Jeremy Maclin at Mizzou
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Jeremy Maclin at Mizzou
Sheil Kapadia, Philly.com
Jeremy Maclin's list of accomplishments at Missouri has been well-documented on philly.com's pages since the Eagles traded up and picked him with the 19th selection in last weekend's draft.
Thirty-two touchdowns in 28 games.
2,776 all-purpose yards as a freshman in 2007.
102 catches for 1,260 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2008.
And the list goes on.
But to get a better idea of just how dynamic Maclin was at Missouri, we called on Vahe Gregorian, who covers the Tigers at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Q: What was Maclin's biggest strength in college?
A: Unquestionably, his greatest asset is his speed. Watch any highlight reel, and what you'll see is uncanny acceleration, both from a dead start and as he's running. If you are watching with no one else in the frame, it might look kind of ordinary. But almost any time you see someone in pursuit of him, the result is the same -- Maclin distancing himself. And he always is thinking end zone. In college, anyway, every time he touched the ball you thought he might go.
Q: What was something he might need to focus on working on in the NFL?
A: It's been said that his route running needs work as he adjusts systems. From what I've seen, though, he's as coachable and intelligent a player as you will ever see, so I'd be very surprised if that concern lingers long.
Q: What was Maclin's personality like? Did he have a good relationship with coaches, teammates and the media?
A: Maclin has a very welcoming disposition. He's friendly and grins so much that "Smiley" was one of his first nicknames. He often takes a few seconds to answer questions because he is actually thinking about his response. Because he worked so hard and had gone through a lot, I think, coaches and teammates loved him at Missouri. I can think of multiple players who would refer to him as a brother. He was very much on the fence about leaving because of his loyalty to teammates and coaches. That's why he fell apart a little when he made the announcement.
Q: What was Maclin's standout moment at Missouri?
A: There truly were dozens, but maybe the bookends say it best: In his first collegiate game, after coming back from a knee injury that left doctors questioning whether he would be able to play again, Maclin had more than 200 yards total offense, including a 66-yard punt return for a TD, in a win over Illinois in St. Louis. In what would be his last career game, against Northwestern in the Alamo Bowl, MU was sluggish and almost certainly was headed toward a loss when he returned a punt for a TD. On his last collegiate play, he scored the winning TD in overtime. There were few lapses and plenty more in between.
Q: Is there a story or anecdote you can share about Maclin that people here might not know?
A: This story probably has gotten around a bit, but maybe it's not common knowledge. Maclin grew up in tough circumstances and could well have been headed for ruin. His father left when he was very young, and his mother had a number of problems raising three boys on her own. Who knows what would have happened if not for the intervention of another family, Jeff and Cindy Parres, and their children. Jeff was one of Maclin's youth football coaches and often drove him home, wondering what awaited the 9-year-old inside a typically dark apartment. When he saw Maclin crawling in through a window one night, Jeff Parres decided he had to try to do something about it. Maclin began spending some nights at the Parres house and ultimately moved in. Maclin has reconciled a bit with his natural mother, but he will always consider the Parreses his parents, too.
Q: Since you're from the area, how do you think Eagles fans will take to Maclin?
A: Maclin is hard-working, a team player and an amazing talent with a great story. I think fans will be pre-disposed to like him, but we all know it will come down to one thing -- how he performs. If he approximates expectations, I think he has a chance to be a longtime favorite.