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Getting to know... Matt McCants

Matt McCants about to start skill drills here at IMG

It's been called “The World's Toughest Job Interview.” For six days at the NFL Combine (Feb. 22 — Feb. 28), 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, more than two dozen prospects have traveled to IMG Academy for six-plus weeks of Physical, Mental, Communication, Nutrition and Vision training with IMG Performance Institute specialists and on-field training with some of the game's top football coaches through the IMG Academy football program Football Academy.

On January 28th Matt McCants returns where it all started Mobile, Alabama to play in the 2012 Senior Bowl which will showcase the top NFL prospects in the nation. Before playing football, McCants was on the field as a member of the high school BAND. That's right you heard correctly, NFL prospect and current IMG Combine trainee Matt McCants played the tuba for three years until finally playing football his senior year of high school. McCants clearly transitioned extremely well, at one point starting 35 out of 36 games for UAB while assisting his team to the two highest yardage totals back to back years. McCants also received two consecutive All Conference-USA honors while at UAB.

Q & A with McCants:

How did you get into playing the tuba versus football?

“All my friends and coaches constantly asked me why I didn't play football, I couldn't play due to my mom's fear of me getting hurt, she really didn't want me playing. Finally, I struck a deal with my mom that if I made all A's I could play football. I held up my end of the deal and she reluctantly held up hers. I'll say it's history ever since”

What type of music do you listen to casually and also while working out?

“Working out I listen to whatever most of the guys have on rap, hip-hop and R & B whatever as long has it has a good beat to it, just like to keep it smooth. Casually I enjoy listening to oldies, my parents were older so it was a lot of Marvin Gay, Isley Brothers and oldies.”

What does it mean to you being able to play in the Senior Bowl as you return to your home town?

“Best word I can used to describe this opportunity is blessed. The opportunity to play in the senior bowl on the same field where I played tuba, high school ball and college ball in front of all my friends and family, I just sit back and say wow. Such a great feeling being able to play in front of family and friends, it's just another step in the process to the ultimate goal for me but for them it's something they can enjoy”

What happened sophomore year as you sat out a full year due to your grades and how did you feel?

“Honestly it was a gut check; I wasn't as mature then as I am now I didn't take things as seriously I was a lot like a normal 18 or 19 year old kid. Going through that experience, not being able to play football it really opened my eyes and it was like a light bulb that came on inside my head. Moving forward, I learned from my mistake and was the best person I could be on and off the field from then on.”

Do you keep in contact with former teammate now NFL player Joe Webb?

“Webb and I keep in contact pretty well, and we do talk about football but mostly life in general. We talk about making sure to stay in contact with god, especially with the process I am going through right now. He's told me things are so up and down and never a guarantee in the draft process, but that his relationship with god provided something for him to lean on. I have been doing the same myself and also we keep each other accountable and its nice having someone there to talk to who I know personally and has also been through the same process.”

What so far has IMG brought to the table that is new to you?

Working with the nutritionist (Stephanie Wilson), she has really laid out a plan that maximizes everything that we are doing in the weight room and working with speed coach Loren Seagrave. Being at UAB we didn't have the best nutritionist plan, since being here I've learned not only the right things to eat but the timing of when to eat them to really maximize all of my hard work.”

What do you watch on TV outside of sports?

Honestly, headline news because it keeps you up to date on what is going on in the world. Being so busy I don't really get too much of a chance to watch TV so it's either that or Sports Center.”

What's your response to Steve Hale (Senior Bowl President & CEO) stating “Matt will go down as one of the best offensive linemen in UAB history”?

“I am very blessed first off, and a lot of that has to do with being around great people like coach Callaway, my off the line Coach Will Flynn and my teammates. So all the credit and accolades I get I really owe to all the people around me that helped mold me into the player I am today.”

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