MAURICE JONES - DREW
He's been called too short, not big enough, not fast enough, not ready and lacks NFL ability. Not what you want to hear from NFL scouts on the eve of the draft. He's been measured, timed, poked, prodded, graded and questioned, even though he was a consensus high school and college All-American.
"He's not your prototype running back," one scout said. But neither was Barry Sanders or Emmitt Smith.
Standing a touch shy of 5'7" and weighing 207 pounds, Maurice Jones-Drew has made believers out of skeptics, and advocates out of critics each and every step along his path to the NFL.
While attending California high school powerhouse De La Salle, he set numerous offensive records leading the Spartans to three straight undefeated championships.
After setting numerous records at UCLA (all-purpose yards and yards/touchdowns in a game) as well as being voted a consensus first team All-American his junior year, Maurice, an elite punt returner and running back, with big playmaking skills decided to enter the 2006 NFL Draft.
UCLA head coach, Karl Dorrell, encouraged Maurice to enter the draft. "It was a brave "Drew World," when Maurice stepped onto campus. "We hadn't had a winning team since 1998, and when Maurice got here, he brought back the proud, UCLA winning tradition.
"Good things come in small packages and whoever drafts Maurice, will get not a good back, but a great one," stated Dorrell."
"He has been a very big part of our offense the last three years," said teammate and three-year starter, Marcedes Lewis. He's been our go-to-guy, our rock, our leader, our most valuable player. He may be small in stature, but everyone around here, knows he's a mountain of a man... ???Mountain Drew'."
So, drink up.
If I got a chance to interview Maurice Jones-Drew, this is something how it would sound.
Kay: "You changed your name from Maurice Jones, the name you were know as while at UCLA to Maurice Jones-Drew; why the hyphenation?"
Jones-Drew: "What? Why the Hype Nation?"
Kay: "No, I said hyphenation. You, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Mike Sims-Walker, Darius Heyward-Bey, and Chad Ocho-Cino are just some of the players that go by three names. I think you started a trend!"
Jones-Drew: "Trend? I just think it's another way for players to distinguish themselves."
Kay: "Distinguish themselves? Ocho-Cinco is trying to distinguish himself? That's like saying Liberace blends in at a Wall Street bankers convention!"
Jones-Drew: Lol. "No, it's just the opposite. What I mean to say is, some players are born to one person, but raised by someone else. So, what better way to show their gratitude by wearing the name proudly."
Kay: "What no more single word nicknames like: "Freak," "Motel," "Neon,", "Bus," and "Burner?"
Jones-Drew: "It's a new decade."
Kay: "So, the single name, ???me' decade is out, and the three-name ???me, me, me' decade is in?
Jones-Drew: "Maybe it should be called the ???us decade'."
Kay: "In these tough economic times, we all have to pull together."
Jones-Drew: "For me, it's all about family and the team."
Kay: "Don't you think the craziest hyphenated name has got to be the ex- Packer, defensive lineman, Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila."
Jones-Drew: "That's why they called him KGB."
Kay: "What about your nicknames, I understand there are more than a few."
Jones-Drew: "There's quite a lot."
Kay: "Give me some names."
Jones-Drew: "Let's see, there is: Wiki, Ewok, The Pinball Wizard, Mighty Mouse, Beast, Merlin, The Tsunami, Superman, MoJo and Shannon Sharpe nicknamed me Pocket Hercules."
Kay: "What nickname do you like the best?"
Jones-Drew: "At UCLA, I was known as Superman. I wore a Superman tee-shirt under my jersey to motivate and remind myself that I can do just about anything I want on the field."
Kay: "A lot of guys act like they're Superman, but only a few play like it!"
Jones-Drew: "That's for sure!"
Kay: "After your junior season, you decided to enter the 2006 NFL Draft, but five running backs (Reggie Bush #2, Laurence Maroney #21, DeAngelo Williams #27, Joseph Addai # 30 and LenDale White #45) were all selected before Jacksonville took you 60th overall. How did you feel falling to the second round?"
Jones-Drew: "Like they drafted the wrong Superman. It was one of the worst feelings I have ever had. I worked so hard to get to that point, and to have every team pass on you, it kind of hurts."
Kay: "I guess the teams didn't get the ???Superman' memo, or they drafted the wrong Superman?"
Jones-Drew: "Reggie Bush had a great career at USC, but he's NOT Superman, even his nickname is, ???The President!"
Kay: "That's got to upset you somewhat, I mean your cross town rival gets drafted number two, turns out to become an average running back and you get drafted number sixty, and have become every defensive coordinators nightmare."
Jones-Drew: "I think the USC/Bush hype machine was working overtime."
Kay: "Maybe you should have changed your name before the draft?"
Jones-Drew: "What? Huh?"
Kay: "I think you should have changed your name before the draft, that way you would be remembered as MJD... Maurice Jenuine Draft!"
Jones-Drew: "Isn't MJD a beer?"
Kay: "Yeah, the High Life! And if the teams didn't understand it then, they know now."
Kay: "No, Maurice Jenuine Draft delivering touchdowns cold refreshment to Jacksonville fans."
Copyright 2009 Steve Kay