NFL Draft Update With Craig Wilkins and Chris Burnette
By ODU Athletics
April 26, 2013
In just four short years, Old Dominion University football has produced three players currently playing football professionally, as Thomas DeMarco (BC Lions) and Deron Mayo (Calgary Stampeders) play in the Canadian Football League (CFL) and Ronnie Cameron is in the National Football League (NFL) with the Philadelphia Eagles.
ODUSports.com caught up with class of 2012 seniors, Craig Wilkins and Chris Burnette, and talked to them about the process of the upcoming draft.
Q: What has the process been like for you, working out for pro days, team visitations and things like that?
CW: It has been a fun process, a lot of waiting, evaluations and stuff like that. For Pro Day I was training for about two months just for that one opportunity. The team visitations were fun, you grow up watching but being in the stadiums and possibly having the chance to play is great.
CB: It has been really exciting, I've put in a lot of hard work and been focusing on football. I feel like all of the work is going to pay off in the long run. The Pro Day was a great experience, very humbling. To have scouts there to take the time to look at you as a prospect is humbling and something you can't take for granted.
Q: What teams did you visit?
CW: I went to Seattle and Cincinnati. When I went to Seattle, I saw the stadium and locker rooms and had a chance to meet Pete Carroll, which was a great experience to have him know me by name. To be in those facilities was nice, and a great experience. This was something I was glad to be able to experience because not many people get to do that.
CB: I visited the Baltimore Ravens. I had a workout with them and met with their coaches. It was very surreal, being in front of the team that just won the Super Bowl and the team I watched my entire life. It was something you can't dream up, a great opportunity for me. The Ravens were my favorite team growing up so it made the visit even more exciting.
Q: What was the process of those team visits?
CW: Those visits were both medical visits. I had to do heart scans and some other tests, it was pretty much just doctors checking you out and making sure there is nothing wrong with you. There are about four or five doctors, just checking and double-checking that you're healthy.
Q: About teams knowing the rise of the ODU football program?
CB: They knew about us, it was crazy to them how we became so good, so fast and that we have something to offer NFL teams.
Q: What was the hardest part of the process?
CW: Just waiting, and the unknown. You hear reports from one team that are different from another. Just waiting the weekend out. I try to not worry about things I can't control, but it is hard just waiting.
CB: The hardest part is waiting. You don't know where you're going to end up, you hear certain things, but just don't know.
Q: How has your development at Old Dominion prepared you for this opportunity?
CW: I was very well prepared for this process. When coaches came in to see me and watched film, I felt I was prepared for X's and O's. Everything I learned from my coaches, especially Coach Hetherman (Linebackers coach Corey Hetherman) helped prepare me for that. The physical aspect I felt very prepared, the strength coaches at ODU, Joe Makovec and Ryan Martin, and my trainer have really helped me.
CB: I feel it has played a really big factor. The coaching staff having the faith in me, how much effort they put in and we all put in. Our strength and conditioning coaches did a great job with us. ODU was a great stepping stone for me to help my dream of playing in the NFL.
Q: You were a four-year captain at ODU, how has that helped you?
CW: It made a good impression on teams, its something they always bring up. It definitely helped a lot.
Q: When you made your decision to come to ODU, did you think things would play out the way they did?
CB: Going back not really. But once I got here I set high goals for myself. We won a conference championship, became an All-American, now with the potential to play in the NFL is great. I feel like anything I put my mind to I can achieve. I have no regrets with anything at Old Dominion.
The NFL Draft continues today at 6:30 p.m. with the second and third rounds while the fourth through seventh rounds are held on Saturday, starting at noon.
ODU hosted their annual Pro Day last month, with former Monarchs Alex Arain, Burnette, Michael Colbert, Nick Mayers, Jonathan Plisco, Devon Simmons and Wilkins working out.