MOBILE, Alabama — For a college football senior with designs on playing in the NFL, the Senior Bowl offers a week to showcase talent in front of coaches and scouts from 32 teams in the league. This week, Florida seniors Jon Halapio, Jaylen Watkins and Solomon Patton will start practice Monday.
Gator Country is teaming with Halapio, a 6-3, 325-pound offensive guard, for a daily diary in Mobile. Upon arrival Saturday, Halapio found himself swarmed by people who seemed to be pulling him in different directions.
“As soon as I landed they (Senior Bowl reps) brought me over to the hotel and as soon as I walked through the doors they took me aside and pretty much did a lot of paperwork and psychological test with me,” Halapio said. “After that I had to do interviews with different NFL teams.”
So far Halapio has met with scouts from eight teams.
“So far I’ve met with several teams in the two days I’ve been here,” Halapio said. “The teams I’ve met with are the (Baltimore) Ravens, (Oakland) Raiders, (Miami) Dolphins, (San Francisco) 49ers, (Houston) Texans, (Green Bay) Packers, (Tampa Bay) Buccaneers and the (Chicago) Bears.”
The interviews with teams can last anywhere from five minutes of filling out a questionnaire to 30 minutes of answering questions about everything from who you are to what kind of player you are.
“Most of the questions center on trying to get to know me,” Halapio said. “They want to know your personality and how you are off the field like have you ever been in trouble or ever failed a drug test. They also want to know your strength and weakness.”
With Gator Country ready to follow Halapio all week in his journey to Saturday’s All-Star game Halapio gives everyone a preview of what’s ahead this week.
“Tomorrow is the first day of practice and everybody is excited, I know I’m excited,” Halapio said. “Hopefully I can get some sleep tonight with tomorrow being along day with more interviews and with practice and weigh in. This week is basically going to be practice and interviews. If you aren’t at practice you will be doing interviews and if you aren’t doing interview you will be at practice.”