It's been called âThe World's Toughest Job Interview.â For six days at the NFL Combine (Feb. 24-March 2), college football's best will be measured, interviewed, tested, watched and analyzed by countless NFL coaches, general managers and scouts conducting all of their due diligence before the NFL Draft. To prepare, nearly two dozen prospects have traveled to IMG Academy for six-plus weeks of Physical, Mental, Communication, Nutrition, Vision and psychological training with Athletic & Personal Development program specialists and on-field training with some of the game's top football coaches.
David Arkin has constructed quite a career as a Missouri State Bear, and it has little to do with his construction management degree. The 6-5, 300+ pound offensive guard collected Division I FCS All-American honors from The Sports Network, Associated Press, Walter Camp Football Foundation, and American Football Coaches Association making him only the third player in the school's history to do so. He started all 44 games during his time at MSU, and is currently ranked as the No. 12 overall guard in this year's draft class. David sat down with us to discuss various hairstyles, chugging Gatorade, and pancake blocking Vince Wilfork.
David Arkin on...
...coming to IMG Academy: My former teammate at Missouri State, Clay Harbor, came here last year, which helped influence my decision to come to IMG Academy. Now that I am here, I am grateful because I have been engaged in a lot of activities that are new to me in order to get ready for the combine. I feel that I am getting better in all aspects of my training.
...considering the military: I always thought about being in the military and really considered joining the Marine Corp coming out of high school, but with the opportunities I had at the time, I thought I might as well give football a shot and get a college education while I'm at it.
...the hair: I don't really get haircuts that often and when I do I kind of like to do go outside the box (David had a mullet at one point while at MSU). In high school I was always a high and tight guy but I just started to grow it out in college a little bit. I thought if I ever needed to get a job I should have a real haircut, but as I kept playing football I kind of just kept growing it out because playing football may end up being my real job.
...pregame: I have a few rituals that I do before games that are kind of weird. I have to drink an entire gallon of Gatorade before the game starts. That one was kind of hard to do especially if it was a noon kickoff. Also, I have been wearing the same elbow pads for five years now and I have my eye black that I always paint on before the game. It's stuff that you do, and I know it really doesn't have an impact on the game, but it just helps you feel better and settle down before a game.
...the no glory role of offensive linemen: It's fine with me. I'm not the kind of guy that is out there for the glory or I'd try playing somewhere else on the field. It's kind of nice being a behind the scenes guy though. It may be a lot of hard work and you don't always get all of the attention, but I love it and I wouldn't rather be playing any other position on the field.
...pancake blocking: That's the goal on every play. It usually happens during a run block, which suits my personality a little better. You have to be a little more passive in pass blocking which isn't quite me. In run blocking you have to beat the guy to the spot, be physical, get up under their pads, run your feet and work your hips and finish. That's like getting a 10/10 or an A+ on that play. If there was one guy I would want to pancake it would be Vince Wilfork of the New England Patriots. He is such a huge, strong human being. I don't think many people can get him on his back so if you can it would be impressive.
...what he says to the QB after giving up a sack: Ah, manâ¦I don't even know. Me personally, I don't say anything. You just hope he doesn't get hurt or anything, but maybe the next day catch up with him and say something apologetic like, " If you're feeling that hit today, that is my bad."
...draft day nerves: : I don't even know if I want to watch the draft. Whatever happens, happens. I don't think I can stand to plop down in front of the TV and wait for my name to get called. I'll have to get out of the house and do something, anything. Maybe I will go fishing.