ORONO, Maine — By his own admission, Jamil Demby’s life has been a whirlwind.
In addition to playing in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl and the Senior Bowl, University of Maine’s Football Championship Subdivision All-America offensive tackle became only the sixth player in program history to participate in the NFL Combine which was held Feb. 27-March 5 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
On Friday, Demby and eight of his senior teammates participated in Pro Day. Five NFL scouts, along with T.J. Paganetti, an assistant offensive line coach for the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles, put them through a series of drills to see if they are draftable or worthy of an invitation to an NFL camp.
“It went very well,” said Demby, after spending a long time doing “board work” with Paganetti following his workout. The board work tests a player’s mental capacity for the game.
Paganetti had put Demby and fellow offensive linemen Isaiah Brooks and John Reddington through an intense 45-minute workout that included a series of sprints and agility drills.
“I was definitely anxious about it,” said Demby. “I improved my bench (press) and I felt like my positional work went great. It felt good.
“And it was great to have Isaiah and Red out there with me. They did an awesome job,” said Demby. “There was definitely more motivation having them out there.”
He said the private board work session with Paganetti was a positive experience.
“I love doing board work. He was excited and impressed. They say the game is 70 percent mental and I like to display that. If you can get a grasp of the game, you can play,” said Demby.
At the combine, he learned the importance of finishing drills and that helped him prepare for Friday.
“This was more relaxed and more laid back. There were so many guys that the scouts had to deal with (at the combine).”
In addition to Demby, Brooks and Reddington, the other Black Bear seniors were wide receivers Marquise Adams and Jaleel Reed, cornerbacks Najee Goode and Tayvon Hall, safety Jason Matovu and linebacker-turned-receiver Ben Davis.
In addition to Paganetti, the scouts on hand were Brian Smith of the New England Patriots, Dan Zbojovsky of the New York Jets, James Bodenheimer of the Atlanta Falcons, Kyle Newhall-Caballero of the Oakland Raiders and Matt Donahue of the Cleveland Browns.
“It went really well,” said Bodenheimer.
Demby has already met with the Tennessee Titans and will also either meet or work out for the Falcons, New York Giants, Eagles, New Orleans Saints, Houston Texans and San Francisco 49ers.
Demby was a tackle at UMaine but several teams project the 6-foot-4, 315-pounder as a guard in the NFL.
“I’ve learned throughout the process that it will be important for me to be able to play both positions, being that I’m a small-school guy,” explained Demby. “I’m up for the challenge. I’ve had great line coaches at Maine in Jeff Ambrosie and Brian Picucci and they prepared me well. I know all the different concepts for the different positions.”
Greg Kellar, Demby’s agent, said he loves Demby’s chances to get drafted.
“He has really embraced the process,” said Kellar. “He has done everything the right way. He trained his tail off and he is such a high-character, high-work ethic kid. His footwork and his size really showed up today. Big guys aren’t supposed to be able to move like that: His lower-body explosiveness, the way he always rolls his hips.”
Kellar mentioned that a couple of teams have even asked about him snapping the ball as a center.
Demby, who is finishing up his degree, also praised UMaine director of sports performance Jon Lynch for his role in his preparation.
“I definitely appreciate all the time and effort he has put into me,” said Demby.
Brooks and Reddington felt good about their performances although Brooks said he needs to bulk up from 283 to 300 or 305 pounds.
“I definitely enjoyed it,” said Brooks.
“It gave us an opportunity to show what we had,” said Reddington.
Several UMaine underclassmen were there to support their teammates and they timed some of the sprints with their cellphones. They burst into exuberance when Matovu clocked a time in the 4.37- to 4.4-second range in the 40-yard dash.
“I trained in Miami six days a week since January,” said Matovu. “I clocked a 4.37 in Miami. Since I’m a low-key guy who was never all-conference, I had to show I could test well to get more looks. I had high expectations for myself but didn’t achieve them (during the season). I was happy with today.”
It was a family affair for former all-conference cornerback Goode, who struggled through an injury-marred senior year with a broken rib, a sprained ankle and a groin strain. His mother Felicia Harrison and father John Goode drove up from Philadelphia to watch him work out.
“We have standards in our house and Najee set some six years ago. He said he was going to play at a Division I college and play in the NFL,” said Felicia Harrison. “To date, he has executed everything and we’ll see how far he goes with this.
“Maine has turned him into a man. His dialogue is totally different. His view of the world has opened up. He embraces life and there’s no limit for him. He’s graduating in four years and I couldn’t ask for anything else. This is a bonus,” said his proud mother.
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