________ team for the next 3 years.